This feature is part of the NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network, ‘Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices’ series. Written by Deirdre Kennedy who reflects on her journey to reduce the amount of plastic waste generate in her home. Giving a number of practical examples she has adopted to reduce her plastic usage.
As a woman I feel a huge responsibility for the amount of plastic waste that we as a gender generate every month. As the mother of four girls and two boys there was a huge amount of waste leaving our house every week.
One of the easiest changes that we as women can make is in our personal care. On the shelf sanitary wear is almost completely made from plastic and like nappies these take hundreds of years to breakdown in landfill.
A great substitute for sanitary towels is cloth sanitary protection( CSP) these are so comfortable and absorbent and come in varying sizes and shapes and in the long term a money saving investment, most will last 10 years if you have a large bundle in rotation, or 5 years in a smaller bundle.
If you are a user of tampons then you may be interested in a Menstrual cup, If you have never heard of these before they are a medical grade silicone that is shaped like a small egg cup it is used in the same way as a tampon.
When I discovered the menstrual cup it was like an epiphany for me I truly felt like I had been freed from the shackles of my period. It is so handy and liberating not having to carry around pads and tampons. The cup can just be removed, emptied into the toilet, wiped or washed in the sink and reinserted it is really that simple. Women who have used CSP and menstrual cups for a few months have also reported less painful periods.
Being responsible for most of the products that come into my home and the waste management of it leaving, made me realise that there was so much more that I could do to reduce our use of plastic.
I started using cloth nappies and cloth baby wipes, cloth breast pads, Cloth make up removers, Re-useable cloths in the kitchen in the place of kitchen roll (cut up old towels or t-shirts), cloths for washing in the shower or bath. All these items can be rinsed in a cold wash and then washed in the washing machine at 60 °C using biological powder and they will be pristine ready for reusing.
There is a huge amount of other changes that can be made by humans in order to reduce our use of plastic. These, that I listed above are just small changes that anyone can make not only will you see a huge reduction in the waste that leaves your house but you will also feel that you have made a big difference to the future of our planet.
Deirdre practical tips to help reduce your plastic usage
Did you know it is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? To find out more about this global movement check out the https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ website.
 2018 Europa Report https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/EDN-20180422-1?inheritRedirect=true
 Irish Times https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/half-of-young-irish-women-struggling-to-afford-sanitary-products-study-finds-1.3534683