It has been estimated that the average woman uses 16,800 menstrual pads in her lifetime and that one menstrual pad is equivalent in plastic waste to 4 plastic bags. The non-biodegradable, plastic component in a menstruation pad can take between 200 – 500 years to decompose, leaving a legacy for your great-great grandchildren.
For some women, the environmental impact of disposable sanitary items has led them to seek alternative products such as menstrual cups and reusable pads. These two simple solutions can be washed and then used again, so they are eco-friendly, zero waste, chemical free, and economical. Reusable pads are not a new concept, and the menstrual cup, often referred to as a “moon cup” is rapidly gaining in popularity.
Local resident Julia Evans, operates her RedPak feminine hygiene business out of her house on the main Road in Tupapa (look for the sign!). As well as organic products, RedPak specialises in biodegradable and reusable products including washable menstrual pads, liners and moon cups.
Julia is especially concerned about the waste created by disposal of menstruation products in the Pa Enua, given the lack of available renewable products and the limited space available in landfills. Julia says that she plans to create packs of reusable feminine hygiene products to donate to schoolgirls in the Pa Enua and is currently seeking funding to assist in this. Check out RedPak on Facebook @MyRedPak or call 73 266 for free delivery on Rarotonga on orders over $10.
Another great local supporter of eco-friendly initiatives and producer of low waste products is Donna Smith. Donna makes re-usable nappies under the brand name Moeau Made. As well as being an excellent alternative to disposables, Donna’s reusable nappies come in a range of bright colours and look gorgeous on babies’ bottoms.
Donna’s reusable nappies are a one-size-fits-all nappy up to approximately 13kg (2-3 years old), using adjustable clip buttons to allow for growing waists and thighs. They come with an absorbent bamboo insert and cost $30 each. Donna also offers a starter pack for $300 which includes 10 nappies, bamboo inserts, liners, a phosphate free laundry powder and a fantastic lined nappy bag for daycare or when you’re out and about! As our parents and grandparents get older, there often is a need for adult nappies or incontinence pants. Donna can also make these with the same benefits for your pocket and the environment as the baby nappies. Phone Donna on 58833 or check out her Made Moeau webpage on Facebook @moeauservices.
CITC Pharmacy also sell Bambino Mio New Zealand made reusable nappies ($39.90) and reusable swim nappies too ($29.90). Both are velcro-adjustable. Contact the pharmacy for more details and information.
Reusables cost more to begin with, but in the long run, will actually save you a lot of money. Also, with the increase in popularity of local buy, swap and sell online groups, you can on-sell your nappies once finished with them, provided they are in good condition, and regain some of the cost back.
If you’re interested in using reusable products but are worried about the effort involved, or don’t know where to begin, try making a slow transition by using just one on occasion to start. This will still save you money, and help reduce waste. As you use them, you may find that it’s easier than you thought, and potentially increase to using them full time.
There is no excuse not to give reusable products a go and every reason to try them, reducing the impact on our environment and supporting our fantastic local suppliers too.
- Te Ipukarea Society