Alongside Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, Alexandra Pope runs the Red School, a centre of education dedicated to a radical new approach to women’s leadership, creativity and spiritual life based on the menstrual cycle. We spoke to her about reusable sanitary products
“I have a background in education and psychotherapy, and I ran my own reusable pads company when I lived in Australia. Ecologically speaking, they’re better for the environment – disposable pads are made with harsh chemicals, and their backing is plastic, which contributes to landfill. If you have bad period pains, it’s better to use pads too. Anecdotally, many women have told me that they bleed less when they use reusable pads too. Using reusable sanitary products also connects you more deeply to your cycle and bleed – many women say that their periods feel ‘sweeter’. Also, most companies that sell reusable pads are small and local, and many contribute back into education or, for example, give one pad to a young girl in the developing world for each one you buy.
They’re easy to care for too. You soak them in cold water, then wash – I used to do mine by hand using ecologically friendly detergent – and then hang them out to dry – sunlight is best. I’d proudly hang mine out in the shared garden at the back of my flats – it was a great way to start a conversation about reusable products! The companies making these products are usually small, and are up against the supermarkets and larger who have an interest in selling disposable products. There is a taboo around periods, but companies like Mooncup are helping break this down by starting conversations and using clever marketing. For me, it feels like more women are switching to reusable pads, but then I’m swimming in this every day.”
Wild Power: discover the magic of your menstrual cycle and awaken the feminine path to power by Alexandra and Sjanie is out now, published by Hay House redschool.net
FLOW CHATS - Green Parent readers told us why they’re fans of reusable sanitary wear
Charlotte: “I’m a massive fan of reusable pads. They are comfier, funkier and work out cheaper! There’s no hassle involved in washing; just use, have a special bag to stick them all in and then at the end, one rinse cycle in washing machine and wash as normal without fabric conditioner. Simples!
Beth: “I wish I’d found out about Mooncup years ago. Eco friendly, convenient, comfortable. I love my Mooncup.”
Laura: “The key is talking about it, have that conversation with the women and girls in your lives. For the sake of their health, the financial saving and for our earth.”
Annabelle: “Lunette cup for me and Lady Day cloth pads. I wish these items were sold in regular shops alongside the typical tampons and towels so people knew there were alternatives. I only came across them when we started cloth nappies for our baby.”
Sarah: “I have used a Mooncup for around 14 years. I have to confess that when I first came upon them when I was in my early 20’s - in a health food shop in Glastonbury - I was somewhat bemused and grossed out by the whole concept.
Becca: “I use a Mooncup generally which I really like, bit if I have a very heavy flow particular at night time a use a washable pad as well.”
One out of ten girls in Sub-Sahara Africa misses five days of school a month because menstrual products are neither accessible nor affordable. Most women use cloth in place of underwear that they tie on with straw. mocainternational.org helps raise awareness and gathers groups of girls to make pads for themselves and selling to the community.
Photo: Maryam Yasin of Xenia, Ohio