Reusable sanitary products

Women's menstrual issues are not often talked about, one of those taboo subjects. For those wishing to use less plastic or who would like reusable products, there are alternative products out there which reduce the immense volume of these products impacting on our waste disposal systems.

Environmental impact caused by sanitary waste is one of the significant topics in discussions today. Thousands of tons of disposable sanitary waste is generated every month all over the world. 432 millionpads/sanitary napkins are generated in India annually, the potential to cover landfills spread over 24 hectares.

This waste is toxic and hazardous to human health as well. Most of the chemicals from these pads reaching the soil causes groundwater pollution, loss of soil fertility.

During its annual clean-up weekend in 2017, the Marine Conservation Society found a large increase in sewage-related debris on British beaches - including hundreds of menstrual pads, tampons and applicators. The problem inspired City to Sea, a group fighting ocean pollution, to start a #PlasticFreePeriod campaign.

Despite warnings on packaging that products like wipes and tampons aren't flushable, women continue to dispose of them this way, forcing water companies to spend huge amounts of money clearing blockages.

There are solutions out there. You can use reusable pads and menstrual cups. Both are easily purchased. They are said to last many years use. Now you can purchase reusable pads from The Turning Tides Project who are making them locally for sale.

They cost £3 for the short pads or £4 for the long. They are made from some recycled cotton and fleece, PUL and Zorb and are extremely comfortable. They are all made inclusively in their "Making Waves" session at The Crediton Station Tea Rooms. Reusing them is simple, just wash them. The neat design means you can fold them up neatly for your handbag then reverse the pad to clip in place.

Periods are a problem for many women around the world. The Turning Tides Project will also accept donations to enable shipment of reusable pads to other countries to help women who would otherwise struggle to cope at this time of the month and help reduce the worldwide waste problem from these products. So if people would like to visit The Turning Tides Project at the Station Tearooms and buy one and "pay it forward" they will go to Red Box Project (

There is further information on the impact of menstrual products here, plastic free products here, and a study of public awareness of the issue here.