Q&A with Natracare
Natracare was launched by Susie Hewson in 1989, creating the world’s first period products designed to protect the health of people who menstruate and the environment. Natracare’s award winning organic pads, liners, tampons and wipes are made with natural materials, free from plastics, perfumes and chlorine to ensure there are no harsh, irritating ingredients or materials next to your skin.
We spoke with Eleanor from Natracare to find out more about the brand!
- Can you tell us your name and role at Natracare?
Eleanor Hunt – Sales & Marketing Executive
- Describe Natracare in three words
Sustainable, inclusive, pioneering.
- How is Natracare different?
Periods are completely natural and we’re big believers that our period products should be too. That’s why our products are made without plastic or synthetic materials. Instead, we choose organic and natural materials that are breathable, absorbent, and compostable, like soft organic cotton and ecologically certified plant cellulose.
Not only do we make natural and sustainable products, we also invest in the future of our planet. In 2019, we became the first period brand to join 1% for the Planet. As members, every year we donate 1% of our annual turnover to environmental NGOs around the world tackling some of our planet’s biggest challenges.
This year (2021) we’ve partnered with Bristol-based campaigning organisation City to Sea to educate the nation about the severity of hidden plastics in period products and empower people with ‘environmenstrual’ alternatives. We’re excited to announce that 10p from every pack of Natracare plastic-free applicator tampons sold in the UK will go to City to Sea. This comes as part our 1% for the Planet commitment and will help to support City to Sea’s education, lobbying, and campaigning in 2021.
- Tell us something we may not know about Natracare
We’ve been in the business of making period products better for our bodies and the planet for a long time now – over 30 years in fact! You may be surprised to know that Natracare was the first period brand in the world to make tampons out of organic cotton. Our founder and owner, Susie Hewson, spent years researching the best raw materials and processing methods, which led her to build her own brand. Natracare was the first alternative brand to the harsh chemical and plastic-filled products on the market, which at the time were the only options available.
In 2019, we became the first period brand to be certified with the Plastic Free Mark for our packaging, and earlier this year for our pads and applicator tampons.
- To someone who has not used Natracare’s products before, what would you say?
It’s never too late to revolutionise your period. Whether you’ve been having periods for years or you’ve just started, there’s never been a better time to choose period products that are more sustainable and kinder to your body. And going green doesn’t have to mean compromising on performance. Our products work just like the conventional brands you might be used to, but ours make you feel comfortably protected without the use of plastics, perfumes, dyes and chlorine bleaching.
- How important is it to switch to plastic free and eco-friendly menstrual products?
Many period products are made from non-biodegradable materials that can take up to 500 years to breakdown, meaning most period products will live longer than us! Even when these products do breakdown, they simply turn into micro plastics that continue to pollute our Earth. Period products are the fifth most common item found washed up on Europe’s beaches, with 3.9 million flushed down the loo every day in the UK. Flushed period products pose a huge risk to marine life and the health of our oceans (you should only ever flush the 3 Ps: pee, paper, and poop!).
Choosing plastic free period products is a small change that makes a huge difference. You’re not only taking ownership of your period protection, you’re also taking ownership of the protection of our planet when you’re on your period.
- Can you tell us about any exciting campaigns that Natracare is a part of?
Over the last 30 years we’ve campaigned for better periods for all. Unfortunately, there’s still some way to go until everyone feels included in the period conversation. We want to change that. This year we launched a new campaign, Rename Don’t Shame, calling on supermarkets to change the language they use when signposting period products. We want retailers to move away from outdated terms like ‘feminine hygiene’ and ‘sanitary products’ to call period products what they are – period products! Avoiding the word ‘period’ creates shame around this natural bodily function. Phrases like ‘feminine care’ assume that all people who have periods are feminine, when in fact many trans men and non-binary people can have periods too.
We think it’s important to support and platform the marginalised voices in the period conversation, so we’ve collaborated with some amazing trans and non-binary creators on our first zine all about gender and periods – click here to read or download Shades of Red – The Gender Issue.
- What would you say is one of Natracare’s biggest goals?
No matter what the reason is for switching to organic and natural products – whether it’s for your intimate health or for concerns over plastic pollution – we want everyone to have access to period care that puts people and planet first. We also want to empower people with the knowledge to help them make sustainable choices. With so much information out there (and a lot of greenwashing), it can be hard to know what’s ethical and sustainable and what isn’t. Through our campaigns, we want to equip consumers with the facts and encourage change.
- Why are natural period products good for us, not just for our planet?
Plastic isn’t a breathable material and can create a sweaty and uncomfortable environment when kept in close contact with intimate skin. Many people suffer from intimate irritations around the time of their period, and this could be down to the period products they use. In fact, many of our customers tell us this! Many conventional period products are also made from a cocktail of unnecessary ingredients like perfumes, dyes and chlorine bleaching, which can further irritate intimate skin. Natural and organic period products are free from chemicals of concern, pesticide residues and allergens. Our products are made from a few simple, natural materials that are soft on skin and allow it to breathe.
- What is your go-to positive quote?
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.