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During the month of April, we challenged you to share #onesmallchange you’ve made to help create a healthier, happier planet. You blew us away with your submissions! From reusable cotton makeup removers to bike riding and composting kitchen waste to stainless steel straws, together we’re making a big impact!

The contest is over (we gave away a reusable cotton pantyliner every of the month, and our ambassadors were entered to win Cloth Pad Sampler Kits), but we hope you’ll continue making more and more choices that change our world for the better! We were inspired by your passion to be good stewards of this earth, and hope that your momentum continues. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Happy Earth Day!

Our annual Earth Day Sale starts today: pick up any of the fabulously eco-friendly items on GladRags.com by Monday at midnight and automatically get these discounts applied to your cart:

$5 OFF orders of $40
$10 OFF orders over $75
$20 OFF orders over $150

SHOP EARTH DAY SALE ►

Win a Pantyliner

We’re giving away a pantyliner every day this month! Just make #onesmallchange to build a healthier world, then share it on social. Full giveaway details on the GladRags blog. Here are a few of our favorite submissions so far (your posts don’t have to be this cute, but it sure doesn’t hurt!):

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(click to embiggen)

Celebrate our Planet

We’re spending part of today volunteering with C.R.O.P.S. (Community Reaps Our Produce and Shares), an organic farm built on vacant land owned by the county. We’ll be helping with weeding and harvesting the produce that is donated to the Oregon Food Bank by this community farm. Follow us on Instagram to see us getting muddy for a good cause, and leave us a blog comment to tell us what you’re doing this Earth Day!

whats-in-your-tampon

Here at GladRags HQ, we stumble across a lot of “fun” facts about disposable pads and tampons. Such as:

“In California, it is now illegal to feed the leaves, stems, and short fibers of cotton known as ‘gin trash’ to livestock, because of the concentrated levels of pesticide residue. Instead, this gin trash is used to make furniture, mattresses, swabs, cotton balls and tampons.

The cotton is too tainted by pesticides to feed to animals, but is totally fine for your hoo-ha?! Ugh. This delightful tidbit inspired Meagan to do a little extra research on the pesticide residues left in conventional tampons.

In her research, she found that NaturallySavvy.com sent a conventional tampon to a third party testing facility to test for pesticide residue.

Horror ensues, as the following pesticides are discovered: Malaoxon & Malathion: 1 ppm, Dichlofluanid: 1 ppm, Mecarbam: 6 ppm, Procymidone: 37 ppm, Methidathion: 5 ppm, Fensulfothion: 5 ppm, Pyrethrum: 66 ppm, Piperonyl Butoxide: 1 ppm.

Naturally Savvy breaks down each pesticide in their article, but here’s a nasty tale of only one of the pesticides found in tampons:

Procymidone: Found in relatively high amounts in our sample, it’s poisonous if absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or swallowed. It’s a possible liver and testes toxicant, which may also cause reproductive and developmental toxicity. It causes birth defects in some animals. Procymidone is listed on the State of California Propositions 65 Carcinogen List and the EPA’s carcinogen list. It’s also listed on the EU list of potential endocrine disruptors.

Meagan’s conclusion? “If I was stranded on a desert island upon which a lifetime supply of tampons had spilled and I was without my Moon Cup and GladRags, I would choose to free bleed on the sand. I would rather subject myself to a sticky, plastic pad than a tampon. I wouldn’t offer a tampon to my worst enemy. #byetampons”

tampon-worst-enemy

A note about organic tampons: After learning about the uglier side of conventional tampons, you may think that organic cotton tampons are the best solution – and they’re certainly much better! But better doesn’t mean best, especially when it comes to caring for the planet. Most are made of biodegradable ingredients, but because they’re a disposable item you’re going to need to eventually buy more. And more. And even more. If you consider the energy used in an organic tampon’s lifetime, from creation in a factory to transportation to your local store, then you’ll realize that they’re still much more of a drain on our natural resources than reusable pads or menstrual cups.

Sources:

    1.  Article 2, Section 2678 of the California Code of Regulations via http://www.bodyfueling.net/ARTICLES/cotton1.html
    2. http://naturallysavvy.com/care/is-there-pesticide-residue-on-your-tampons-our-independent-testing-gets-specific
    3. http://naturallysavvy.com/care/conventional-cotton-tampons-and-pesticides

What would you say if an organic, ethical fashion boutique asked you to help model their new selection for spring? Um, YES PLEASE. Our little team was lucky enough to show off woman-owned and Portland-based Gaia Couture’s elegant and comfy spring selection.

We thought we’d share some of our favorite shots with you, and give you a little peek into the world of GladRags! Jealous of our outfits? Score your own from Gaia Couture for 20% off during the month of April with coupon code GLADRAGS.

heidi at gladrags

This is Heidi (and her beautiful curly hair). Heidi is our bookkeeper and has the best posture of anyone in the office.

tracy at gladrags

Here’s me. Let’s pretend that my job is to hug cloth pads and laugh about it, because I’m clearly really good at that.

meagan at gladrags

Meagan, our director of customer happiness, has seen nearly every season of America’s Next Top Model, and it shows.

eliana at gladrags

Every time you place an order, Eliana picks up a pad with wings (and then ships it to you).

tracy and eliana

Consider this shot our foray into business stock photos. I think I was saying, “look at this paper, Eliana. I highlighted some things on it for you.” We may be corny, but at least we look cute.

IMG_9886

Heidi’s favorite part of her job is definitely when she has to do inventory. Definitely.

team gladrags

This picture is my favorite from the day and honestly gets me a little misty-eyed. I’m so proud to be working with this tiny team of hard-working ladies to make GladRags bigger and better every day. As a little girl, I never would have dreamed of being a “boss.” I’m still learning what it means to be a boss (and more importantly, a good one), and I’m so grateful to have this amazing team that’s growing and learning with me.

OneSmallChangeCover

Here at GladRags it’s pretty much Earth Day every day, but we like to take the whole month of April to celebrate the planet — and the actions we take to protect it. It’s hard to go a single day without hearing about all that’s going wrong in the world: needless waste and overconsumption of resources, smokestacks belching air pollution, climate change, plastic trash clogging waterways…. the list goes on and on. Sometimes it seems to be an insurmountable hurdle. But it’s not.

Re-building a healthy world starts with every one of us making ONE SMALL CHANGE. Join us this month in taking a photos of the small actions you do every day to make a better world. Pictures must be your own and must include a description and #gladragspads #onesmallchange. Every day, we’ll draw one winner from all the entries to receive a GladRags pantyliner. Together, we can change the world… one pantyliner at a time.

Giveaway guidelines:

  • Pictures must include both #gladragspads and #onesmallchange and be publicly visible (or we won’t be able to find them!)
  • Entries will be accepted via Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
  • Pictures should be your own and depict Earth-friendly actions (like bringing your reusable bag, hanging your GladRags on a clothesline, etc).

You can watch all the entries come in via the GladRags Social Stream!

Trash-Talk-Campaign

Trash. We take it out, toss things in, and usually don’t pay it much mind (until it starts to smell). With each person in the United States generating approximately 4.38 pounds of waste per day*, it’s time we started to pay attention to trash.

Here in the US, most of us are lucky enough to have garbage service, making trash a mild inconvenience that we can choose not to see. One question I like to ask people is this: when you throw your pads and tampons away, where do you think “away” is? Unfortunately, “away” is landfills, the ocean (and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch), or inefficient incinerators that contribute to climate change.**

Most of the trash we make is not only unnecessary, it’s so easily preventable. We can compost, recycle, or (the best method of trash reduction) simply choose reusable items instead. This month, we’ve partnered with some of our favorite reusable companies to encourage everyone to start talking trash… about trash.

Your mission: snap a pic of the unnecessary trash you encounter in your day to day and share on Instagram with #TrashTalk. One winner will be selected at random on March 10th to win a trash-busting prize pack that includes:

  • a $75 shopping spree at GladRags.com
  • a reusable water bottle from Eco Vessel
  • a year’s supply of toothbrushes + a reusable food storage set from Preserve Products
  • two zero-waste home cleaning cloths from E-Cloth

For example:

 

trash-talk-example

Note: images need to be public (not private) to qualify for entry.

Sources:

* http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/
** http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/how-big-great-pacific-garbage-patch-science-vs-myth.html
** http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2013/09/incinerating-trash-is-a-waste-of-resources/

moon cup and pantyliner

This post is brought to you by Iris, one of our fabulous Campus Ambassadors and former GladRags intern. She wrote the below piece for her university’s newspaper. Thanks for spreading the word about reusable menstrual products, Iris! You rock!

Tampons are gross. So are maxi pads. They affect everyone living on this planet, regardless of sex or gender. Over the course of a lifetime, the average woman (it should be noted that not all women have periods, and not all people who have periods are women) will spend $3,500 on disposable menstrual products. That’s about 8,000 tampons or pads, generating mountains of bloody, disgusting waste that will sit in our landfills forever. Disposable menstrual products are made of wood pulp, with chemical additives and fragrances, and they contain (trace amounts of) a known carcinogen, dioxin, due to the bleaching process that they undergo.
Fortunately, there are alternatives! Sustainable, hygienic, comfortable, convenient, alternatives: reusable menstrual products. So keep reading, for yourself, your friends, your family, and your planet.

There are two main types of reusable menstrual products: menstrual cups and reusable cloth pads. Menstrual cups are the bomb. Made of medical-grade silicone; they go inside the vagina, like a tampon. You buy one, for about $30, once or maybe twice in your lifetime. They only need to be emptied 2-3 times a day. Unlike a tampon, they collect, rather than absorb, liquid. This greatly reduces the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), which comes from over-absorbent tampons drying out tissue and resulting in small tears that allow bacteria into the bloodstream. Similar to tampons, you can run, swim, bike, etc. with ease and comfort. They just need to be rinsed or wiped with toilet paper after being emptied, and then washed with hot, soapy water every month. There are a lot of urban legends and few sad but true stores of menstrual cups getting stuck inside of people. This shouldn’t ever happen. Menstrual cups do require a little practice, but they will come out with a little maneuvering.

Menstrual cups don’t work out for some people, with excuses ranging from, “I just can’t even”, to personal preferences, to medical conditions such as endometriosis. Luckily, there are always reusable cloth pads. These can be purchased in a wide variety of designs and pretty patterns/colors, or DIY sewn by hand. Unlike disposable pads, which have a plastic lining that traps odor and can lead to chafing and infection, they are breathable and supremely comfortable. They, are, contrary to popular belief, not difficult to keep clean; just rinse and then toss in the laundry.

All reusable menstrual products require a little more cleaning than their disposable counterparts. But ask yourself, which is really more disgusting? Having to deal with a little blood, or piling up foul, rotting disposables for someone else to deal with in the future?

Want to go buy some of these wonderful products? Check out Portland, OR based GladRags (gladrags.com) for a very helpful website with FAQs and a great selection of pads and cups.

Hi! I’m Iris, and I’m interning at GladRags this summer. I just finished my freshman year at Willamette University in Salem, OR. I love running and spend most of time eating, sleeping, and figuring out what to do with my life.

I love GladRags. I love my Moon Cup. My period has become a much more pleasant, carefree experience since switching to reusables.

Here are some highlights:

  • I don’t need to count disposables before packing for trips, fret about running out, run to the store at inconvenient hours, etc.
  • I can take far fewer trips to the bathroom to change a pad or tampon
  • There is less smell and itchiness
  • My recurrent yeasty beasties have gone the way of the dodo
  • I have (necessarily) come to have a better relationship with my body and menstrual fluid
  • Taking out the trash after my period has become a ritual of less guilt and more pride
  • I’m now part of the elite crew of forward-thinking, body-loving women who know what’s up and have chosen to reuse

BONUS: the Moon Cup stays in place better than tampons when I’m running (hooray for suction).

GladRags sells some great products, but it’s more than that — it’s a great company, too. GladRags is a certified Benefit Corporation, a new kind of business that is required to focus not only on profit, but on social and environmental impact, accountability, and transparency. We might know that things like excessive pollution, child labor, slave labor, theft, unsafe working conditions, and lying to and misleading consumers and employees are wrong, but that doesn’t stop companies all over the world from doing these things.

That’s the biggest reason that I wanted to come intern at GladRags this summer. Everyday, we read news about how corrupt corporations are basically ruining our lives and our planet; it can be depressing. But GladRags is part of a new crop of companies that are changing the way they do business, and thereby changing the world. Benefit Corporations are certified by a nonprofit called B Lab. There is a 50+ page assessment that all B Corps go through to be certified and re-certified as a Benefit Corporation, which gives them a score in the areas of Governance, Workers, Community, and Environment, and an overall score.

I am currently working on a plan to make GladRags’ already great score a little greater. We are working on things like:

  • getting our new Advisory Board set up
  • making sure our suppliers follow our Code of Conduct to ensure safe, fair working conditions all the way down the supply chain
  • giving our employees the best possible feedback and guidance on their performance, career, and skills development
  • and finding better ways to get feedback from all of our stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, and our local community.

 

Iris DowdAbout the author of this post:
Iris Dowd runs Cross Country and Track and studies Politics and Economics at Willamette University in Salem, OR; she also loves playing with her dogs, cats, and chickens.

In honor of Earth Day, we’re taking a look at how we can reduce our carbon footprints at home.  Read on for our top ten essential items to have in your bathroom to help you achieve zero waste!

9-essentials-for-a-trash-free-bathroom

1. Crystal deodorant

Ditch that standard plastic tube of deodorant (especially if it has aluminum or other yuckies in it) and try a crystal instead. Learn about the science behind crystal deodorant here.

2. Shampoo bar

Shampoo bars are a great alternative to bottles of shampoo: they’re typically packaged in recyclable cardboard or paper, and require less fuel to transport than their bulky counterparts.

3. Hankies instead of tissue

It’s only recently that our society has switched to single-use tissues for our runny noses. Soft cotton hankies are a treat for your nose–and have far less of an impact than those disposables, especially during allergy season!

4. DIY toothpaste

No tube required! Whip up a batch of homemade toothpaste  and store in an extra jar in the medicine cabinet.

5. Bar soap or bulk body wash

Like shampoo, bar soap has less of an impact on the environment by having less packaging and less weight to transport. If you can’t give up the body wash, head over to the bulk section of your favorite natural grocery store or co-op and re-use your bottles.

6. Cornstarch instead of dry shampoo

A little greasy? Sprinkle cornstarch on your roots and brush it through your hair to quickly absorb excess grease. Easy peasy.

7. A Moon Cup or GladRags

This one should be obvious! Disposable tampons and pads are not great for your body, and even worse for our planet. Try a menstrual cup or cloth pads, and get rid of the monthly garbage that accompanies your period.

8. Recycleable toothbrush

Our friends at Preserve (a fellow B Corp!) make toothbrushes out of recycled plastic and have a toothbrush take back program to keep the loop going.

9. Make your own facial cleansers

Not only do they often come in plastic, single-use containers but conventional products for your face also tend to contain some nasty ingredients. Fortunately, there are loads of DIY facial cleansers out there, including my favorite: a homemade honey cinnamon facial scrub!

10. Extra credit: reusable toilet paper

For the extremely green, you can always make the switch to “family cloth” or reusable toilet paper. Use rags or cut up old towels for wipes and wash thoroughly between uses. Don’t accidentally drop one in the toilet, though!

What’s your best tip for waste reduction in the medicine cabinet or shower? Leave us a comment and let us know!

About the author of this post:

tracy is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, practice yoga, and hang out with her cats.

We’re donating a percentage of our 2013 profits, and want our customers’ help in choosing which organization to support. Read on for more information about five non-profits we think deserve our support, then cast your vote!

Girl Up

The Girl Up campaign educates and empowers American girls to help their sisters around the world. Girl Up participants have the opportunity to learn about global issues, develop leadership skills, and become advocates for girls and women in impoverished parts of the world. Learn more about Girl Up >>

Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides produces and distributes easy to read health information to people around the world. For 40 years, Hesperian has distributed a books including Where There is No Doctor to assist communities in providing necessary health care to individuals where there are no formal medical practitioners. Learn more about Hesperian Health Guides >>

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) uses market-based solutions to solve problems in the developing world. Current SHE initiatives include SHE28, which helps women in Rwanda create their own businesses manufacturing eco-friendly menstrual pads–providing economic empowerment as well as a menstrual solution for the women of the community. Learn more about SHE >>

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducts environmental health research to inspire consumers, companies, and government to take action for a cleaner, safer world. EWG is the force behind the Skin Deep database, which educates consumers about the ingredients in their personal care products. Learn more about EWG >>

Women for Women International

Women for Women International works with women in war-torn areas including South Sudan, Rwanda, and Kosovo. Participants are enrolled in a one-year program to help them achieve economic independence, learn about their rights as women and victims of war, and become leaders in their communities. Learn more about Women for Women International >>