Period Matters

As the topic of sustainability becomes something we are all paying closer attention to in our day-to-day lives, some of our most taken for granted habits are being reassessed under the environmental spotlight. From what we drink out of to what we take our makeup off with - the quest to minimise our waste and try harder to look after the planet seems to be constantly evolving. One topic in particular is getting us especially interested: periods.

Deciding what sanitary products we use each month hasn’t traditionally been a choice influenced by the environment. In fact, in 2016 just 6% of women were concerned with the sustainability of their period products - this year it’s increased to over 50%. An innovative mix of new brands have come to the forefront of the industry, shaking things up and making our periods more eco. At Glasshouse, we’ve recently introduced Yoni (organic cotton pads and tampons) and OrganiCup (reusable menstrual cup) in the salon and online, each offering healthy, green alternatives to traditional period products. Disrupting the market further is Thinx - a revolutionary absorbent pant that rules out the need for pads or tampons - and Dame, the world’s first reusable tampon applicator which has recently been named Product of the Year.

Image: Yoni
Image: Yoni

So, why the change? Plastic consumption is one reason that’s spearheading the movement. In 2016, the Marine Conservation Society found 20 tampons and sanitary items per 100 metres of shoreline. Considering that the plastic found in most regular tampons and pads can take up to 500 years to degrade and the average woman will use 11,000 menstrual products in a lifetime, that’s a lot of unnecessary waste making its way into our - already overwhelmed - surroundings.

Ella Daish is one woman on a mission to tackle this problem. Her campaign #EndPeriodPlastic has over 100,000 signatures and she’s continually putting pressure on manufacturers to rethink how they package their period products. Ella launched the campaign after being shocked to find out that some pads can contain up to four plastic bag’s worth of plastic. She’s been raising awareness of the subject and piling the pressure on big brands to rethink the materials they use to make and package their sanitary products.

Although plastic is one material that’s garnering plenty of eco-attention, the other substances that go into making sanitary products are also rightly causing a stir. Tampons, for instance, can contain traces of everything from pesticides to chlorine, fragrance and potentially harmful chemicals. As they’re not classified as ‘medical’ items, the exact substances that go into making them doesn’t have to be public. In the same vein to how we’ve been more concerned with the ingredients we put in and on our bodies, understanding what the healthiest and safest method of sanitary protection has become a conversation worth having.

Image: OrganiCup
Image: OrganiCup

Mariah Mansvelt Beck co-founded organic cotton sanitary brand Yoni in 2013 after she found out she was developing cervical cancer and advised by her doctor to stop using synthetic period products. “I became aware with my friend and co-founder Wendelien that we can’t know what our regular tampons and pads are made from because they don’t list anything on the packaging” she told us, “For every other care product - your shampoo, soap, toothpaste - you can expect to find a list of ingredients but for our most intimate products, nothing is mentioned.”

This became the basis of what Yoni stands for: breathable, hypoallergenic, biodegradable and always made from organic cotton. “Our products are made from certified organic cotton and our pads and liners have a backing made from bioplastic derived from cornstarch. We choose organic cotton specifically since cotton is one of the most sprayed-upon crops in the world” she explains.

Likewise, reusable menstrual cup brand OrganiCup (which, alongside Yoni, have recently launched on Glasshouse Shop) has put the environment at the forefront of their ethos. If cared for correctly, a single OrganiCup can last up to 10 years - that’s a decade worth of sanitary waste avoided and a considerable cost saving too. We think both brands are doing a powerful job at encouraging women to rethink the choices that come with their monthly cycle. In a market that hasn’t innovated in decades, it’s exciting to see considerable change finally happening.

Image: Yoni
Image: Yoni

The recent change has come hand-in-hand with a more open approach to periods in general. Whether it’s through highlighting issues such as period poverty or women feeling the freedom to speak more openly about their periods on social media, the ‘taboo’ surrounding the subject - particularly in the UK - has begun to fade.

“When we started there was almost no conversation or media coverage about menstruation and product choices” explains Mariah, “There has definitely been a shift - nowadays there are entrepreneurs like ourselves who are pushing the conversation and aiming to break the taboo around menstruation. We also see activists and artists taking on the issues and discussions on tampon tax, menstruation leave and access to products in schools, prisons, for the homeless and for refugees - existing policies are being changed to be more inclusive and to, in the end, normalise rather than medicalise.”

It seems that in 2018 the topic of periods is up for discussion in every sense of the word - whether that be what our sanitary products are made out of or how much we should be paying for them, it’s never felt more relevant to reassess what we thought we knew about periods. At Glasshouse, we’re particularly happy to have two pioneering brands on board who’s products are designed to care for the environment and look after our bodies at the same time. Our monthly cycle has never felt more exciting.

Words: Lucy Vincent
Cover image: Thinx

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. Work with us at Glasshouse Salon

    Fancy being a part of our close-knit Glasshouse team? We are looking for a driven and detail-orientated Front of House Manager to come onboard.

    More +
  2. Q&A: Basho Skincare

    ​We sit down with Mimi + Tor, founders of Basho Skincare, to dive deep into their inspiration behind their organic, plant based skincare that is both ethically sourced and responsibly made, placing everyone’s unique, natural rhythms and cycles centre stage.

    More +
  3. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Aquarius

    We rejoin our resident astrologer Daliah Roth, who is guiding us through one of the zodiac’s most opinionated, knowledgable and bohemian signs - Aquarius.

    More +
  4. Reduced Waste Hair Care

    Get the lowdown on Glasshouse Salon’s new reduced waste service and follow these five simple steps to make your hair care routine more eco friendly.

    More +
  5. Astrology with Daliah: Capricorn

    As we ease into a new decade, we turn to Daliah Roth, The Highgate Astrologer, for a closer look at the ambitious, organised and practical Capricorn.

    More +
  6. The Glasshouse Guide to a Conscious Christmas

    From zero waste wrapping to dropping the turkey from your Christmas dinner, here’s the Glasshouse guide to making your festive season more eco-friendly.

    More +
  7. A Sustainable Department Store, Edition No. 2

    Everything you need to know about Edition No. 2 of A Sustainable Department Store, plus some top tips on how you can shop more sustainably this Christmas from our independent makers.

    More +
  8. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Sagittarius

    As we being to approach the final month of the year, we turn to Daliah Roth, The Highgate Astrologer, to tell us more about the free-spirited nature that defines Sagittarius.

    More +
  9. Sustainable Sleep Rituals

    ​From ethically sourced loungewear to low waste makeup removal, we speak to some eco-conscious bloggers about all the ways you can practice good sleep hygiene without harming the planet.

    More +
  10. Masterclass: Air-drying Curls

    Winter has definitely arrived and with it brings a shift in the way we care for our hair. On balmier days we welcome air drying our curly hair, but in the depths of winter this is less appealing. With the help of Glasshouse Salon stylist Tori’s expert advise, we’ve got some tips for achieving a frizz-free curly style throughout the colder months.

    More +
  11. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Scorpio

    As our mornings and evenings get darker and the clocks turn back this weekend, we are entering the beginning of Scorpio season and have once again enlisted the help of Daliah Roth, The Highgate Astrologer, to tell us all about this illusive and intriguing sign.

    More +
  12. Gender Neutral Prices

    As we launch a new gender neutral price list that makes hair cuts and colour the same for both men and women, we’re take a look at some of the other industries affected by the so called ‘pink tax’ and why many women end up paying more than men for the same products.

    More +
  13. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Libra

    ​Autumn is officially here and with it comes the beginning of Libra season. Balanced, social and often romantic, Daliah Roth of The Highgate Astrologer helps us delve deeper into the qualities of this sign.

    More +
  14. Hair Trend: Slicked Back

    From Molly Goddard to Roland Mouret, we spotted the slicked back look all over the SS20 catwalks. Though the style may seem more high fashion than everyday, hair that’s swept of the face is surprisingly flattering and easy to achieve. With help from our Senior Stylist Mel, we’ve put together some tips on the bold yet sophisticated trend.

    More +
  15. Plastic-Free Periods

    ​As more and more alternative period products become available, we chat to four real women to hear their experiences transitioning from conventional feminine care to more sustainable and healthy options.

    More +
  16. The Glasshouse Guide to Beauty Recycling

    The rules around recycling can be difficult to decipher most of the time, but recycling our beauty products seems to be an even more confusing area. In celebration of Zero Waste Week, we’ve put together the definitive guide to reusing, recycling, and refilling our bathroom waste.

    More +
Load more posts