We are living in a time where we are becoming ever more conscious about sustainability; from reducing the sheer amount of single use plastics that we use, to cleaner air emissions, and the crazy rate of fast fashion. Seeing others lead the way in this movement has really made me question more and more, what I am doing to help leave a better footprint.
I was recently introduced to WUKA (Wake Up, Kick Ass) which is the UK’s first and only company that produces sustainable sanitary underwear, that can replace traditional sanitary products. I was instantly intrigued by the concept of this, and what they claimed their underwear could do. As a teacher, we are seeing greater rates of period poverty; and as a mother to two little girls, I am ever more conscious about my decisions and the impact these have on our planet.
After a roller coaster ride with the coil, I made the decision to have it removed; this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try WUKA’s underwear. I have endometriosis and adenomyosis, which can leave me struggling to do my day-to-day job as a teacher for one week, every month. WUKA’s underwear comes with a strong statement, “Wear up to 8 hours on light days, 4-6 hours on your heavy days or all night,” and holds “around 4 tampons worth.” (Heavy Flow). I would be lying if I didn’t say I was somewhat skeptical at these statements.
I was fully expecting their underwear to be chunky, non discrete, and potentially uncomfortable; what I received was completely different. They were very soft and flexible, discrete, only marginally thicker than a usual pair of pants and incredibly comfortable. At this point, I became even more skeptical. They didn’t feel too different to a regular pair of pants, but they came with such a strong statement; how could they possibly hold so much?
Each pair of WUKA pants are made from four layers of fabric; the inner and outer fabrics are made from soft, breathable, moisture wicking and luxurious Lenzing ® MicroModal fabric. The central layers include an absorbent layer that is uniquely used in their underwear to absorb blood and interlock it; and the leak proof layer prevents blood from passing through the underwear but still allows airflow, maintaining its breathablity.
I used the WUKA pants for two cycles before writing this post; the first time was post coil removal and I had nothing but positive things to say about them – my cycle was lighter than usual so I wanted to try them again. After using them twice, I was completely stunned at how well they work; not only were they very comfortable to wear, they did the job…and they did it very well! All of my concerns and fears were short lived, and I found I quickly had confidence in the underwear’s ability to do its job. I thought switching from disposable products would prove to be a challenge; I’ve been used to the convenience of them; and now I would be required to be organised, washing and drying the underwear daily. As a mum to two young children, we have the washing on constantly, so I fell into a routine instantly. I would wash the underwear (machine washed at 40°) in the evening, allowing them to air dry overnight. I was again surprised at how easy and convenient they were to wash. Even if you don’t usually have washing on daily, a quick evening wash at 40° is all they need. You then leave them to dry whilst you’re sleeping (I recommend leaving them somewhere warm to ensure they are dry by the morning if you’ve washed them late into evening).
Using these made me reevaluate what I had been using up until this point. Like so many, I had happily been using disposable products. But the more I looked into it, the more I shocked; these products are a necessity, so I never really paid much attention to the cost they accumulate over time, or the sheer amount of waste produced. For me, I usually spend around £25 per month on sanitary products; which works out at around £300 per year. In terms of waste; over 1 year I dispose of approximately 950-1050 items, none of which are recyclable. Over my lifetime, I will spend upwards of £11.5k, and will dispose of approximately 35.5k items. If you multiply the number of items by the female population, it is a shocking statistic.
So, what are my overall thoughts?
After using them for two cycles, I am incredibly impressed. Not only do they live up to their strong statements, they’re really comfortable too. They’re easy to clean, and just as convenient to use as the regular disposable items. There is an initial cost, but these pants are designed to last for at least two years, meaning money is saved in the long run. WUKA also sell a bundle pack of their pants, which works out cheaper than buying individual pairs.
But one thing I really liked about using these pants, was the conversations I have had with people. Although my mum is a midwife, I have always been very closed about my periods; it is not something I have ever felt comfortable talking about. But using these has made me talk much more openly, breaking that taboo. From family, to friends, male or female; I have spoken with almost everybody! Each time, receiving the same reaction; curiosity. Which led to more and more conversations.
It is safe to say, that these pants have change my views on disposable products. If you’re thinking of trying them out, but you don’t want to completely part with your usual sanitary products; I would recommend purchasing a pair; testing them out over a couple of cycles. It might take a few days for you to get used to knowing how long you’re able to wear each pair for, but I can be fairly sure you’ll settle into a routine quickly.
For me, I will now be reaching for these instead of the disposable items I would usually have picked up from the supermarket shelf. I’d love to know your thoughts or answer any of your questions; so drop them in the comments section below or on my latest Instagram or Facebook post.
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Thank you to WUKA for partnering with me on this post.