Red Sea Travel Agency: A definitive guide for cutting out plastics. Period.

Happy Menstruation Day, to people that menstruate or know those who do!

The bloody lovely lot at Red Sea Travel Agency, from folks at BlackBark Films and No More Taboo, presented the first gender inclusive, dedicated menstruation festival space at Shambala last year. Styled as a travel agency, they’re back to take us on a “weekend tour of the monthlies”.

For International Menstruation Hygiene day, they share how to go eco during the time of the month.

Guest blog by Holly Vandyke 

Did you know the average disposable menstrual pad contains the same amount of plastic as 4 carrier bags? This means that your single use menstrual pad could be around a lot longer than you’d expect. Not only this, but a lot of disposable menstrual products end up down the loo. According to City to Sea, that’s an estimated 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads in fact, every single day, in the UK alone.

Disposable menstrual products can also impact your health – unlike cosmetics, companies that make pads and tampons aren’t required to list what they might contain, and many have been found to include toxic chemicals and petrochemical additives, which have been linked to cancer and heart diseases. For an area so sensitive, this is not good news!

There is another way. You’ve probably seen reusable menstrual products by now – from Mooncups to Thinx period pants, there are so many options – it can almost be a bit bloody overwhelming! So if you haven’t made the plunge yet, here are our tips for choosing the reusable product that’s right for you:

Menstrual cups

There are loads of brands available now, with different colours, shapes and even valves to choose from. The basic idea though is the same – a small silicon cup that you insert into your cervix to collect the menstrual blood. Every few hours (up to 12, depending on your flow – a menstrual cup can hold a lot more than a tampon!) you take the cup out, empty it, give it a rinse, and reinsert. It sounds simple, but these do take some getting used to – try it at home first and give it a few cycles before you give up on it! Here are some more tips from No More Taboo.

Pads

These work just like conventional pads, except you don’t throw them away afterwards – you can wash and reuse them over and over again, usually for up to two years. You will need a few for your whole cycle as they need to be washed and dried in-between. They come in all sorts of fab colours and designs, and they are way more comfortable and less noisy than plastic ones. Usually they have poppers to attach them around your underwear, which can be used to fold them up when you’re done with them, if you can’t wash them right away. Because they are usually made of cotton or another absorbent fabric, they absorb the menstrual blood much better and don’t smell as much as regular pads. Read No More Taboo’s FAQ guide here.

Pants

These can be a really comfy option and work in a similar way to the pads – you wear them, then wash them like regular pants. Simple! They have inbuilt absorbent fabric and are ideal for those lighter days or nights when you just want to be comfy and not have to worry about anything moving around. We love WUKA (Wake Up Kick Ass). Pants can be a great option for folks who experience dysmorphia around their periods -you can stick them on like your usual underwear and forget about it for the day. Many period pants brands have non-gendered pant styles available.

For some people a combination of two or all of the above works best – particularly if your flow varies a lot. The initial investment can put people off, but longer term you will save so much money – up to 97% over the course of your lifetime – and you will never be caught out again, having run out.

So, this menstrual hygiene day, if you haven’t already, give reusables a try, and ditch the plastics!

If you’d like to have a chat about trying reusables, need somewhere to give your menstrual cup a wash, or just want somewhere to learn more about periods, come and see us at the Red Sea Travel Agency this year! Find us in between Phantom Laundry and Water Aid.

Check out the red sea travel agency in action at shambala 2018, below.