It's taken as a given that reusable nappies and sanitary pads are more environmentally friendly than their disposable equivalents - but are reusable cotton pads/rounds better for the environment?
I was looking at these
yesterday as I go through about three of the disposable equivalent
a day, and that makes for a lot of bathroom clutter. They are more expensive than the disposable ones - to get enough for a week would cost me £20, which would buy me roughly 2000 disposable pads if I buy when on offer - although it would be possible to make my own were I to get access to a serger and somewhere that sells the right fabric (the towelling ones look better for my needs than the flannel versions). Having sensitive skin makes me feel the disposable ones are potentially better than something that goes through the wash, but the disposable ones do generate a lot of waste. Whereas the thought of reusing sanitary towels or 'family cloth' doesn't feel comfortable for me, this seems like something that I would find useful and potentially better than what I'm doing now.
However, what I was wondering was, hypothetically speaking, are they really kinder for the environment?
- Made from cotton wool, which they say is a 'natural product' (so unbleached?)
- Available at a store on my way to work (although they would have had to get there first)
- Sold in a plastic sleeve
- Throw away after use; no composting or recycling where we are
- Need to be replaced often
- One use only (unless I use the toner pads again to take off nail varnish once dry)
- Made from bought or byproduct terry fabric
- Would have to get them shipped from the UK or US (ie. by plane)
- Not sure about packaging but would need to be packaged for posting
- Washed after use, although this would be in the machine with my regular wash rather than as a separate thing - I would need to wash them once a week
- Shouldn't need to be replaced often
- Multiple use
I don't have the kind of brain that can calculate micro-variables
, so I was wondering if any enviro experts might be able to work this out!