Have you ever thought about how much waste your menstrual period produces? An average period uses around 15 to 20 menstrual products in each cycle, that’s at least 180 pads/tampons per person in a year :O
If the amount of single-use disposables we’re putting on our Earth doesn’t concern you, maybe your health would. Majority of the brands you see for pads and tampons uses disturbing materials like bleached rayon, dioxins, furans and even fragrance (the things that can make your cramps and periods worse) - and that regular cotton uses a lot of pesticides? I guess that’s why my body gets so easily irritated by them during periods!
To save myself and the environment we live in, I’ve started looking into zero waste periods - alternatives on how we can make it through the bloody time of the month without the use of single-use disposables or creating more trash. That opened my eyes to a whole new world of reusable menstrual products - period underwear, reusable cloth pads and menstrual cups!
Period underwear - just like regular underwear, but they have special material around the “blood zone” which is able to absorb your flow! They come in a variety of sizes and styles, all made for your comfort and lifestyle.
Reusable cloth pads - works just like disposable pads, but cloth pads are usually made with bamboo cotton, water-resistant fabric and snap buttons to hold them in place. They also come in various sizes depending on your flow!
Menstrual cup - instead of absorbing your menstrual blood, menstrual cups catch them! They’re made of medical grade silicone and stay in place with suction, and only need to be changed/emptied once every 12 hours. The magic of menstrual cups? They can help to reduce your menstrual cramps, while being kind to the environment.
I started my zero waste period journey with reusable cloth pads because it suited my lifestyle better - I needed something that I’m comfortable with using while accommodating to my personal preference. I am a pad person, so switching to reusable pads is like taking the first step towards zero waste periods for me!
I was looking at reusable menstrual products in Singapore, and linked up with Yee Lin from Cotton Mermaid! After sharing about my cycle with her, we decided that Size XL and panty liners would suit my needs best - I feel more secured wearing long pads throughout my period and I’d need panty liners for regular discharge on normal days.
My period came on Tuesday evening and I wanted to test how absorbent it was, so I wore the Mermaid’s Pad L to sleep on Day 1. The moment I pulled my underwear up, I was already half sold - the pad is approximately 36.5cm long, making it more than enough to cover from the front all the way to the back! What I surprised me more was how comfortable it felt - since it’s made of hemp and organic bamboo cotton, it felt a lot smoother than disposable ones - it was like I wasn’t even wearing a pad at all :O
After 10 hours of sleep, I went to change my pad and there was hardly any foul smell - it absorbed everything well so there wasn’t any blood clots lingering on the surface. It didn’t leak or stain my clothes, and there was no irritation/abrasion from the cotton too! To wash it, you just have to rinse it until the water runs clear - then just gently squeeze it dry and hang it up to dry.
I washed mine at around 8.30am on Wednesday and it was dried by night time - just in time to wear it again to sleep! I had such a great time sleeping while wearing it that I was in despair when it didn’t dry in time on Thursday night because it was a rainy day :(
If you take good care of your cloth pads, they can last for around 5 years - you’d save 900 to 1,200 pads from going to the landfill! To extend the lifespan of my cloth pads, I wash them with soap nuts (berries of a tree which contain saponin, a surfactant that can be used like soap) - another great zero waste product you can find in places like Eco.Le and Unpackt!
You’re probably thinking, what about going outside? It’s simple, just bring along a spare one to change into and a water-resistant bag to put the soiled one in! If you feel comfortable with it, you can give it a rinse and squeeze it dry - otherwise you can just fold and button it up before storing it in a water-resistant bag. No smell, no leaks, no problem ;)
Overall, I’ll give my reusable cloth pads from Cotton Mermaid a rating of 4.5 out of 5! Everything feels so comfortable and safe to me compared to disposable ones, they’re no irritation and it’s really easy to clean. I also loved how it didn’t leak through to my clothes - no more stained clothing :D I’d say it is quite stain resistant, there were only minor, faded stains after washing (didn’t bother or disgust me at all) and I only used soap nuts so far - which means they’ll probably be washed away if you used gentle soap!
It’s such a good experience that I’d be stocking up more cloth pads and panty liners so I can use them all year round - this is my little bit of effort and the first step towards saving the environment with zero waste periods!
If you'd like to join me on my journey towards zero waste periods, quote "JLXY10" for a 10% storewide discount when you checkout your orders from Cotton Mermaid! No minimum spend, valid from now until 7th September 2018.
To find out more about Cotton Mermaid’s cloth pads, panty liners or menstrual cups, visit their official platforms here: