By Michelle Wilson
Sustainability is more than just a buzz word – it’s our new reality. Everywhere we look we see people aiming to make more sustainable choices in their lives, for the environment and for the future of those who will care for our planet once we are gone.
Plastic-free living is going from stride-to-stride. Conscientious buying sees people shunning fast fashion in favour of second-hand styles. Meat-free Mondays is no longer a trend but a way of life that’s extending past the first day of the week. The next step that more and more women are taking to make their life more sustainable? Waving goodbye to one-use tampons and pads and switching to a kinder-for-Mother-Earth alternative – AWWA period-proof underwear.
Fun fact about using single-use sanitary products – over 40 billion tampons or sanitary pads are used annually, creating 32,000 tonnes of plastic heavy waste.
Not such a fun fact, is it? Over a lifetime, Kiwi women contribute 11,000 – 17,000 period products to that horrifying number.
Even though the physical waste from 'disposable' period products is horrendous, the largest impact on the environmental impact of tampons and pads occurs during production, as the energy intensive manufacture of LDPE (low-density polyethylene) produces devastating fossil fuel emissions. The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm states that the largest impact on global warming is caused by the processing of LDPE - for tampon applicators and in pads... In science talk, a year’s worth of a typical period product use leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg CO2 equivalents.
It’s not only our beautiful earth we need to take into consideration when considering making the switch… it’s ourselves.
Period products can contain dioxins from bleach (dioxins are carcinogens, hormone disruptors, linked to endometriosis and can affect the body at very low levels), and neuro-toxic or hormone disrupting synthetic fragrances. Because period product manufacturers aren’t required to tell you what’s in their products by law, some of our most sensitive and absorbent bodily tissue could be in contact with these harmful substances and we’d never know it.
Further to that, toxic chemicals are used as pesticides on the cotton used in tampons and pads, and cotton growers use some of the world's most hazardous pesticides, which have been linked to infertility, neurological dysfunction and developmental defects.
Why would we subject ourselves to the possibility of any of the above unnecessarily? Thanks to AWWA period-proof underwear, we no longer have to.
AWWA is a Kiwi brand committed to changing the way we view our periods. From a design perspective, AWWA period-proof underwear is sleek and stylish. A super-absorbent layer holds up to two regular tampon’s worth of flow, an antimicrobial layer prevents odours, a soft outer-layer quickly draws moisture away, and our innovative slim design means you’re not walking around feeling like there’s a nappy in your knickers.
More importantly AWWA period-proof underwear gives confidence to all those who wear them – from newly menstruating teens to those of us who know Aunty Flo so well we can almost predict her visit down to the hour. AWWA period-proof underwear can also provide support and comfort during pregnancy, post-partum and for minor bladder leakage.
A 3 pack of AWWA period-proof underwear is the perfect start to your sustainable period journey. We recommend the Eva Brief, Cotton Brief or the Skye High. The latest addition of the Frankie brief is AWWA’s answer to the disposable panty liner. AWWA period-proof swimwear also allows women to swim on their period without having to resort to disposables.
Simple wear, rinse, wash and re use!
AWWA’s passion for looking after our earth and creating a better place for our children is equal to our passion for beating Period Poverty, which is why they are part of a movement to end period poverty and to ensure all girls and women have access to menstrual products.
Let’s make no bones about it – period poverty is real, and it’s happening in New Zealand.
Women and girls are resorting to stuffing rags, toilet paper, nappies and socks in their underwear, because they and their families can’t afford menstrual products. Or even if they do have some sanitary products, they use tampons and pads longer than is hygienic. And when these dangerous and uncomfortable options don’t work, they are forced to stay home from work and school out of shame and discomfort, losing days of earnings and education.
A recent survey of 5000 women and girls in New Zealand by KidsCan found that:
1. 53 % had found it difficult to afford sanitary items at some point
2. 23% had missed school or work due to lack of sanitary care
3. 29% of under 17 year olds had missed school or work due to lack of sanitary care
4. 30% said they had had to prioritise buying other items like food, over sanitary items
So what are AWWA doing to put period poverty in its place? They donate 5% of all AWWA underwear to charities in New Zealand who are committed to supporting and empowering wahine, and who are addressing period poverty.
AWWA also offer the option for people to buy AWWA period underwear for teens and women in need, which we then donate to our charity partners.
Even those of us who have it pretty good in life have to watch our pennies, which is why we love that financially, the numbers also add up when making the switch to a one-use free period lifestyle. A lifetime supply of pads and/or tampons could (based on using 11,000 – 17,000 ) cost of at least $16,000. Whereas a life supply of period underwear (100 pairs if you’re a fan of being stocked up) will cost around $4,000.
The numbers and facts add up – it’s time to ditch one-use sanitary products and go with the sustainable flow.
To find out more about AWWA or to join the waste-free period revolution, visit www.awwathelabel.com and we have a discount code to share with you ‘wellnessbyjessica’ for 15% off.