FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions.

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The taboo

What is a taboo?

Generally when we say taboo, we mean something that we are forbidden or restricted to do or talk about due to social custom. Interestingly, the word taboo originates from the word ‘Tapua’ which translates from Polynesian directly as “menstruation” and “sacred”. So periods, a natural monthly occurrence for 50% of the world, are literally taboo.

Taboos don’t still exist here, do they?

Of course they do - if we are still too embarrassed to discuss menstruation with others, they must still exist. What about the taboo of menstrual waste? We have banned plastic bags in the UK, yet one pack of disposable pads contain the equivalent of 4 plastic bags in each one. What about the taboo surrounding education? Many women still don’t know about basic aspects of their menstruation or practices around it. For example, many don’t know you shouldn’t flush tampons because they cause major problems to sewage systems, but no one ever told them. Or what about the taboo of women and girls living in poverty in the UK not having the money to buy pads or tampons?

What do people believe around the world?

All cultures and communities have different beliefs and taboos which have been passed down from generation to generation. Many traditions centre around restrictions on food, practices with water and religious practices while women are on their period. Some of which can be found on our map.

Why are you doing education in the UK?

By talking to younger generations, we hope to remove the stigma around menstruation and help them consider it as the normal healthy process that it is. We hope to show that there are different options and to empower young people to make their own decisions around menstruation.

I don’t menstruate - why should I get involved?

You may not menstruate, but everyone has a mother, daughter, sister, aunty or friend that they care about who does. Society as a whole has created the taboos around menstruation, so we must all work together to break down these taboos. If we are all well educated about menstruation, we can be more empathetic and understand some of the issues better. We encourage all genders to engage with our education when working in developing countries and so do the same here in the UK.

Conventional pads and tampons aren’t that bad, are they?

Each pack of pads has the equivalent of 4 carrier bags worth of plastic in it, which takes over 500 years to biodegrade. In a lifetime, each person who menstruates creates 150kg of menstrual waste, contaminated with blood which gets sent to landfill. There is very little landfill left in the UK, so much of this waste is sent abroad to be sorted by hand.
Conventional pads and tampons are not regulated. Many sanitary products contain dangerous chemicals such as bleach and dioxins which are known as human carcinogens. There are currently no regulations over what feminine hygiene companies can put into their products and, therefore, consumers do not know what chemicals they are putting into their body.

Woman hands holding pink menstrual cup and OB - female hygiene products

The products

Why go reusable? Save money, save the environment and be healthier.
A menstrual cup lasts for approximately 10 years, in this time creating no waste.

A menstrual cup is compact and you only need one, it eliminates the embarrassment of running out of disposable products in a public place. It pays for itself in approximately 7 months, so you are saving money for the remaining 9 years of the product’s lifetime! Menstrual cups collect blood rather than absorb it and so only need to be changed every 12 hours. Menstrual cups create a vacuum seal, reducing the risk of leaks and offensive smells as blood only smells once exposed to air.

Contrary to what many believe, the menstrual cup is considered more comfortable than a tampon as it is made of medical grade silicon which, when heated by your body temperature, softens and moulds to the shape of your body. Compared to tampons, there is no risk of toxic shock syndrome, a serious medical emergency. Anecdotally, many women report less period pain and shorter period duration.

Reusable pads last for 2-5 years.

Environmentally, they produce little to no waste for this time. Additionally, reusable pads cause less irritation and are much more comfortable to wear than disposable products, as they are made of soft organic materials in comparison to plastic. They are easy to wash as can be washed with the rest of your laundry and you can get them in different shapes, sizes to suit your needs. Environmentally speaking, pads only last a maximum of 5 years and you need several of them.

How much money will I actually save by switching to a sustainable menstrual product?

The average UK woman spends between £65 and £95 per year on disposable sanitary products. That’s over £3500 in their lifetime.
The average woman menstruates for 37.5 years.
So, if you switch to a menstrual cup, you will need maximum 4 cups (as each one lasts 10 years), saving around £90 per year or £3400 over a lifetime.
If you switch to reusable pads, a set of 6 pads will cost approximately £40 (the set will last approximately 3 years), so you will save around £80 per year or £3000 over a lifetime.

Conventional pads and tampons aren’t that bad, are they?

Each pad has the equivalent of 4 carrier bags worth of plastic in it, which takes over 500 years to biodegrade. In a lifetime, each female creates 150kg of menstrual waste, contaminated with blood which gets sent to landfill. There is very little landfill left in the UK, so much of this waste is sent abroad to be sorted by hand.
Conventional pads and tampons are not regulated. Many sanitary products contain dangerous chemicals such as bleach and dioxins which are known as human carcinogens. There are currently no regulations over what feminine hygiene companies can put into their products and, therefore, consumers do not know what chemicals they are putting into their body.

Which is better - a menstrual cup or a pad?

It depends on your personal preference, whichever feels most comfortable. It’s good to experiment. If you are used to using conventional pads and not tampons, then the pads may be better or vice versa for tampons and cups. Environmentally speaking, pads only last a maximum of 2 years and you need several of them, meaning there is still some waste. However they are made of natural materials which can biodegrade and can often be sourced locally. Menstrual cups mean a large reduction in your waste as they last for 10 years. However, they are made out of medical grade silicon which can take a long time to degrade.

Is VAT charged on menstrual products?

Unfortunately, in the UK VAT tax remains at 5% on all sanitary products (including reusable products). This is a contentious issue as - although it was lowered from the standard 17.5% in 2000 - many, us among them, are unhappy that sanitary products are classed as ‘non-essential, luxury items’. Especially as men’s razors, helicopters and exotic meats are VAT exempt. We support Stop Taxing Periods campaign. Since the start of the campaign, the Government have vowed to stop this by 2018, but we are yet to see this become reality.

What are your delivery times?

We aim to process all orders within 3 working days. We send our parcels by Royal Mail second class, which means they should be with you in a further 2 to 3 working days. We will let you know when your item has been shipped. As a very small organisation, we may occasionally take longer than this, for example if someone is on annual leave or off sick. This may also be the case, if we need to order in from the supplier as we do not keep high levels of stock on site. We do aim to keep you informed if there is a delay by email. Occasionally, things get lost or delayed in the post, we cannot follow up a claim with Royal Mail until it has been 10 working days since it was shipped. Please get in contact if you think your parcel is lost.

The Social Enterprise

Are you a charity?

No, we are not a charity but 100% of our profits are donated to charitable projects to help women living in poverty manage their menstruation. As we are a social enterprise, unlike a charity, we will have a steady income stream from sales, but unlike a business we have the unique selling point that you receive a great product which saves you money alongside giving to charity.

So you are a business?

Yes, we are a business. Legally a company limited by guarantee, which means we have no shareholders and our profits must go to a cause helping to empower women around the topics of menstruation and sanitation. We aim to be clear and transparent about all of our accounting and governance. Our registered company number is 09452204.

How much from each product actually goes to charitable causes?

We aim to cover all of our overheads from our revenue from sales. Any surplus will go directly into our projects helping to Tackle Period Poverty both in the UK and overseas. That is 100% of our profits. This means we recieve about £6 per cup and £2 per pad.

Why should I buy from you and not directly from the supplier?

We currently do not sell any “No More Taboo” exclusive products, we believe there are a great number of companies selling fantastic products who do not get enough attention, so we retail their products.

The difference between buying from us and buying directly from the supplier is that all of our profits are invested directly into charitable projects working in developing countries and the UK.

Is there anyone else doing this?

Although there are many sustainable sanitary product manufacturers, none of them are directing 100% of their profits into charitable projects.

Are you trying to inflict ‘western views’ on cultures/religions who have practices around menstruation?

It is unclear where the roots of many of the taboos/rituals in different cultures stemmed from. Often they are not related to religion in any way. We would never promote work which we felt was culturally insensitive and we will always work with local partners to understand beliefs and taboos.

For example, in a culture where the tradition is for complete female isolation during their period, we may work to see how we can help the women feel more comfortable during this time by providing proper shelter, toilet and washing facilities, opportunities for education whilst in isolation and appropriate sanitary materials. We are promoting women’s rights and environmental consciousness, we are not promoting ‘westernisation’.

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