“But they are… expensive!” It turns out that not only am I focussed, a terrible liar, determined and reasonably organized (among other things), I can also read minds. Yup. I can actually hear your thoughts (wow, hey?!). You LOVE the idea of reusable feminine products that are healthier for you and the environment. You read the posts, you love the concept. They are reusable and so darn pretty! You are sold, so you click on the “shop now” button and realize that switching to reusable cloth pads is >gulp< an… investment. YIKES! Unlike the couple $8 boxes of tampons and pads you throw in the grocery cart once a month, you may need to budget carefully (or take out a second mortgage) to afford a (albeit gorgeous) set of Bluebird Pads. You might even be thinking… “Wow, if I always choose organic and sustainable products like this, I will quite possibly: A). Go bankrupt, B). Forgo “vacations” as a line item in my budget permanently or perhaps C). Never have enough money in my budget for “luxury items” (like shampoo or deodorant) ever again!
Well, I have good news for you! Making the switch to organic cloth pads is something your budget CAN afford. Why? Simply because they are reusable. Yes, disposables are cheap per item. .22-.39 cents per item typically. But they last maybe 4 hours and then the go into the garbage. A typical reusable item costs $15 – $27 up front, but will last for many years!
Yes! I’m telling you that spending the money up front will mean you get to use a superior quality, more comfortable, healthier, eco-friendly product… and it will actually cost you LESS in the long run! Your budget really will thank you. Let’s dive into the details!
Of Stats & Conclusions
I have (what feels like) a million stats & averages floating around in my head (and in my notes) on this subject. Some examples: how many years women menstruate for (38), total number of women of menstruating age in Canada (7.8 million), packages of period products we purchase in a year (62.58 million) total amount we spend yearly on those products (520 million) and so on. You want a period stat? I probably have it somewhere in my head (no promises about whether I’ll actually be able to locate it in my brain files on the spot, haha!) With all the reading and research on the topic, I have come to some (and I say this with humility, har har) rather *mind blowing* conclusions. Do read on.
Here they are:
- Women spend a lot of MONEY on our periods (I haven’t even included the cliches of chocolate & wine into my calculations).
- We make a lot of GARBAGE with our period products. A modest estimate suggests Canadian women put at least the equivalent volume of an 18 story building into landfills every single year. Most disposable menstrual products are essentially plastic, so they will remain where they are dumped forever. (Well, not “forever” an estimated period of 500 – 800 years. They will disassemble eventually and become…plastic dirt?)
- So we spend a lot of MONEY to make lot of GARBAGE and (here’s the clincher) we believe both the money we spend and the garbage we make is acceptable; a “necessary evil” due to our status as modern women. I don’t want to have to be the one to say it, but… wrong again.
Okay, now I am going to move past the generalities and get down to brass tacks. Here are some (fairly) detailed examples based on the pricing we found at the local drug store.
Example – “U by Kotex” Disposable Pads:
Kotex recommends changing pads every 3-4 hours. A pack of U by Kotex with wings costs $7.99 for 36 items and U by Kotex Nite costs $4.49 for 14 (that is .22 and .32 per item respectively). If a woman changes her pad about every 3 hours during the day she would use 5 daytime pads. She would then put on a U by Kotex Nite and wear it for the other 8 hours. That usage would cost her $1.42 per day for her 5 day cycle. She has a period every 28 days, with 13 cycles each year. Using U by Kotex costs her budget a total of $92.30 per year.
Example – Natracare Organic Cotton Maxi pads:
Natracare Organic Cotton Maxi pads cost $5.49 for a package of 14 or .39 each. Natracare Night Time pads cost 5.99 for a pack of 10 or .59/each. If a woman changes her pad approximately every 3 hours, she will use 5 pads during the day and one nighttime pad each night. At that rate, she will use $2.54 per day for 5 days each cycle. She has a period every 28 days, so has 13 cycles each year. Using Natracare Organic Cotton pads will costs her budget $165.10 in just one year.
Example – Bluebird Organic Cloth Pads
Classic Essentials Kit: 8 Pads
Cost: $150 (if you aren’t local, shipping additional).
Why Bluebirds are Better:
I’ll be honest here. Bluebird Pads haven’t been around for 8 years (YET!), so we really don’t know how long they’ll last. We are currently in the process of “quickly aging” a set of pads by putting them through the wringer. Literally. Every time I do a load of laundry, I add them to the load and check off another box. Currently they are at wash #31 and they look the same as they did at wash #3!
Since 31 washes isn’t nearly 8 year’s worth, at this point I have to base my calculations on 1). The track record of other cloth pads and 2). The guarantees of my fabric suppliers.
Are you still with me? Let’s do this.
Here is what our suppliers say about the fabrics we chose for Bluebird Pads:
Organic Cotton (top layer, bottom layer & core): “With proper care, organic cotton will actually last longer than traditional cotton because it has not been subjected to chemicals such as formaldehyde and metals that inevitably alter the quality of the cotton.”
Waterproof Layer: “Quality, breathable, eco-friendly Polyester/Polyurethane beats generic PUL in the market with a duty cycle of 300+ washings.”
Our pads are unique in design and made to last. We have refined our technique for installing the snaps to ensure they last and have checked and re-checked our sewing process to make sure we stitch everything in a way that ensures durability and that our customers are purchasing a truly quality product.
We launched our website sales a few short months ago, but before that we spent countless hours sourcing the right fabrics, designing, testing our products and having other #superwomen test our products as well!
From all of that, we concluded (again, with all humility) that:
“YES! Our products are the highest quality, thinnest, most comfortable & absorbent reusable feminine pads out there!!!”
Back to our examples:
If you use your Bluebird Pads at the exact same rate as the disposable examples above (which is actually unlikely for the reasons described in Wear Cloth Pads: Why Your Body Will Thank You), your 8 Bluebird Pads will replace 390 disposable items in just one year. Each item will be washed 48.75 times in one year. That means your $150 investment will be paid off in 1 ½ years (if you use disposables like Kotex) and in less than a year if you are using organic disposables. The next 3 – 5 years are all a bonus! #reusablesforthewin!
And don’t forget….!
Do you use fewer disposables than in the above example? Then your Bluebird Pads will last even longer. Do you have a heavier flow so need a more expensive set than the one listed above? Well, then you are also spending substantially more on your disposables than the above example as well – so it will still even out in the end.
Take the chance.
I’m betting my business that Bluebird Pads are better for you, the planet AND your budget. Invest in reusables and then remove that $10 or $20 from your monthly necessities budget and put it towards your vacation savings!
We three ladies at Bluebird Pads want you to succeed with making the switch. We will do everything in our power to make your switch a success! So go for it. Ask your questions, do some research and then make it happen. Take the chance, make the change and #wearcloth.