How sustainable are these everyday products? Read our reviews BEFORE you make the purchase.
In learning about sustainability, there comes a point where you meet a fork in the road. A point when you have to start switching things up, practicing what you preach, and using new, more sustainable products. Because, realistically, you can recycle, and reuse, and compost, and do all those things that are better for the environment, but if you don't start limiting your trash at the front end, you'll live life like you're on a hamster wheel-always trying to figure out what to do with the junk.
So, I'm reviewing products now-products that are making the claim that they're more sustainable and earth-friendly than others. If you've ever bought hair products and ended up with a cabinet of unused stuff, you'll understand that it's easy to buy something that makes a claim that it doesn't live up to. This is my attempt to help you eliminate the junk. We have a five leaf rating system, based on the following: usefulness (does it do what it's supposed to), the choice of materials, biodegradability, recyclability, and mission (is it an altruistic meaning behind the product).
I went to my local CVS (since I stay in a very urban neighborhood, this was the nearest place that I knew had some sustainable products) and shopped for some things that I knew I needed, which just so happened to be pads and tampons. Since Aunt Flow, a.k.a. my monthly cycle, can be brutal, I found these organic options that promised protection from leaks, a better feel wearing them, and biodegradable materials. They looked good, but are they more sustainable than your normal supplies?
Here are my reviews:
The Tampax PURE 100% ORGANIC Cotton Core Tampons, $7.99, CVS.com
According to Women's Health, the difference between regular tampons and organic tampons is telling. Regular tampons are made using synthetic fibers and/or non-organic materials, while organic tampons are made using 100% organic cotton. Regular tampons are dyed white using chlorine, which can produce known carcinogens and hormone disruptors, while organic tampons are dyed white using peroxide. And regular tampons just aren't very comfortable. I'm sensitive, so regular tampons, after regular wear during my cycle, tend to irritate me.
How I Rate These?
These tampons did what they were designed to do (control my constant stream), and believe it or not, they were actually comfortable. I attribute that to the use of organic cotton. And cotton is biodegradable. But beyond the use of organic cotton, parts of the actual tampon is still made from polyester and neither the applicator or the wrapper are biodegradable or recyclable. The Tampax website boasts that the applicator is 90% plant-based, which the company says helps with ease of insertion, but other than that, it doesn't break down any better in our landfills. And truth be told, this 'plant-based' applicator is actually polyethylene, which is found in some of the same plastics used to make things like our straws, for example. And we've all seen the videos of straws being stuck in the insides of some of our sea life and having to be removed for their survival. However, for the lack of clarity on its materials, it does have a mission-to provide girls in need one pad or tampon for every pack bought.
Would I Use These Again?
Only if I was in a bind. I like that they were more natural, but I'm going to look for options that have both biodegradable and/or compostable inserts, applicators and wrapping. And if I want to do some good, I can always donate good sanitary supplies to a local organization that can use them.
Organic Initiative (OI) Ultra Thin Pad with Wings, $6.49, CVS.com
Organic pads abide by some of the same principles as organic tampons. They are dye-free, fragrance free, and chlorine free. And organic cotton (like the cotton used in the Tampax Pure) uses less energy and water to produce.
How I rate these?
I am in love with these pads from Organic Initiative (OI)! They are made with organic cotton and every bit of the packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable. They stay in place in my underwear and keep me protected, even on my heaviest days. They aren't scented like some of the others I've used in the past, so I don't get irritation from unnecessary fragrances. And as I read up on this New Zealand company, they make it a mission to not only produce biodegradable and recyclable materials, but to teach women around the world how important it is to remove plastics and chemicals from your bodies. And they have a variety of period products, from pads and liners to tampons and cups.
Would I use these again?
They are a little bit pricier than I would like ($6.49 for a 10 pack) but I would definitely use them again. I will look for other options, but to me, it's worth the money to know both I and the earth are well-protected.
Are there any products you would like to see me test out? Email me your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have you tried out any of the above products? Leave your reviews in the comments below.