Finding Inspiration in the Unlikeliest of Places......
Well, here's something we never ever thought we would say. The inspiration for today's blog comes from an Indian cricket team! Cricket? It's a bit of a mystery to us really. How can a match go on for three days and end in a draw? And how come they play in long sleeves and trousers in a game played in the summer and in hot countries? And the match stops when it rains!
If the blog was actually about cricket it would be the shortest blog we have ever written. No, today we want to talk about periods.
It still seems to be rather a taboo subject, which is strange when you consider that 50% of the population experience them. If you are female you can expect to have an average of 450 periods in your lifetime - you will spend nearly 10 years of your life, or about 3,500 days, on your period. And yet, we still seem unable to talk about it.
Well, we're happy to break the taboo.
Looking at this from an environmental angle, those 450 periods mean on average women use 11,000 pads or tampons throughout their lifetime. Where do many of them end up?
flushed down the loo
on our beaches
And what constitutes 90% of a pad? Yes, plastic!
That's the equivalent of 5.6 million plastic bags going into our sewers every single day in the UK alone.
And the thing about plastic is that it never goes away. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, ending up as the microplastics we find on our beaches and in our oceans.
This is an issue for everyone, whether you have periods or not.
Environmenstrual Week, a great name and a great initiative run by the Women's Environmental Network (WEN) who have been campaigning on the health and environmental impacts of menstrual products for over 30 years, took place in October and is a great place for you to find out more.
You can read more about it here, https://www.wen.org.uk/environmenstrualweek/
So, they are doing sterling work, but back to the cricket for just a moment. We were delighted, and quite amazed, to hear on a recent sports report that cricketers from an Indian Premier League team will be sporting the logo of a sanitary pad brand on their jerseys this season.
The Rajasthan Royals, whose players include England internationals Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer have struck a sponsorship deal with the Indian company Niine. The club's chief operating officer, Jake Lush McCrum, said, "This is a taboo topic in India and in many countries around the world. In India, there is a general lack of awareness regarding the issue. Not just in men, but women too."
The sponsorship is a big deal. Last year the Indian Premier League drew in 46 million viewers , so if even a fraction of them break the taboo and actually discuss periods, that's a lot of discussions.
So if this is happening in India, where periods are often still seen as something shameful and dirty, surely it is time that we began to have conversations about re-useable and plastic-free products here?
We know that this is quite a personal decision so we wouldn't want to push you into something you are not ready for yet.
If you really recoil from the idea of reusables, maybe you could try organic disposable pads and tampons meantime. Remember that the cotton in these products is one of the most thirsty crops around.
But if you are ready to make the change, look at some of these options
resuable pads (you can buy lovely, funky designs, or why not make our own?)
menstrual cups (made from soft silicone, they can last 10 years)
reusable period underwear (they can hold as much as 4 tampons' worth of blood)
Whether we have periods or not, we need to change our energy usage. Just think: each disposable product, whether it is a sanitary product or a coffee cup, requires a huge amount of energy to be manufactured and transported. And all so that we can use it once and throw it away with barely a second thought.