3 eco-gestures that make sense for Perdième

Une feuille de plante verte lovée dans la paume d'une main

In 2020, the environment remains in third place among French people's concerns, behind public health and employment, despite the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic (1) . This is what the 2021 barometer reveals on social representations of climate change established by ADEME , the Agency for Ecological Transition . Surveyed online in July 2020, the sample of 1,510 people was asked about the solutions to be implemented to combat this climate change . Even if 16% believe that it is the responsibility of States to orchestrate international regulation, 59% think that we must significantly modify our lifestyles. A majority therefore in favor of a change in our daily consumption habits . Borrow your books from the library, avoid over-packaged products, sort your waste correctly, use clean transport, so many small actions that everyone can try to integrate into their everyday life. What is today called eco- gesture . At Perdième, we asked ourselves the question: how to act concretely, simply and effectively? We bring you the fruit of our reflection: 3 ideas for eco-responsible actions , simple to adopt, without pressure or guilt, consistent with our sector of activity, our products and our values.

1. I reduce my periodic waste

The very first ecological behavior that seems obvious to us to mention is to use, as a menstruating person, reusable periodic protection.

More and more consumers are concerned about the effects of menstrual hygiene products on their health but also on the environment. The frequency of use of these products in their disposable version, multiplied by the number of women concerned, leads to a considerable volume of waste, the reduction and recycling of which constitutes a major environmental issue.

The consumption of disposable hygienic protection: figures that make you dizzy!

Together, let's lay the foundations for the average consumption of these products and take out the calculator to measure the extent of the phenomenon.

On average, women experience their first period at puberty around the age of 13 and their menopause around the age of 50. This therefore corresponds to a menstruation period of 38 years.
At 28 days per menstrual cycle, we can count 13 cycles in a year.
Brands of tampons and sanitary napkins indicate in their official recommendations to wear them between 4 and 6 hours (regardless of the nature of the flow). If we take the intermediate figure of 5 hours, that's approximately 5 disposable menstrual products used per day. Since a cycle lasts on average 5 days, a woman wears approximately 25 single-use products during a period.

At the individual level

This represents an average theoretical consumption per woman of:
  • 25 protections x 13 cycles = 325 hygienic protections per year;
  • 325 protections x 38 years = 12,350 hygienic protections over a lifetime.

Across France

According to figures from INSEE (2) , the number of women aged between 13 and 50 on January 1 , 2020 in France is just over 15.6 million.

325 protections x 15.6 million menstruating women = 5 billion sanitary protections potentially consumed per year in France!

Of course, this data is a theoretical estimate since it is not said that all these women use menstrual products nor that they do so according to the presupposed quantities and frequencies. But this allows us to give ourselves interesting numerical benchmarks to understand the subject.


According to data from Planetoscope (3) , on a global scale this represents a consumption of 1,447 sanitary napkins per second, that is to say 45 billion per year .

The composition of disposable hygienic protection: very long-term plastic pollution

In addition to being used in large quantities, disposable sanitary protection and their packaging have a composition that poses environmental problems. They are made mainly of synthetic and plastic materials – polyester (artificial material derived from petroleum), polyethylene, polypropylene – and cotton, the conventional cultivation of which proves to be very polluting, with the use of significant quantities of water and pesticides. .
They therefore take between 500 and 800 years to decompose. (4)

A zero waste alternative: menstrual panties

Perdième period panties are washable and therefore reusable, lasting 3 years on average.
Let's say a woman needs 8 menstrual panties per cycle (maximum!), which she replaces every 3 years, this brings us to around a hundred pairs of underwear for 38 years of periods. A figure certainly significant, but very far from the 12,350 disposable hygienic protections: 122 times smaller in fact!

All these numbers may give you a migraine. However, they allow us to measure the impact that this simple change can have on the reduction of domestic waste.

2. I buy products with environmental labels

Sustainable consumption requires attention paid from the purchasing phase, first to specific needs, then to the quality of objects and their impact on the environment throughout their life cycle. To ensure you buy eco-responsibly without tearing your hair out, you can pay attention to and trust environmental labels.

As a reminder, what is a label?

It is a protected and collective brand, created and owned by a public body or a professional organization. Generally materialized by a name and a logo, the label is affixed to a product intended for sale to guarantee its specific characteristics: origin, level of quality, compliance with manufacturing standards, etc.

A label constitutes a means of informing the public about the objective properties of a product. This is the guarantee of compliance with requirements pre-established by a competent and independent authority: to obtain a label, a product must comply in all respects with the associated specifications.

Environmental labels: ADEME helps us sort things out

There are labels in all areas.
Among the official French labels, we can cite the controlled designation of origin (AOC) or the Label Rouge for food, the high energy performance label (HPE) in energy, historical monuments for culture.
For labels from international organizations, we find for example the UNESCO World Heritage for the protection of nature and the preservation of cultural property or the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for the identification of geographical origin of an agricultural, agri-food or wine product.

In the ecological sphere, these are environmental labels, also called ecolabels, which indicate products that respect nature and health. To help us see things more clearly, ADEME has created a very easy-to-use page (5) which references and communicates key information on more than 100 environmental labels, applied to a large number of categories of articles: hygiene and beauty, DIY, stationery, multimedia, tourist accommodation, etc.

Ecolabels in the textile industry

The textile world has its own ecological norms and standards. We give you two weight references.

  • The globally recognized Global Organic Textile Standard , or GOTS , covers environmental, social, quality and toxicity requirements. It guarantees the organic origin of the fibers (with a minimum of 70% fibers from organic farming) and prohibits the use of chemical substances dangerous to health and natural environments during the manufacturing process (heavy metals, disruptive endocrine, nickel, phthalates, etc.). The lining of all our Perdième underwear is made from GOTS certified cotton.
  • The European textile Ecolabel , managed by the European Commission, requires a minimum percentage of certain materials in the composition of products (10% organic cotton, 20% recycled plastics or 25% artificial fibers from sustainably managed forests) and prohibits the use of substances that are harmful or destructive to the environment such as pesticides.

Ecolabels are a definite selling point for brands. But they also constitute aid for the consumer. Knowing their existence and knowing how to spot them on labels is part of a more responsible consumption approach. Take the reflex to refer to it during your various and varied errands.

3. I invest in a washing machine with low water and energy consumption

Let’s stay with our favorite theme: textiles. Once purchased carefully, how can you maintain your clothes while continuing to minimize your footprint on the planet?
We previously praised the merits of menstrual panties, zero waste periodic protection. However, it must be recognized that its impact is not completely neutral on the environment. In fact, it generates a certain consumption of water and energy, since it is recommended to rinse it under the tap immediately after use and wash it in the machine afterwards. It therefore seems equally important to us to address the subject of laundry care, whether it concerns menstrual underwear, classic lingerie or clothing in general. And this maintenance today involves, for the majority of French households, the use of a washing machine.

Contribute to the reduction in water and energy consumption in France

The Water Information Center currently indicates an average domestic water consumption in France of 148 liters per day and per inhabitant (6) . Only 7% is dedicated to food – drinks and cooking. Of the 93% used for personal hygiene and home maintenance, laundry comes in 3rd position with 12%, after baths and showers (39%) and toilets (20%). The trend has been downward for around ten years, thanks precisely to more eco-citizen actions, a desire to reduce water bills and the use of more efficient equipment.
Regarding the electricity consumption of French households, it is on the rise: + 40% since 1990 (7) .

According to the practical guide to reducing your electricity bill from ADEME (8) : “if all French households who equip themselves with new appliances chose the most economical, we would save 4.9 TWh/year, or as much as the domestic electricity consumption of 2 million people.

Cleaning linen is therefore a household item on which it is possible to act – on a scale, certainly modest but real – to limit waste of water and energy in France.

Choosing the right washing machine

To do this, try to follow the advice that follows.

First of all, ask yourself the right questions:
  • Do you really need a new device?
  • Is it not possible for you to have the faulty equipment repaired?
  • Is it worth buying second-hand?
In case of absolutely necessary purchase:
  • Be sure to choose the right capacity, that is to say, the one that corresponds to your real needs: we tend to opt for oversized devices in anticipation of a hypothetical future need and then underuse them;
  • Refer to the energy label , mandatory for this type of new household appliance, which informs you about the essential technical characteristics of the device: the energy class – A being the most economical –, the capacity mentioned previously in kg of cotton, water and electricity consumption, spinning efficiency – we also favor A to speed up drying afterwards –, noise level – the quietest are less than 73 dB.

Numerous and complementary eco-friendly actions for laundry care

Obviously, the small ecological actions to be implemented in this area are numerous and reinforce each other. Don’t hesitate to combine them for total synergy.

  • I fill the drum completely: be careful to only run your washing machines once they are full. Useful information: once rinsed, Perdième menstrual panties can be put in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry and therefore easily added to an incomplete cycle.
  • I use an ecological detergent , carrying an environmental label (we'll come back to that!) for less water pollution and recyclable packaging.
  • I wash at low temperature: washing at 30°C uses 3 times less energy than at 90°C (8) .
  • I let the laundry dry in the open air: avoid the tumble dryer as much as possible, which consumes a lot of electricity.

We still have a few ideas in mind to share with you – recycling clothes, the second-hand and second-hand trend, eco-responsible online purchasing – but there’s no need for too many! We'll reserve them for next time, hoping that the theme interests you.
However, we would like to conclude by admitting that we are well aware that ecology can have this little dark moralizing or lesson-giving side. She can even create new injunctions perfectly, adding to the long list of those that already weigh on everyone's shoulders, mainly those of women. This is not about making those who do not want or cannot (invest) themselves in a more eco-responsible voice, by personal choice, other priorities, lack of time or lack of financial means, feel guilty. It is rather a question of providing you with avenues for reflection and action so that you can get started or raise your level even further. Only if life allows you to do so, and you feel like it.

Written by cd

Sources :

  1. The environment among the main concerns of the French . (2021, May 17). notre-environnement.gouv.fr.
  2. Total population by sex and age as of January 1, 2020, France − 2019 demographic report . INSEE.
  3. Global consumption of sanitary napkins . Planetoscope.
  4. 3 good reasons to avoid disposable sanitary protection . (2019, January 24). Ecoconso.
  5. Environmental Labels . actpourlatransition.ademe.fr
  6. Lentz, V. (2020, June 9). What is the average water consumption per household? Water Information Center.
  7. Practical guide 40 tips and tricks for saving water and energy . ADEME.
  8. Practical guide Reduce your electricity bill . ADEME.