Plastic Free Periods for Plastic Free July
WUKA, the UK’s leading reusable period pants brand, shares guide to ditching disposables and embracing plastic-free periods.
Around 380 million metric tons of plastic are produced globally every year, approximately 91 percent of which is not recycled. In fact, virtually every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists in some shape or form (1). As such, the need to urgently re-think our plastic consumption has never been more important.
Ahead of Plastic Free July, WUKA, the UK’s leading reusable period underwear brand, is sharing a guide to ditching disposable period products to reduce single-use plastic waste.
“Plastic riddled, single-use menstrual products are used by millions of women every month,” says Ruby Raut, CEO and co-founder of WUKA, “with 4.3 billion menstrual products used per year in the UK (2).
“Switching to reusable period products not only reduces our environmental impact – just one pair of fully leak-proof period pants can save 200 single-use plastic-riddled disposables from going to landfill or polluting our oceans – but also helps the menstruating population go more comfortably and confidently about their day-to-day lives.
“Whilst we’ve happily embraced reusable water bottles, coffee cups, tote bags and nappies, there is understandably more hesitancy, and at times fear, over the switch to reusable period products. This is undoubtedly due to lack of understanding about how – and how well – the different reusable products work, but rest assured; reusable period products work in very similar, if not the same ways as their single-use counterparts.
“Plastic Free July is the perfect opportunity to embrace change and try more environmentally friendly, reusable menstrual products.”
Read here for Ruby’s guide to ditching disposables and embracing a plastic-free period…
How do we change the habit of a lifetime?
In a recent WUKA study, 42 percent of women admitted that knowing about the environmental consequences of disposable period products has made them consider switching to reusable options, with more than half (53 percent) interested in learning more about the environmental impact of single-use products (3). And yet, whilst reusable period products are steadily growing in popularity, the research shows that 67 percent of women still use single-use period products every month.
Whilst changing the habit of a lifetime doesn’t happen overnight, it’s worth considering the benefits of ditching single-use plastic period products not just on the environment, but also on your pocket.
Whilst reusables are often a bigger initial investment, they do present real savings. For example, the average woman who gets her period for 40 years will spend around £1,964.33 on tampons vs £1,290.00 if they opt to use reusable period pants instead.
What are my options?
- Organic tampons + reusable applicator
Organic cotton tampons are an easy switch, and undoubtedly less harmful to the environment than their plastic riddled counterparts, however, it’s worth noting that with this option you are still contributing to landfill waste. The reusable applicators can last around ten years if well cared for but tend to be made from plastic.
- Menstrual sponge
A menstrual sponge is a sea sponge – an aquatic organism that attaches to underwater surfaces and continuously filters sea water to support their organic functions. Incredibly absorbent, sea sponges can be used similarly to a tampon.
After use they just need to be rinsed and can be reused for six to twelve months.
- Menstrual cup or disc
A small, flexible cup or disc made of silicone or latex rubber that, rather than absorbing period blood, catches and collects it.One of the benefits of a menstrual cup vs a tampon, is that it can stay in for longer – up to 12 hours vs four to eight.
- Period pads
Similar to their single use counterparts, reusable period pads can be easily attached to your regular underwear. They are made up of layers of absorbent fabric and after use simply need to be rinsed with water before being washed more thoroughly when convenient.Reusable period pads can be used either as your primary period product or as a back-up to catch any leaks associated with using organic tampons, menstrual cups or discs.
- Labia pads
Labia pads act as a back-up when using a menstrual pad, preventing leaks by guiding menstrual blood and discharge into a cloth period pad.Typically made from cotton, they simply fold in half and are positioned between your labia, close to the entrance of your vagina.
- Period pants
Leak proof period pants are one of the easiest and comfiest period product switches. The multi-layered gusset in period pants works to absorb and lock-in blood, whilst the outer, moisture-wicking layers keep you feeling secure and dry.Depending on your flow, you can opt for different absorbencies of pant. Plus, if you’re heading on holiday, you can try period swimwear, which works in exactly the same way, allowing you to enjoy a sunshine swim.
Whilst a larger initial investment, period pants can last around two years if well looked after offering real value for money.
Don’t forget to do your research…
One of the biggest barriers to switching to reusable period products is undoubtedly the fear and lack of understanding as to how exactly they work. Knowledge is power, so research the different options, try them out, work out what’s best or most comfortable for you, and trust that reusable period products really do work.
It’s also worth considering that a number of factors contribute to a product’s environmental footprint – manufacturing processes, materials, shipping, recycling commitments and carbon offset initiatives. So, whilst reusable products are always a better option than their single-use, plastic filled counterparts, not all reusable products are created equal so make sure to check out a brand’s sustainability credentials before purchasing.
Note to Editors:
- (1) https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/
- (2) https://www.ahpma.co.uk/menstruation_facts_and_figures/#:~:text=Product%20Usage,gained%20popularity%20in%20recent%20years
- (3) Consumer research carried out on behalf of WUKA by OnePoll in November 2021
- WUKA Co-Founder, Ruby Raut, is available for interview
- Please contact us should you be interested in receiving product samples for review or for competition prizes
For further press information, please contact:
Dzifa Ahorlu | Anna Nyman | Elsa Findlay | Julie Aguilera-Kemp
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]
Founded in 2017 by husband and wife team, Ruby Raut and Dave Slocombe, WUKA is the UK’s leading period wear brand and was the first in the UK to produce fully leak-proof reusable period underwear that completely replaces the need for pads and tampons. Just one pair of WUKA period pants can save 200 single-use plastic-riddled disposables from going to landfill or polluting our oceans.
WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass; because nothing should hold women back when on their period. The brand strives to empower the menstruating population, improve access to quality, sustainable period products, eliminate period poverty, and remove period shame and stigma.
Offering a range of award-winning undies to suit different menstrual flows, WUKA period pants hold from two to six tampons worth of period blood; the highest absorbency of any other period products. They are also available in the most extensive range of sizes on the market – from XXS, right up to 6XL.
WUKA also offers period leggings, period sports shorts, period swim bikini briefs, and a number of period accessories and gifts, including a wearable hot water bottle, wash bags, period wellness sets, and starter kits for tweens and teens.
All WUKA products are mindfully created, using the highest quality planet-friendly fabrics, to be both great for the body and good for the environment. From the Better Cotton Initiative, Organic Certified, to Vegan, PETA approved and certified Carbon Neutral+, WUKA underwear is all accredited and designed with the future in mind. Equality, inclusivity, and social & environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything WUKA does.
WUKA is available in Morrisons, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Urban Outfitters, and a range of independent zero waste and fashion retailers. You can also purchase WUKA products direct from the WUKA website.
Follow WUKA on Instagram: @wukawear