It's in our blood.
By Índio AB
Where did we go so wrong?
As the 1980s rolled around, the green consciousness of the public was on the rise. Anti-nuclear movements had swept the globe a decade earlier, and campaigns to teach children the importance of recycling were in full motion.
And yet, women’s hygiene products seemed somewhat removed from all this. Pollution caused by disposable menstrual products has continued to be a pressing issue after all these years, and why?
Tampons and plastic pads were intended to be disposable from the very beginning. Who wants to hand-wash a bloodied cloth when you can simply throw it away and forget about it? The increased emphasis on practicality, along with the rise of the working woman, led disposable menstrual products to find a comfortable home on shelves. And so, blocked drains and littered plastic disposables remain a common occurrence to this day.
It’s a subject that carries a lot of stigma. There is a general touchiness around the topic of menstruation; in fact, the word “period” was only first mentioned on television in 1985 .
Menstruation is a fact of life as old as civilisation, and has gone through many forms throughout history, a few notable examples being animal hides in native North America, and washable, DIY cloths and pads in industrial Europe. For the longest time, women’s menstrual care has been reusable, and it’s high time to go back.
Over the past few years, menstrual cups and washable period underwear have proven to be the next stage in the evolution of period products. It’s amazing how much difference can be made as soon as something is made reusable: The average woman uses around 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, but by switching to menstrual cups and reusable period underwear, all that waste - which can take up to 500 years to decompose - can be drastically cut down. One unit of reusable cloth pads or period underwear does the work of up to 250 tampons and pads, and one menstrual cup alone does the work of over 1000!
Now imagine if not just you, but hundreds, thousands, millions more women were making the switch to sustainable menstrual care - the environmental change we could make - together - is astounding.
If you’re not yet convinced, here’s an image of a menstrual cup riding a skateboard.
Here at Mint, we have committed to joining the growing, long-overdue movement to change period products for the better. Before plastic disposables swept the market over the past century, menstrual care had been a reusable matter. And it’s about time to bring reusability back - after all, it’s in our blood.
Petherick, Lynda, and Lynda Petherick. “A Bloody Crisis: Impacts of Disposable Menstrual Waste and the Rise of The Cup.” Our Environment, 2019, ourenvironment.ac.nz/2019/06/07/a-bloody-crisis-impacts-of-disposable-menstrual-waste-and-the-rise-of-the-cup/.
Lynch, Pip. “Menstrual Waste in the Backcountry.” Department of Conservation, 1996, www.doc.govt.nz/documents/science-and-technical/sfc035.pdf.
“Feminine Hygiene Products.” Smithsonian Institution, 2017, www.si.edu/spotlight/health-hygiene-and-beauty/feminine-hygiene-products.
Gabillet, Annie. “What Did Women Do Before Tampons? A Brief History of Period Products.” Blood & Milk, 2018, www.bloodandmilk.com/brief-history-of-period-products/.
Borunda, Alejandra. “How Tampons and Pads Became Unsustainable and Filled with Plastic.” National Geographic, 2021, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/how-tampons-pads-became-unsustainable-story-of-plastic.