A sustainable solution to period hygiene

Few women enjoy “that time of the month”. The cramps, raging hormones, cravings and general discomfort makes those days our least favourite. Single-use sanitary products like pads and tampons, though effective, hurt the environment. Silicone menstrual cups and rings have offered an antidote to the pollution problem, but aren’t for everyone. Now “period panties” are available across Mr Price stores in South Africa at R149.99 each. 

They fit like snug undies and don’t look that much bulkier: the panties are made up of four layers of different materials and can hold up to 50ml of fluid, compared to a tampon which can hold up to 12ml. Depending on your flow, you can wear them almost all day, and you don’t need to wear a pad or tampon. They are hand and machine washable and can be used for up to two years. In a country where lack of access to sanitary products often sees girls missing out on school, this could be a helpful intervention – not to mention the environmental benefit. Plastic and non-compostable materials in period products can take hundreds of years to decompose. 😳

Not all brands are getting it right on women, though. Local alcohol delivery service Wine Time has come under fire for an advert on the side of a van. It depicts a woman with her mouth agape, having a bottle of wine poured down her throat. Two complainants took the delivery service to SA’s Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB), saying the advert “objectified and sexualised women” adding that representing women in this way perpetuates rape culture in SA. The ARB ruled in favour of the complainants saying the ad was in breach of their standards while also highlighting the dangerous relationship between high alcohol consumption and gender-based violence in South Africa. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 31 March  2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.