Bloom & Nora talk Plastic-Free Periods with ‘Kids Against Plastic’

Amy and Ella Meek, the teen activists behind Kids Against Plastic, show us that it’s possible to have a plastic-free period from a young age.

Kids Against Plastic started as a simple home-school topic in 2016. Today, this award-winning charity has collected over 100,000 pieces of single-use plastic litter (and developed an app for logging it!) and inspired a generation of young eco-warriors to reduce their single-use plastic consumption. Since 2019, their Plastic Clever scheme has been adopted by over 900 schools around the UK. Amazing work!

Here at Bloom & Nora, we’re equally passionate about combatting period shame and protecting the environment. That’s why we were so thrilled to have Amy and Ella review our reusable plastic-free period products. It’s amazing that the girls aren’t just amplifying the conversation around single-use plastic, but they’re de-stigmatising periods too.

When did you first become aware of reusable sanitary products?

Amy: Quite late into our plastics campaigning as part of Kids Against Plastic! Plastic in sanitary products is relatively unspoken about, and I was horrified when I realised how much plastic waste I could be producing every month when I was trying so hard to cut down on the amount of single-use plastic I used. I started off using plastic-free and cotton-based disposable products, but making the change to reusable products was the obvious next move (from both an environmental and cost perspective!). We always talk about how the ideal solution to a lot of our plastic consumption is to swap out our single-use items for reusables, and it’s no different when it comes to disposable sanitary wear.

Ella: I first became aware of reusable products about three years ago, when I heard about the impact that single-use plastic sanitary products had on the environment.

Is there any awareness of plastic waste in disposable sanitary items among your friends?

Amy: Awareness is definitely growing, but it’s not widespread. Plastic in disposable sanitary items is a hidden menace, just like it is with teabags or chewing gum. If you aren’t actively aware of the plastic you use, it’s hard to spot the plastic in these products. There’s a growing movement of people turning away from the obvious single-use plastics, like bottles or straws. I hope that with increased education, and the continued work of amazing plastic-free period campaigners like Ella Daish, we’ll see a similar movement with regards to disposable plastic sanitary items.

Ella: Yes, I think there is a growing awareness of the waste caused by disposable products but the difficultly is that many people don’t know where to find other products and what’s best to get. However, as more awareness is raised and more products are on the market, hopefully, we’ll see the transition to reusable sanitary items.

Do you use reusable pads when at home, when out and about, or overnight?

Amy: I have to admit that I was a little dubious and paranoid when I first tried reusable period products. Every menstruating person has that (rather irrational) worry about their sanitary items withstanding the time they use them for. I had to overcome that worry again when trying a new kind of product! But now I’m past that, I use them all the time.

How did Bloom & Nora compare absorbency-wise to disposable period products?

I’m always conscious of hygiene when on my period, never wearing products for more than a few hours, so I’ve had no issues with the absorbency of reusable products.

How did you find washing the reusable pads?

Easier than expected! I just make sure to wash them soon after usage and dry them ready for the next day. It’s pretty simple once you get into the habit.

What has surprised you the most about reusable sanitary pads?

I was surprised at how quickly I’ve become used to using them. They’re so convenient, definitely more comfortable, and I have greater peace of mind now I’m not throwing away another disposable product every few hours!

What advice would you give to anyone trying reusable sanitary pads?

You may be a bit dubious at first, but once you’ve made the switch to reusable menstrual products, I doubt you’ll look back! Just like using a reusable water bottle or putting a travel mug in your bag, it’s a habit we can all get into to help combat plastic pollution.

Definitely try to make reusable sanitary wear a regular part of your cycle. It’ll save you money in the long run and will definitely have a significant impact on your single-use plastic consumption (after all, that’s a good 15,000 less disposable products you’ll throw away in your lifetime!)

Kids Against Plastic and activists like Greta Thunberg have inspired more young people than ever before to take the health of the planet into their own hands. These changing attitudes make us optimistic that the problem of plastics in disposable sanitary products will soon be common knowledge.

The best part about the change in attitude towards single-use plastic is that it doesn’t just tackle the waste problem, it also opens the door to discussions about menstruation. Our society still doesn’t talk as openly as it should about periods, but we’re getting better at it thanks to conversations like the one we had with Amy and Ella.

Ready to be an eco-trendsetter by having a plastic-free period from day one? Test out Bloom & Nora reusable sanitary pads with a Trial Kit, complete with a selection of our gorgeously soft cloth pads and a waterproof Out & About bag for changes on the go. Once you’re feeling cloth confident and ready to go full-time, fluff up your stash with one of our Full Kits.