Menstruation may be a natural bodily function, but more often than not, it involves a lot of disposable items ending up in the landfill site.
Lady Crimson Cloth Emporium, a local business started in 2017, aims to prevent some of those used pads, tampons and applicators from heading to the dump (or worse yet, into the sewer system).
Business owner Sophie Prisque said the idea for the business came when she decided not to return to work after her maternity leave ended.
Because she and her husband were looking to cut costs wherever they could, Prisque decided to make her own reusable cloth menstrual pads after watching an online DIY video.
Given she had used cloth diapers on her son, reusable menstrual pads weren't actually that much of a foreign concept.
“I just started kind of talking to my friends, and that's how it basically started,” Prisque said. “Friends and family supported me, and it just bloomed, and I had to turn it into a business.”
The pads come in a variety of fun colours and patterns — a look at the business' Instagram reveals she's even made pads with an “Outlander” theme.
They're sold in a range of sizes, accommodating even the heaviest flow. They range in price from about $8 to $20, depending on size and the materials used.
The pads, held onto underwear with snaps, consist of three layers.
There's a top layer of cotton or another absorbent fabric, a middle layer of a super-absorbent, high-tech, Canadian-made fabric called Zorb that can absorb up to 20 times its weight, and a bottom layer of fleece.
Prisque recommends that users soak soiled pads in water with OxyClean, machine wash and air dry.
“Sudbury is amazing,” Prisque said about the response to her business, adding that some women even tell her after a purchase that they can't wait for their periods to start — high praise indeed.
“I can't thank everybody enough. It's kind of surreal to think that this many women are supporting and making the switch, and then telling their friends, and they're coming in.”
The benefits to the environment are immense when it comes to switching to reusable menstrual products, such as cloth pads or menstrual cups, Prisque said.
“To put it in perspective, the first-ever tampon or disposable pad is still in the landfill,” she said, adding that most of the components of these products are not biodegradable. “These came out in the '50s and '60s and they're still there …
“So there's millions and millions of women around the world, and those landfills are just being filled by our disposable products, and it's not necessary.”
Prisque said she's been approached by older women, who have told her Lady Crimson Cloth Emporium is actually a throwback to how they dealt with their periods in their youth, before disposables became prevalent.
Beyond menstrual products, the business also sells a number of other reusable products including bowl covers, beeswax wraps and bags, bamboo toothbrushes, straws and even reusable toilet paper (yes, you read that correctly).
“I think just overall, waste-free products, eco-friendly type products are on a rising trend,” Prisque said.
If you'd like to check out her products, Prisque is currently at the Sudbury Spring Market at the Southridge Mall every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will also have a booth at the downtown farmer's market starting in June.
You can also purchase her products through her website, ladycrimsonclothemporium.ca.