FAQs: ORGANIC COTTON PRODUCTS

Mainstream brands tend not to list their ingredients, as they’re often made from non-breathable, non-biodegradable manmade or synthetic fibres.

Unlike mainstream brands, every &SISTERS product is made with pure, natural, ethically sourced ingredients, and all of our 100% organic cotton is Soil Association certified.

Organic cotton is naturally soft, pH-neutral, breathable and absorbent.

Unlike most commercially grown cotton, our 100% organic cotton is grown without the use of fertilisers, herbicides & pesticides.

Always use the tampon with the lowest absorbency to meet your needs. You might find that it helps to use different absorbency levels throughout your period – most women find that their flow is heavier in the first few days.

Please use the following chart to help you select the most appropriate absorbency to meet your needs.

No. The term ‘naked’ refers to the fact that the tampons are free from all artificial chemicals. No nasties, jist 100% certified natural organic cotton. The tampons come wrapped in a recyclable PP5 polypropylene film wrap (‘bioplastic’). Around 13% of households have kerbside film collections and all major supermarkets have front of store recycling collection points.

Preserving the planet’s resources is at the heart of our business. We know that non-organic cotton has earned itself a bad reputation as a ‘dirty crop’, so we only use 100% organic cotton, grown and certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards (the gold standard for the sustainable processing of products made from organically grown fibres). We take organic cotton seriously, and our 100% organic cotton is grown without the use of fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading governing body for organic textiles like cotton. GOTS certification ensures our cotton is pure, ethically sourced and made without chemical pesticides, forced labour, child labour, or unfair wages.

Chlorine bleaching creates a byproduct called dioxin. This poses serious problems for the environment and for women’s health. Dioxin is a known carcinogen and leaves detectable residuals in products bleached with any type of chlorine bleach. In sanitary and personal care products, this type of bleaching unnecessarily exposes women to low levels of dioxins every time they use these products. Dioxin then settles in the fat cells of humans and wildlife, building up cumulatively over time from birth. Given the number of tampons potentially used in a lifetime, increased exposure to dioxin means increased risk.

Unlike conventional feminine hygiene products, &SISTERS is Totally Chlorine Free. We use an oxygen bleaching process from hydrogen peroxide, which releases no toxins into the environment. Using a water and oxygen process to destroy any bacteria in our organic cotton or pulp, results in a pure white material ready to make tampons, pads and panty liners.

Watch out for ‘Chlorine Free’ bleaching too, as some of these ‘Chlorine Free’ methods still include chlorine dioxide. Totally Chlorine Free is a certified method to avoid toxic chemicals and byproducts.

Yes! All &SISTERS organic cotton period products are compostable and biodegradable.

&SISTERS period products are plastic free unlike conventional pads, tampons and panty liners which are often made from up to 90% crude oil plastics.

Every woman can use up to 17,000 period products during her lifetime, so avoiding sending these to landfill drastically improves your carbon footprint and goes towards helping save the planet.

Composting organic cotton pads and tampons is easy:

  1. Create the correct conditions (i.e. damp and warm) by making a well-sealed compost bin and adding to it regularly. Using a properly enclosed bin is also keeps vermin away.
  2. Ensure your compost has a good balance of green and brown compost
    • Green compost includes veggie peelings and grass cuttings etc. – softer, damper stuff that breaks down relatively quickly.
    • Brown compost involves fibrous stuff like cardboard and pruning clippings, as well as organic cotton tampons, pads and liners which will take longer to biodegrade than ‘green’ compost.
  3. To speed up the composting process, it’s a good idea to break up the pads and liners by hand (or with scissors) before putting them in the compost bin. Ideally, separate the backing layer which holds a small amount of adhesive – this can be composted too.
  4. Pat yourself on the back for choosing period products that won’t contribute to landfill.

Be patient. It takes 2+ years for period products to break down completely and return all the building blocks of nature back into the soil to continue the cycle for future plant growth.

 

Gynaecologists agree that 100% organic cotton pads (such as those sold by &SISTERS) are more hygienic and comfortable to use than any other material. Cotton is hypoallergenic, softer and more absorbent than wood pulp (also known as viscose). The absorbent part of most period pads is made from wood pulp, also known as viscose. Wood pulp is not inherently toxic or polluting, but it’s responsible for mass deforestation around the world. Much of the viscose on the market today is manufactured cheaply with processes that are highly intensive when it comes to energy, water and chemicals. This has a devastating impact on workers, local communities and the environment. .

We love bamboo and looked into producing pads made entirely of bamboo, but unfortunately the absorbency just wasn’t there. To counter this, manufacturers of ‘bamboo’ pads actually use wood pulp to provide the absorbency that natural bamboo fibres lack, so we decided not to pursue this. But, never say never – perhaps a truly eco-friendly bamboo pad will come along in the future, and we’ll be the first to let you know! 

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At the moment, the only product containing plastic is our naked tampon, with a ‘environmentally safe’ polypropylene (PP5) wrapper. This is considered to have the least environmental impact of plastics, and it is 100% recyclable. About 13% of UK households have kerbside collection, and nearly all supermarkets have collection bins, making it easy for you to maximise your leak protection while minimising your carbon footprint.

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Here at &SISTERS, we don’t particularly like the words ‘regular’ or ‘normal’ as they imply there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to have a period, when in fact it can normal to have a light flow, heavy flow and every flow in between.

We aim to challenge the status quo and instead help you choose the right very light, light, medium or heavy absorbency for you, based on these guidelines:

 

We believe that the feminine care industry is an industry in the dark ages. The average woman uses over 10,000 tampons in a lifetime, but manufacturers of intimate feminine hygiene products such as tampons are not required to disclose their ingredients.

Unfortunately, this means that the majority of tampons today contain potentially harmful synthetic materials, pesticide residues (commonly used to grow non-organic cotton), and toxic chemicals such as dioxin, which is a byproduct of the mainstream tampon bleaching process. These ingredients have all been linked to cancers, infertility, and other reproductive illnesses such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.

Our 100% organic cotton period products take us out of the dark ages and into the present – we never cut corners and your wellbeing is always our first priority.

The simple answer is that no tampon should be flushed down the toilet, although apparently half of women do this regularly.

Our 100% cotton tampons are biodegradable, but they do require time to break down and don’t disperse instantly as is the case with toilet paper. As our tampons are made from natural cotton (plant based), they are suitable for composting and do biodegrade in septic tanks.

As the journey from our toilet to the sewage works is relatively quick and there are often tight bends and narrow areas, only toilet paper should be disposed of down the loo.

Of course, if our cotton tampons were to be accidentally disposed of at sea, then they will break down, disperse and they wouldn’t harm marine or bird life, unlike conventional tampons with plastic veils.

TSS is a rare but serious disease that can be fatal. It is caused by toxins produced by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Symptoms of TSS often mimic flu & can include a sudden high fever (usually over 39°C), vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle aches, a sun burn like rash, sore throat, dizziness &/or fainting.

It may be that not all symptoms are present, only a few. If you believe that you have one of more of the symptoms of TSS, remove your tampon immediately & contact your doctor, informing them that you have been using tampons.

TSS can occur during your period or some days after & although TSS can have fatal consequences it can be easily treated at an early stage. It is therefore important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

You can reduce the risk of TSS by using tampons with the lowest absorbency necessary, by changing your tampon regularly & by alternating with pads, liners or a menstrual cup instead of tampons.

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