Washable sanitary products: motivation and subsidies

Trucs au quotidien Zéro déchet


washable sanitary products

There's nothing new under the sun: feminine hygiene products are clearly highly polluting when used once!

Personally, I've been using menstrual cups and washable sanitary towels for over a decade.

Not only is it good for the environment, but it's much more comfortable than the mass-produced alternatives.

Good for the environment?

It's estimated that a woman will use an average of 10,000 menstrual products in her lifetime. Sounds excessive? Let's do the math:

  • A woman menstruates on average from age 13 to age 50: 33 years
  • Average number of menstrual cycles per year: 13
  • Number of tampons and/or sanitary pads used per cycle: 22

So, 33x13X22= 9438! 9438 disposable products!

When you consider that single-use sanitary pads are made from plastic (not to mention other chemicals!) and that they take up to 500 years to degrade in our landfills, it's easy to see why this is no small gesture.

What about the cost to my wallet?

The BBC has put together a calculation tool to assess the financial cost of single-use sanitary pads over a woman's lifetime. According to their tool, the cost of buying these products would be around $3,000!

As for reusable products, we haven't found any data on the subject, but we're willing to play along.

reusable washable sanitary pads

For those who only use washable sanitary pads. Let's start from the following premise:

  • A woman menstruates for 33 years, and each sanitary pad lasts an average of 6 years (and often more!).
  • Let's also remember that she needs 22 sanitary pads. So she'll have to buy about 5 times 22 washable sanitary towels in her lifetime (remember we used to say 10,000 single-use!). So an approximate total of 110 washable sanitary towels for a lifetime.
  • At $11.50 per washable towel, that's 110X$11.50=$1265.

 The difference is a savings of $1,735!


menstruel cup Diva cup

 For those who use menstrual cups and washable sanitary pads.

  • Menstrual cups range from $15 to $50. So we're going to go with an average price of $30 here. A menstrual cup will probably last 5 years. A woman will therefore have to buy 6 in the course of her life, for a total of just over $180.
  • Most women will also use sanitary pads for the first few days of menstruation or at night. In my experience, 6 are more than enough. A woman will therefore buy 6 times 6 sanitary napkins at $11.50, for a total of $414.
  • The total cost of the two types of purchase for a woman will therefore be $584.

The difference is a savings of $2,416!

We also have two other pieces of good news!

The first is that menstrual products are not taxable! That's how it is in Quebec!

The second is that several municipalities (not yet enough for our taste!) have set up a subsidy system for the purchase of reusable sanitary products.

Without wishing to be exhaustive - and you can add others in the comments - here's a list of the municipalities concerned:

  • Boisbriand
  • Contrecoeur
  • Chambly
  • Mascouche
  • Montreal: Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Côte-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, Pointe-aux-Trembles & Rivière-des-Prairies, Pointe-Claire and Sud-Ouest
  • Marguerite D'Youville RCM
  • Prévost
  • Repentigny
  • Saguenay
  • St-Amable
  • St-Jean-Sur-Le-Richelieu
  • Varenne
  • Valleyfield

Your municipality doesn't offer it? Ask for it. The more citizens who do, the better your chances of access.

Our boutique offers several models of washable and reusable sanitary pads and menstrual cups.

Ecologically yours,

eco loco


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