Organic tampons and pads have to meet strict rules around what they’re made of and how they are processed. That doesn’t mean they’re all created equal, as we discovered during our quest for effective and safe tampons.
We looked for the following specs:
- Tampons and pads that work (advertisers call this ‘protection’).
- Must be non-toxic. Most conventional tampons and pads are made with rayon which is super absorbent but it’s bleached with chlorine and dioxin, which is a carcinogen, is a byproduct of chlorine.
This narrowed it down to three certified organic brands – Natracare, TOM Organic and Moxie.
This brand blazed a trail for organic tampons long before anyone else, back in 1989. The organic tampons and pads come in the range of sizes you would expect (including an applicator range).
Functionality Natracare holds up well with the exception of a wardrobe malfunction when adhesive from a pad stuck a little too well, leaving a favourite pair of knickers with glue on them. The pads tend to be a little stiff.
Price 20 regular tampons, $8
Availability Natracare is usually only available in health, organic or wholefood stores. So unless you regularly shop at these stores they’re not the most convenient to buy.
TOM Organic (Time Of The Month) is an Australian company, which hit the Australian tampon and pad market in a big way. Having developed the company in her early 20s, founder Aimee Marks, has received as much attention as the products she makes.
TOM’s gorgeous wistful illustrations on its packets almost takes the cringe out of reaching for tampons in the supermarket. Their packaging has surely helped their popularity. TOM is certified by Australian Certified Organic.
Functionality No issues
Price 16 regular tampons $7
Availability Good. Available in Coles and Woolworths
This brand is the newest on the organic tampon and pad block. Moxie is an Australian company and, like TOM, it’s not shying away from looking pretty placing a lot of emphasise on standing out from the crowd in candy-coloured packets and tins – yes tins.
As quirky and cute as this might be for a one-off purchase, Sustainable Shopper thinks this is a strike against Moxie’s environmental-friendliness given how often we buy tampons – it’s unnecessary and non renewable packaging.
It’s done some innovative marketing like powder room make overs bathrooms in venues and with a tagline like ‘Inside every good woman’, it’s taking ‘feminine hygiene’ out of the closet.
Moxie products are also certified organic by Australian Certified Organic; however it doesn’t appear the certifier has approved the entire process from growing to manufacture, just the actual cotton.
What was surprising and concerning about Moxie tampons is that while they are predominately made of certified organic cotton, they have a polyethylene cover. Polyethylene is a common plastic and used in plastic films – it helps to hold the tampon together.
As an aside, polyethylene is acceptable by organic standards. This is because there is no evidence that it’s harmful to human health. Perhaps it’s also because the organic standard was originally written for food and agricultural products, so allowing plastic in organic tampons is just a loophole that the standards haven’t caught up with.
Credit to Moxie though for donating reusable, cloth pads to girls in Uganda who would otherwise miss school when they have their period because they don’t have adequate pads to use. Fabulous initiative.
Functionality No issues with the pads
Price 16 regular tampons $6
Availability Mostly only available in chemists
Sustainable Shopper recommends
Due to the purity of ingredients and how well they work, TOM Organic tampons are definitely the winners. Because they support girls in Africa, we would comfortably buy Moxie pads.
Alyse Co-cliff’s blog about organic tampons versus conventional is a great read.
We can’t talk about green periods without mentioning colourful, jersey cotton pads. Australian company Rad Pads has been making cloth pads forever and believe us, they do last forever! They’re perfect to use when you’re hanging around home or when you’re going somewhere you can’t accumulate rubbish – camping or visiting remote communities.