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The Pads: One Year On

Written by Emma Constantine | 28th September 2021

My journey of making and using reusable sanitary pads started at the same time. A wonderful workshop in an isolated village in Tasmania in 2018 was where this happened. I’m still using the pad I made then, which shows that they are long lasting and it has definitely saved me money from not buying disposables.

According to the Metro, the average woman spends £10.24 a month on sanitary products. This research was conducted by the menstrual cup brand Intimina. This equates to £122.88 a year. Of course everyone’s flow is different so it is difficult to say how many reusable pads one needs but any of the reusable options will save the average woman money:

- a menstrual cup from Organicup is £21. If you get good at putting this in, this is the only product you need. You’ll have saved money after just 3 monthly flows.

- I use two period pants from Thinx (£40.30 total) as well as a range of my handmade pads. I probably get through 3 or 4 per cycle so at £19 for a set of 3 plus an extra one at £7, the total for a customer would be £26. The total therefore for using reusable period underwear (for me) is £66.30. This option is more expensive than the cup and will take 7 months to save you money. In the grand scheme of your life though, it is totally worth the investment.

If either of those options still sound unaffordable, I really believe that the majority of us could cut down costs elsewhere: that second drink, that takeaway coffee, that meal out, that packet of biscuits. It all adds up. By doing cutting these down, you give yourself the freedom to buy the products you actually need and that will benefit the environment. I’ve already written about how the chemicals in tampons are harmful to your vaginal health in another blog. I think this is shocking news to many so I hope it helps you to feel more informed about particular products.

This was meant to be a blog about reflecting on the first year of the pads but my passion for this product has gotten me side tracked! I absolutely love making the pads. There are many layers and processes involved in making just one, so I easily feel a huge sense of pride in not just finishing one, but the fact that it has so many benefits to women and the planet. It is a useful product and I love that it means I get to talk openly and honestly about periods to complete strangers. A topic that many still feel is taboo or embarrassing so I hope that with each conversation or social media post, barriers are being broken down.

I am so grateful to the three women who were brave enough to test the pads out for me when they were first made one year ago. Their invaluable feedback helped me to realise that we are each so different and that no one pad would suit all women. Everyone needs a different combination and will wear them for different lengths of time. Their testing also confirmed that I needed to include a waterproof layer. Not wanting to buy anything new, in order to keep the reclaimed and upcycled ethos, the fabric from broken umbrellas became the solution: an idea I got from a period workshop with Sunny Jar Eco Hub.

In April 2021, I began approaching local shops with planet friendly values to see if they wanted to stock the pads. Selling wholesale was a field that I had no idea about. I’m so grateful therefore that Sue from Little Barn Health was so kind and encouraging about the pads and took 6 pads to trial out in her shop. This gave me the confidence to approach other shops in my locality, who all received me well and are successfully stocking the pads. From there, the family of stockists has grown to 7 and I couldn’t be happier. Growth is always possible though so if you own a shop or know someone who does and you think our reusable pads would be a good fit, then please get in touch.

Word of mouth is the best form of marketing so if you have bought pads from Jup, be brave and tell your friends. Ask them what reusable products they use. Tell them what you use. Point them in our direction, and they’ll probably have a recommendation for you too. We’ve got to help and support each other make these eco switches because sometimes it can feel a struggle. Keeping the big picture in mind and knowing you’re not alone in doing it really does help you to keep going.


Instagram: @jup.upcycle

Buy our reusable pads here

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