TOTM Organic Cotton Pads/Tampons

overall Rating:

2.7

planets

Lucy Lockyear
7/8/2021
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Transparent company who provide lots of easy access information for consumers as well as providing environmentally sustainable products.

Totm provide a wealth of information on their own products as well as the harmful impacts of alternatives and seem to be making efforts where possible to reduce the impact they have on the environment. Their materials are good for both the environment and the consumer and the farming process for an often unsustainable crop seems sustainable. They have many certifications which often can be used to hide behind but, from my research I believe they are true to their values and are doing well to keep standards up.

what it's made of:

2.9

Non-toxic, natural products used with no harmful chemicals involved.

The products are made primarily from organic cotton instead of plastic, which can comprise up to 90% of other sanitary products. This cotton has significantly reduced environmental impact to regular cotton (see how it’s made) and the lack of chemicals is not only beneficial to the environment but also in preventing harmful reactions which is a clear benefit considering the nature of the products. The cotton is absorbent so, unlike other pads, doesn’t contain Superabsorbents like sodium polyacrylate, a chemical which can be highly toxic and an irritant. Being breathable is another major benefit of the cotton as it means fragrances aren’t required, which are often environmentally chemicals that can also irritate skin and alter pH, as well as the products not causing irritation or discomfort when used.

The products are made with organic cotton, no synthetic fragrances or dyes, are chlorine bleach free with tampons being rayon free and pads being wood pulp free and all products are hypoallergenic. Pads are wrapped in certified compostable cornstarch biofilm, a natural material with no harmful environmental impacts. The glue on pads is a non-toxic adhesive, specific ingredients aren’t available due to commercial sensitivity but they provide a way to contact them to ask about ingredients of concern so seem transparent. Applicators are made of cardboard as oppose to plastic like other products therefore they don’t contribute to the 1.3billion plastic applicators going to UK landfills yearly! Instead of non-biodegradable plastics like many period products, the outer packaging is a recyclable cardboard box leading to no waste packaging.

Totm’s organic products are registered with The Vegan Society to have no animal products as well as being ICEA and GOTS certified, meaning that the organic textiles are guaranteed to comply with strict environmental and social criteria throughout production so they’re sustainable in many aspects.

how it's made:

2.5

Organic sustainable farming with carbon offset EU manufacturing, could provide more specific information on farm locations and farmer pay.

Growing cotton is usually a very water intensive and environmentally disruptive process however, by using organic cotton they claim to; produce 94% fewer greenhouse gases, use 62% less energy, use 88% less water (with plants being 80% rain fed) and use sustainable farming methods compared to non-organic alternatives. These stats are very promising as well as them not using toxic, artificial pesticides or additives which is not only better environmentally but also for us as consumers, especially with sensitive products such as these. I would like to see more information on where the cotton is actually grown and the equality for farmers (aside from the GOTS certification) but there is lots of information available on the organic cotton overall.

The packaging for the pads says they’re made in Spain with the website stating all products are made in the EU so, there will be a carbon footprint to ship the products for sale in the UK, as Totm are UK based; they do carbon offset 100% of all activities though so these shipping and manufacturing emissions are accounted for. The products are also made in a facility powered by renewable energy. ClimatePartner, an external body to the company, help Totm calculate, reduce and offset emissions so they can be verified climate neutral. 

who makes it:

2.8

A socially and environmentally conscious company who provide lots of information to educate people and work to minimise their environmental impact but are on the pricier side.

The products are produced by Totm, a UK based company who aim to provide environmentally friendly period products while normalising and educating people on periods and supporting charity work, leading them to be socially sustainable as well as environmentally. Their products are easy to access with flexible online subscription options as well as being available in-store at Superdrug and Tesco.

Totm are also socially responsible and sustainable in various ways. Their charity work includes supporting Endometriosis UK by donating 1% of all online sales to them (over £20,000 so far), giving over 18,000 pads to Binti International who provide menstrual dignity support and providing their sustainable products to frontline workers and also schools through the Welsh Government Period Dignity Grant during the pandemic. Good Shopping Guide gave them Ethical Accreditation with an Ethical Company Index Score of 100, meaning they work to high ethical standards which are clearly supported independently.

The pricing for the products is affordable, with discounts available if you get a subscription every month/every other month, but the prices are still considerably more than less sustainable alternatives. At Tesco the closest equivalent to 10 organic cotton pads, 16 Always Ultra sanitary pads, costs 9p each whereas the Totm products are 34p each; Totm regular applicator tampons are 20p each while the Tampax equivalents are 14p each. It would be great to see a reduction in prices to make these products more accessible to all and so more economically sustainable.