*The pads mentioned in this post were gifted in exchange for a review but opinions and images are my own*
Why Reusable Pads?
You’ve probably seen it in the news or on social media that a nappy would take 500 years to decompose in a landfill – Single-use sanitary towels are no different. Being made predominantly from plastic, just one sanitary towel will outlive generations of your family and when you consider how many of those, one menstruating person would use through their period years, it’s no wonder that people are starting to look at more eco-friendly alternatives, myself included. As part of my efforts to live more sustainably, I’ve been building up a collection of reusable menstrual products. So far, I’ve tried a period cup, a pair of Modi Bodi period pants, the Primark period pants, and some reusable pads from Red Queen Cloth.
What’s the difference with a disposable and reusable? How to use and care for them.
Over the average period lifetime, disposables would work out to be rather expensive – the average person would spend about £3500+ on menstrual products over their period years. A reusable pad works in very much the same way as a disposable. The only difference is, instead of throwing it away when you’ve finished, you wash them.
I tend to carry a few with me in a wet bag that comes included in the TradeToAid pack. Then you remove your used pad from your underwear, fold the top and bottom ends into the middle and then do up the poppers to hold it in a folded position. If you are at home or somewhere you’re able to, you can rinse them in cold water before putting them in the wet bag but it’s not essential.
To wash them, most brands recommend washing on a cycle 30º or lower and not using softer as this affects the absorbency – For me, this is really simple as all of my washing is done on a 20º and I don’t use softener in every wash anyway. You can also soak the pad before washing to avoid stains setting in. A little bit of baking soda and white vinegar will help with this too. More tips can be found here on the Trade To Aid website
Trade to Aid Pads – Reducing plastic waste
Trade to Aid cloth sanitary pads come in a box of 6 – 2 heavy flow pads, 2 medium flow pads and 2 light flow pads. They also come with a care sheet and a wet bag for containing used pads until they can go in the wash.
The pads are made with a soft bamboo charcoal layer free from the synthetic additives and nasty chemicals found in disposable pads.
Reusable pads are not only a way of reducing your period plastic waste – but TradetoAid pads actually don’t use any virgin plastic in them. They only use recycled PUL for the thin waterproof membrane which means they’re also taking existing plastic and giving it a new life.
Period poverty is a big problem. People that don’t have access to period products either through financial difficulties, menstrual stigma, or any other reason are forced to use makeshift products from toilet paper or rags etc which are obviously substandard and unhygienic.
Period poverty affects many people all over the world and in all manner of situations and it isn’t just not having access to menstrual products, it includes a lack of safe toilets and suitable hand washing facilities.
As a way of helping to tackle period poverty, TradeToAid, which is a non-profit organisation, pledge to donate one pack of reusable pads for everyone that is purchased. They donate these pads to women and girls in need, whether in conflict zones, natural disaster zones or refugee camps.
Fact is, periods are an essential component of human biology. They are healthy and normal and no menstruating person should be without access to the most basic of facilities.
Having used the pads for two periods so far since I received them, I’ve found the pack to be really good. The pads are plenty absorbent enough and the wet bag is particularly useful. These are now absolutely a part of my period kit.
I have a giveaway running on my Instagram at the moment if you would like to win a pack. Each pack will contain 6 pads, (2 of each flow type) a wet bag and a care sheet. Even if you’ve never used reusable pads before, these are a great place to start so check it out. ( Giveaway closes 3rd December 2021. The winner will be picked at random and the prize sent out by Trade to Aid)