LBN Spotlight: Aisle and Going Plastic Free in July
Did you miss our article on Plastic Free July?
Read it here!
Let’s talk periods.
Statistically, about half of us have them, which means half of us are using menstrual products every month. Many of us don’t really know about reusable alternatives, or are understandably a bit intimidated to add the learning curve of caring for long-term products into our everyday lives.
How many disposables are we talking about?
For 2018 in Canada alone, about 44 billion units of sanitary pads and 17 billion units of tampons were sold, according to Statista.
According to Plastic Free July, “the packaging used for applicators, tampons, and sanitary pads all contain single-use plastics. A huge number of these are flushed down the toilet, blocking sewerage pipes and waste water treatment plants. [Further, these] products can end up in our rivers and oceans and cause ingestion issues for animals.”
Here’s the problem – plastic takes as long as 500 years to decompose, but in the meantime it breaks down to macro- and microplastics, infiltrates our oceans, and seems to harm almost every facet of life.
Not only are disposables ending up in (best-case scenario) the landfill, but these one time use products really put a dent in your monthly budget.
There’s a better way for the planet and your pocketbook.
Based in Vancouver, BC, Aisle is dedicated to taking plastic out of the period equation while striving towards menstrual equity and inclusivity for every body that menstruates. In 2020, Aisle rebranded from their original name, Lunapads, in their commitment to reinventing the period aisle as a place of comfort, sustainability and respect.
Aisle creates reusable menstrual pads, liners, silicone cups, and even underwear! Each product during its respective lifetime will replace:
Also try Aisle’s Menstrual Cups!
Aisle became a Certified B Corporation back in 2012! What does this mean?
Being a B Corp means that we have undertaken a rigorous third party assessment that grades a business on every aspect of its social and environmental impact.
This means doing things like measuring our climate impact, vetting suppliers rigorously and giving back to our community in any way we can. We’ve been involved in social impact from the very beginning, working to get patriarchy out of our periods. Our B Corp assessment helps us get better and smarter at social impact every time we recertify.
For the past five years, we’ve been honored for being in the top 10% of all B Corp rankings globally, a distinction they call “Best for The World”.
As part of their social commitment to menstrual equity, since 2000 Aisle has mentored and assisted the start-up of several organizations – including Uganda-based AFRIpads, Days for Girls International, South Africa-based Girl Stuff Period – providing product development advice, patterns, and financial support. They also support United Ways’ Period Promise and Native Youth Sexual Health Network.
About Aisle, in their own words:
“You don’t always realize when you’re about to change the world, but in 1993, Madeleine Shaw did just that when she began making the first line of cloth pads and period underwear.
“In 1999 she met Suzanne Siemens and together they co-founded Lunapads, a groundbreaking venture that was one of the first brands in the world to champion natural menstrual care.
“Fast forward to today, Aisle has come full cycle to redefine the period aisle for the 21st century. A place to find comfortable, high-performance, earth-friendly products that actually walk the talk.
“Our small but mighty team is dedicated to supporting better periods for every body.
“We believe you’ll find our innovative, planet-friendly materials offer superior comfort and performance, along with peace of mind that everything we sell is ethically sourced and made. Nothing matters to us more than respectfully meeting your needs – we guarantee it.”
Our interview with Aisle
LBN – Why are you passionate about creating your products?
Aisle – Because people deserve better periods – comfortable, planet-friendly solutions that outperform disposables and suit your body and flow.
What’s one thing you do to live more plastic-free?
Plastic is forever, so we always advise thinking hard before buying something made of plastic. Research a non-plastic, reusable option – there’s lots more than menstrual pads and cups! Just making a small change can lead to a big impact. If you have to use plastic, make sure it’s reusable!
How has COVID-19 affected (good or bad) the business and your mission/goals?
Lots of our customers have reflected deeply on their relationships with others and the earth during this time and have shared with us their dreams for the future. We’re inspired by this and it’s fueling our next phase of providing the best period-proof products out there.
What was the first product you made?
Our first product was a fleece pad made for our cofounder Madeleine’s personal use. It was very homemade!
What was the process like?
Madeleine was struggling with repeated infections from using tampons and wanted to make a choice that was healthy for her and good for the planet. An aspiring fashion designer, she turned to her sewing machine for solutions. The experience of using cloth pads inspired her to start making them for others, and eventually start a business.
How do you select your ingredients?
We evaluate our materials for performance and sustainability, measuring their impact on waste, energy and climate. We use a technical cotton on the top of our pads to create a wicking layer that keeps the user feeling dry but mimics comfortable cotton underwear. Our cups feature a body-safe silicone that is BPA, phthalate and dye-free.
What has your greatest challenge been?
A lot of people hold taboos or fears around menstrual blood. Learning to overcome their anxieties can be challenging but creates an opportunity for greater acceptance of their bodies and what they do. Periods aren’t gross, or weird – they are normal occurrences for many people, and we celebrate that.
With our customers, we’ve diverted over 200 million pads and tampons from landfill since 2000!
Next big goal?
We’re researching even more sustainable materials to make it easy to have a plastic-free period.
Aisle on social media:
Have you tried Aisle?
Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you!
Looking for more plastic free alternatives?