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I love my ‘eye patches’

I can’t remember what first made me choose to go for reusable pads about 8-10 years ago. I think I just saw an advert for them from a company called “Earthwise girls” and quite liked the idea.

Worse than average

Now I know the campaign is about ‘period products’ and the Women’s Environmental Network talks about the average woman using 11,000 disposable period items in her lifetime. But I must confess I was probably worse than average as I used panty liners every day to keep my pants fresh, and then panty liners and tampons during my period.

So I bought a few large reusable pads for period time and about 7 or 8 smaller pads for everyday use. And I’m still using them – they’ve lasted incredibly well and I love them – and can’t even begin to estimate how many disposable items I’ve avoided by making this change.

I must admit my periods have never been as heavy as some peoples, so I can understand some women being a bit reluctant to give up on tampons. But I actually found using pads fine.

Looking after your cloth pads

The yuk factor has been very minimal – much as we sometimes feel like the blood is pumping out of us, you find that when wearing a pad rather than a tampon, that there isn’t that much flow. I just wear the pads, then wash them before putting them in my normal wash.

And regarding using reusable pads on a daily basis – I figure I’m not just reducing waste by not using disposables, but it helps keep my trousers cleaner for longer too, so I’m saving on washing a large item, by just washing something very small – so I’m saving energy and the wear and tear on my clothes.

My top tips...

  • Give reusable pads a try. There are loads available online, and I’ve seen some workshops where people can make their own.
  • I bought white ones, but you may prefer to buy coloured ones and they soon go “off-white”. That doesn’t bother me, but others may not be so keen.
  • I do draw the line at hanging my reusable pads up on the washing line in the garden – I think my husband would die of embarrassment (he calls them my eye patches and treats them like nuclear waste). But part of me thinks that we shouldn’t be ashamed – they are part of every woman’s life and we should be more open and honest about these things to raise awareness of the issues and encourage women to talk periods.
  • Talk to your friends about periods. We’ve had some open discussions at work and found that people have had all sorts of issues, and few have had the courage to seek advice from friends. So speak up – periods are nothing to be embarrassed about, and you may help someone else.

Find out how the rest of the team got on...

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Miriam - period diaries