Bloom & Nora Menstrual Pads

overall rating:

2.75

planets

Beth Wilson
8/2/2021
No items found.

During her menstruating years one woman can use up to 10,000 products, most of which end up in landfill. Considering that they will still be there around 500 years from now, it’s alarming. To make matters worse, the ones that don’t end up in landfill, often end up on our beautiful shores. In 2013 the Marine Conservation Society held a beach clean across 96.7km of UK coast-line. They collected 428 tampons and tampon applicators per 4.4km and 1291 sanitary pads, panty liners and backing strips per 13.3km! In addition, the process of manufacturing these products i.e. turning wood pulp into soft, cotton-like fibres, is both resource and chemical intensive. Studies carried out by women’s health organisations in the US have found a range of toxins, dioxins and carcinogens present in tampons. Bloom&Nora is Oeko-Tex certified free from harmful chemicals.

I think the price of the products is also well judged - it is low enough that it is affordable and will work out much cheaper than using disposable equivalents, whilst being high enough that people will think twice before buying many more than needed.

What it's made of:

2.5

Surface - Bamboo or Polyamide

Waterproof layer - Recycled plastic bottles

Core - Polyester

One line of pads, the "Bloomers", has a surface layer made from bamboo fleece whereas all other products use polyamide for the surface layer. Most of the world’s bamboo comes from China, where regulations are lax and fertilisers, pesticides and deforestation may be used to maximize outputs. The processing of raw bamboo into soft fabric is also chemically polluting in general. There is no information available on where Bloom&Nora’s bamboo is sourced so it’s probably Chinese. However, Bloom&Nora were the first brand to manufacture all their waterproof fabrics from 100% recycled plastic and they sell recycled plastic washbags, as well as re-useable wipes, which I think outweigh the downsides of using bamboo and synthetic materials. 

How it's made:

2.75

Polyamide is made from a certain monomer extracted from crude oil and then processed in an energy and water intensive way, and depending on the manufacturer this can be a polluting process. Polyester is made in a similar way. There’s no information about this brand’s polyamide or polyester manufacture processes.

This probably doesn’t sound like it deserves 2.75 but I’ve given it this rating because these products directly replace disposable sanitary towels - which would get a negative rating if that was possible. See this review for an example of some of the issues https://www.voizreviews.com/review/tampax-radiant-tampons 

Bloom&Nora products are delivered to customers via Royal Mail which means the shipping has a very low carbon footprint compared with delivery services like DPD (within the UK). There’s no mention of what packaging is used on the website so I’ve assumed the worst - single-use plastic. 

Who makes it:

3

All products are made in the UK which legally ensures good working conditions. Since this is a small family business, they are involved with each stage of the supply chain and don’t outsource. The sister company, TotsBots, even has a Youtube video available: “Take a peek inside our factory” for ultimate transparency. (The factory is probably the same as is used for Bloom&Nora.)