I'm Wearing 22 Plastic Bottles on My Feet and Super Comfy Knickers

Jennifer Thomson

Today Jenn takes you two reviews of plastic-free and sustainable products she’s recently added to her wardrobe. Read on to find out what period pants are really like, and how one company are turning plastic bottles into shoes..

A WUKA solution to plastic-free periods

*Warning may contain TMI ;)

As someone currently with secondary amenorrhea, having a regular period is something I don’t have to think about right now. However, after receiving treatment, they will hopefully start to return either naturally or via induced bleeding through medication. So, although my periods are non-existent / erratic at the moment, when they do come – there never seems to be the right period products to hand, especially as someone who wants to be more environmentally conscious about these purchases. 

It seems as if everyone is talking about plastic-free period products at the moment, especially regarding menstrual cups as a replacement for tampons (for a Mooncup review click here). However, tampons are actually a rarity in most countries around the world, where except from the USA and Western Europe, menstrual pads are actually the dominant product of choice / availability. And lets not forget, personal preference also comes into play… I bought a Mooncup myself, but I was NOT ready to try it out, especially due to the infrequent times (at present) I would be needing it, and the fact that I don’t like tampons at all.

This is why I actively went on a search to find a sustainable alternative in June this year, which I knew was going to be period pants.

The first reason I was drawn towards period pants was the obvious fact of being plastic free and good for the environment. It would be something that would last me a long time (being a piece of clothing and not having regular periods anyway), and they were PADS. 

At the time I was searching for my plastic-free alternative, I was taking medication that would induce a bleed - and typically of course, the period was due to start at the most inconvenient time for me – at the beginning of a Divemaster and marine biology internship in Mozambique: at a research station far away from most of civilization, decent shops and menstrual product availability. And of course, I realized this just two days before my flight departed, so I needed a free next-day delivery service ASAP. And via the power of google – I found a solution!

Enter WUKA – a brand called ‘Wake Up Kick Ass’, produced by Rubina Raut, who used her love of science and desire to create eco-friendly period products. Stemming from her childhood memory of Chaupaddi, she wishes to spread the message of how sustainable products can be used all over the world, free of hassle and stigma, and full of comfort and convenience. They are designed to hold 4 tampon’s worth of blood (heavy flow pants), or be worn in the sea (light flow pants), and have maximum coverage designed to be non-slipping for runners and athletes – these sounded like the dream. 

WUKAwear. Photos: WUKA

And let me tell you – they are SO COMFY! Literally feeling like I was wearing soft pajamas, I was able to run around, and scuba dive the entire day on my internship without even remembering I was wearing them or needing to change. 

The underwear gusset contains 4 layers of fabric that are moisture wicking, absorbing and anti-bacterial, which (on the heavy pants) felt noticeable, but definitely secure with no dampness / smells / uncomfortableness occurring at any time. 

Next day delivery of heavy (left) and light (right) WUKA wear, both super comfy and feel like normal underwear. Photo: Jennifer Thomson

Next day delivery of heavy (left) and light (right) WUKA wear, both super comfy and feel like normal underwear. Photo: Jennifer Thomson

You can either hand wash them and then simply put them in the tumble dryer after washing, to be used again on the same period cycle. With the average usage time of each garment at least 2+ years, this seemed like a good saving to me, definitely suited all of my needs whilst abroad scuba diving in a remote location! All in all, I was so impressed I messaged the founder to ask if I can write about them here!

For the full details about how they work specifically, their design and manufacturing – all the information is super clear on their website. They also have lots of reviews from teenagers, 10K runners, and people of all ages, so give it a read! 

The only caveat I would say is the price. With up to £25 per underwear (no shipping costs) they were still expensive – but personally for the amount of time they could be used for, especially as someone who doesn’t have their period often at all, they are definitely worth it! 

Check out @wukawear for more information :D

#Converserenewal – my kind of shoes

I was always that kid that wanted big Doc Martins with jazzy patterns on them – but student budgets meant that this simply wasn’t an option. I LOVE converse though – and I always buy a wacky colourful style – whether it’s bright blue flowers, purple, or red, and wear them so much until they literally have holes in.

This year though, I wanted a yellow / orange colour… and when I saw the mustard converse I was hooked – but these were different. With a slogan “life’s too short to waste” on them, I had stumbled across the ‘renewal’ collection’ – which was simply an extra incentive to buy them. 

My converse!! Ft “Life’s too short to waste”. Photo: Jennifer Thomson

My converse!! Ft “Life’s too short to waste”. Photo: Jennifer Thomson

Converse Renewal are a collection of converse shoes made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycled from plastic bottles. In a partnership with Thread International, these plastic bottles are sourced from developing countries, reducing plastic waste (with 11 bottles a shoe to be precise), but also using less water than a typical shoe in the manufacturing process itself. 

Additionally, Converse has also just brought out Converse Renewal Denim, to reduce the amount of clothing waste by making shoes out of upcycled jeans. This company is making small changes, which when scaled up, will be huge! My yellow shoes look and feel just like ‘normal’ converse, and I’ve been wearing them about all the time! Lots of my friends have been remarking on the colour, and when I tell them it’s actually made from broken down plastic bottles, and respun into shoes again - they are so impressed! 

Check out @converse and #converserenew for more inspiration.

Both of these products are unusual, different, and also help to start a sustainability conversation too with friends, family, (and strangers), which I guess is ultimately the point! 


Plastic Not Fantastic, part of our Research Series, highlights recent research efforts into the effects of plastic on marine life, and showcases organisations, individuals and initiatives fighting against the plastic tide