Ethical fashion, home decor, poetry.

I was going to donate my box of non-organic tampons. Until I realized I might not be able to find an alternative that worked.

I was going to donate my box of non-organic tampons. Until I realized I might not be able to find an alternative that worked.

Changing my living habits to low-waste, earth and body-friendly living, I had a few leftover items that could benefit others. Namely, a few extra razors, bottles of shampoo I once bought on sale, and tampons. I decided to make up a box for a women’s shelter so the items could be put to good use.

The weird thing is, I struggled with it. It fully drove home the fact that I was ABLE to choose to not use these items. And now I was giving them to a shelter, because I didn’t want chemicals to be used in my own house? If that doesn’t put a cringe in your stomach about privilege, I don’t know what will. There’s an undertone in the sustainable world that we all know is there: that we have the means to choose. I felt awkward about offloading non-organic products to women who weren’t in the position to spend that kind of money on organic.

I started to realize 2 things:

  1. Consuming or using organic is a thing that people with affluence do.
  2. It shouldn’t be. It should be the standard.

 

As I was working through what all these conflicted thoughts meant for this box of non-organic goods, I went about my week. I was nearly finished my period, and I remember having bought organic tampons in the USA to try for the first time when I visited – because those kinds of products just aren’t as accessible in Canada. I’m talking: not a single option in our regular grocery stores or pharmacies. I was running out, and I didn’t want to go back to the unknown.

I’ve tried menstrual cups, but haven’t found any that really worked for me – so while figuring all that out, I still needed an alternative.

I went online to see how much of a cost difference it’d be. And saw the sexy American brands like L or Lola were too expensive with conversion, and didn’t ship to Canada.

So, back to the drawing board. This time, I stripped away any of my desires for cute packaging and great marketing, and went straight to utility and customer reviews: the good old stuff. I shopped like my mom would.

I went onto Well.ca and found 3 brands:

  1. Veeda
  2. Natracare
  3. Organyc

 

Not exactly trendy, and packaging you’d find in your grandma’s house. But I needed to be real and strip away all those millennial, instagrammy illusions that all aspects of our life can look curated. I’m here for the goods, people! Not the gram anymore.

 

Before going ahead and buying them from Well.ca, I thought I’d try the pharmacy again: this time, in Toronto. If that yielded nothing, online I’d go.

…well, that was a fail. Next stop, health food store.

On the weekend, I drove over to the local health food store and was overjoyed to find an end cap full of organic products. All the same brand (Natracare), and seeing them in person, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and credentials.

On the top of the box, you can find vegan, organic, and ethical seals advocating for Natracare’s products. It’s a lot more comforting than ambiguously organic products that don’t elaborate on exactly how. And when you’re dealing with chemicals inside your body, you want to be sure!

I grabbed a few options:

  1. Super tampons, no applicator
  2. Regular tampons, cardboard applicator
  3. Pantiliners
  4. Ultra pads, for overnight

As soon as I opened the packages, I could see the quality. Yes, the branding was a bit less trendy than other companies, and yes, I suppose it’s a bit weird that I thought the cotton seemed quite a bit softer than the regular products, but heck yes there was hope!

Now, the cost? About $0.44 per tampon, compared to $0.19 per unit for a conventional brand. That’s more than double.

So, am I happy I found an organic option? Totally! Is it a long-term solution? At this cost, I’m not sure. But for now, it’s at least a good quality, chemical free option.

But what about the issue of privilege? It’s still on my mind that economic status dictates whether you can choose to not have chemicals in your body. Well, for anyone who DOES live in the States, there are organic brands like Lola that give products to women for every product you buy. Now that’s something I can get behind!

xo
Petraalexandra

 

**Update** after using the NatraCare products for 2 cycles, I can affirm they’re keepers! I’m loving the non-applicator style tampons for their low-waste footprint, and because they’re so easy to carry around!



4 thoughts on “I was going to donate my box of non-organic tampons. Until I realized I might not be able to find an alternative that worked.”

  • Have you ever thought about trying a menstrual cup? They are much more economical (last 2-3 years) and environmentally friendly plus they make you feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all! (No nasty string hanging around) I use the Divacup (well.ca and even Shoppers drug mart carries them) and it is amazing. Great for travelling, great for everything. I can never go back to tampons.

    • Yes, definitely! I actually have one, but it’s not quite working for me yet 😉 so I had to find an interim option! Thanks so much for sharing so others could learn more, too!

  • This post really got me thinking. I did some googling to see how it is where I live (Northern Europe) and it seems that here the cost would be about $0.34 for a conventional tampon and $0.40 for the organic brand that I use, only 18% more expensive.

    Then I was thinking about what you said about Consuming or using organic is a thing that people with affluence do. That’s definitely true, but I don’t believe personally that it’s a reason not to choose organic products. Organic products cost more to produce, but a lot of that increased cost is from the fact that products are produced in smaller batches because of lack of demand, and sometimes the fact that there are fewer competitors in organic products will lead to higher prices. Maybe the small price difference where I live is because the organic products are so common – I can select from a couple of brands in any medium or large grocery store.

    All of this is to say – I understand why you feel icky about privilege, but I don’t think that you need to feel bad about creating demand for organic tampons 🙂 Hopefully as the demand increases the price per unit will fall!

    • Wow, that’s so fascinating, thanks for sharing what the pricing is like in Europe! It’s so interesting to see how it differs from country to country. Canada tends to fall behind on this line of business, but agreed! We can start creating the demand to try and change the scene of organic hygiene products in conventional stores. Really appreciate your insights!

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