It’s estimated a woman will use somewhere between five to fifteen thousand sanitary pads and tampons in her pre-menopausal lifetime, each item created with and packaged in plastic. This equates to over 45 billion single-use period products being thrown in the bin annually, with National Geographic recently likening one pack of pads to the equivalent of four plastic bags.
While plastic’s presence seems as unavoidable as chronic cramps and hormonal acne, a plastic-free period is now possible thanks to brands like Modibodi. At first, it might feel like you’re “going commando,” but you’re not without protection. Modibodi have revolutionised the monthly cycle and removed sanitary waste from the equation entirely by offering consumers an alternative to traditional sanitary products: period undies.
Modibodi founder and CEO Kristy Chong explains she was motivated to find solutions to sanitary waste because “now has never been a more important time to seek more sustainable practices for everyday life”.
While she concedes most women have likely relied on items like pads, tampons and liners since puberty, by Modibodi’s estimates, if 100,000 people pledged to go plastic-free from the beginning to the end of their cycle, it would prevent 11 billion single-use hygiene products ending up in landfill — the equivalent to 1.5 million garbage bags of waste.
Chong launched the reusable hygiene business in 2013 after spending two years developing the environmentally friendly, leak-proof fibre-technology required for underwear that could handle menstruation. Designed to hold up to 20ml of fluid, the underwear can sustain the equivalent liquid it takes four tampons to absorb and boasts an average lifespan of two years for each pair of underwear.
For first-timers, reusable sanitary items may seem like an oxymoron, but Chong describes the comfort a pair of her underwear affords. “Each pair of undies is equipped with antimicrobial properties and keeps you ‘dry’, so you’re not feeling like you’re sitting around in a nappy,” she explains. “You can add them to your normal wash after use and they will come out completely refreshed – no special care needed.”
While their products make things less complex to manage, there’s no denying that when you’re first navigating menstruation things can still feel overwhelming. Enter the new Modibodi RED Sleep Short: a comfortable boy leg designed with teens in mind that’s perfect to wear to bed.
Obviously, you don’t need to be in high school to benefit from The Sleep Short. But it’s cool to find out they were created to help young people manage their first periods (because we know in those early years you can use all the support you can get).
Also, they assist people in starting their zero waste period practices early. For context: one person using reusable leakproof underwear from the beginning of their menstruation saves the equivalent of 15 garbage bags full of rubbish ending up in landfill. Scale that up, and the numbers are astounding.
Chong wants to use her brand and revolutionary products to provide a long-term solution to the single-use economy of sanitary items. Waste aside, her underwear-armed mission is also motivated by a simple factor: that people feel better when they use these undies.
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