Why You Should Choose Organic (& I'm Not Talking About Food)
Whew. Okay. Here goes.
I have periods!
(Did I just say that out loud?) But if you’re a woman or trans person, so do you. If not, then your mother did. And your grandmother. And that girl from highschool who was way out of everyone’s league did. Isn’t it weird how...well, weird...it still is to say that?
So there, I said it! Now, moving on.
You’d think that dealing with periods for over half my life would make me some sort of expert. Nope. Color me surprised when I walked into Target earlier this year for a box of tampons and discovered the organic section.
Oh, Jesus. Does everything have to be organic nowadays?
I first thought it was a marketing ploy brought on by the Green Revolution, and then I did a little more research. Far from it! Organic menstrual products have been around since the 1980s but have only recently hit the mainstream as unsuccessful pleas to Congress and smart advertising have brought them into the spotlight.
Wait, what was that you said about pleas to Congress?
That’s right: the FDA does not have regulations on listing the ingredients for tampons and pads. I feel like I need the clapping hands emojis between each of those words to get my point across.
It’s true. Legislation to change this has been introduced over TEN times to Congress but has been shut down on every single occasion. Without these regulations, it is unknown how much garbage goes into your menstrual tools:
Bleach is used to whiten the cotton used in pads and tampons.
Fragrances are thrown in because God forbid your vagina smells like anything other than a Moon-Kissed Petal or whatever.
And BPA...TBH, I’m not sure what that is but I only buy water bottles that are BPA-free and those are only going in my mouth so…
Your vagina (or your mom’s/girlfriend’s/that hot girl from highschool’s) vagina is the most absorbent part of your/her body. If that isn’t fear-inducing enough to make you switch and call your representatives, I want to share my top three reasons for going organic:
IT’S NOT WAY MORE EXPENSIVE
It’s not like organic tampons are the Whole Foods of the menstrual hygiene industry. On that first and fateful trip to Target, I did the side-by-side comparison. Organic tampons really aren’t much more expensive than big brand names. Target’s website shows that a 34-pack of Regular U by Kotex tampons is $6.99, while a 30-pack of Regular tampons by L. is also $6.99. If I had to choose between ingesting bleach and fewer tampons, I’ll take the fewer tampons.
And depending on the company, you can save money by signing up for a subscription service. You can even select what size and how many of each item you’ll need every month. No more trips to CVS at 11 PM where you buy a bunch of random things to hide that you’re really there to get Super-Plus tampons.
IT’S BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
You may not think twice about the Tampax Pearl wrapper you just stuffed in the metal box in the public bathroom. But when there are roughly three billion (with a B!) of us with periods, the waste adds up. Organic menstrual hygiene companies use either recycled or recyclable materials in most (if not all) of their products. No period stain or plastic left behind!
It’s not just the wrapper and applicator that affect the environment; consider the cotton that must be spun to create the absorbent materials for pads and tampons. Conventional cotton is the number 1 “dirty crop”. Not like Christina Aguilera circa 2002 Dirty. Like, pesticides spraying the cotton dirty up the water supply, killing animals and poisoning consumers. Even brands that label their products as “natural” cotton don’t cut it because there’s currently no regulation on exactly what “natural” means. 100% organic cotton is the only way to ensure your products don’t contain harmful chemicals; they’re safer for your body and the planet.
THE 1-FOR-1 MODEL HELPS PEOPLE HANDLE MENSTRUATION ALL OVER THE WORLD
My boyfriend and I had this discussion last night: do for-profit companies have to jump on the social justice bandwagon? We agreed that the answer is no, but it’s pretty foolish to not consider the impact your products could have to those in need.
Plus, I think you know me well enough by now to know my heart is also bleeding; I’m just a sucker for companies who genuinely care for others. That’s why I love brands like L. & Cora: for every product purchased, they donate one to someone in need. They also provide education and other resources to men and women around the world to help fight the stigmas surrounding menstruation.
All it takes today to see the atrocities of the modern world is a quick scroll through your favorite newsfeed. With requests to help organizations around the globe just a click away, the compassion fatigue can feel overwhelming. Why not make it easy on yourself and choose to buy from companies who are committed to setting high standards and providing products with meaning?
(OPTIONAL PERK) THE BADASS BRANDING
If you’re weirdly into design/packaging like me, you’ll care about this. Have you ever stopped to look at the boxes your pads and tampons come in? Next time you’re buying a pack, you’ll notice it: amidst a sea of pinks and purples—traditionally “feminine” colors—those aforementioned organic brands have broken the mold.
L.’s packaging nearly brought me to tears the first time I saw it (although PMS may have had an influence there, too.)
Cora is sleek, sexy even, and the black packaging provides an elusive, chic approach to that thing you have to carry across the office on your way to the bathroom.
And Sustain is straight up blue (BLUE, people!)
These companies have realized that not everyone who has periods spends their 3 – 7 days frolicking through fields in a white linen dress or laughing into salads with girlfriends. Just because we have periods doesn’t make us all love the color pink or want to feel “traditionally” feminine (whatever that means). We might be a niche group, but for those who know color theory and care about design, a thoughtful approach to menstrual products can make all of the difference.
I know. It’s easy to buy what your friends buy, what your mom bought, and what her mom bought (yeah, those companies have been around for decades). But the science is there. The products really work. Next time you’re in need, why not try something new and opt for organic?
Have you tried organic menstrual products? Let me know what you think and leave any questions below!