Every month we receive thousands of donations of menstrual products at the Bloody Good Period storage unit, and we’re constantly overwhelmed by the generosity of you bloody babes out there. From floor to ceiling our unit is bursting with towers of sanitary towels, menstrual cups, tampons and toiletries, and as a team of people who get pretty exciting about periods, this sight couldn’t fill us with more joy.

But there’s something we need to be honest about. It’s about that part of our otherwise beautifully functioning relationship that we just can’t accept anymore. It’s loose tampons and pads.

“But why is this a problem?!” you might ask. “Surely you need all the pads you can get! Refugees and asylum seekers will be grateful for them!”

Baby doll. Let’s have a chat.

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We want to start by reiterating that we are so appreciative of the kindness and support of people who donate to Bloody Good, and that we know everything that’s donated is sent with love and with the aim of making sure that people have the menstrual products they need for their period. But it’s of utmost importance to us that we’re providing asylum seekers and refugees with good quality, safe products of their choice, to ensure bloody wonderful periods and we know you agree. Loose pads and tampons don’t always fit this criteria for a couple of main reasons:

Number One - Expiry Dates

Did you know that most tampons have expiry dates? We didn’t use to. But checking the expiry date is important for ensuring that the tampons we give out are well within date and not going to be harbouring potentially harmful bacteria that could lead to irritation of infection. This means that loose tampons are pretty problematic for us as we usually don’t know how old they are, and if we give them out we could be giving people an unsafe product. In short, loose tampons are a no no. We’ve had donations of tampons which are over twenty years old! Would you put something that old in your vagina? (Well, yes, you might actually… but not tampons, OK?!)

Number Two - Condition

Sometimes the lose pads and tampons we receive are in good condition - hooray! But often they look like they may have been kicking about at the bottom of someone’s bag for a while, as the packaging is pretty tatty and has fluff (and sometimes hair…) stuck to it; we only give people products that are in good condition, and we don’t believe that asylum seekers and refugees should be grateful to receive a fluff covered tatty sanitary towel. So if it ain’t in perfect condition, it ain’t being sent out.

Number Three - Product Knowledge

Although brands spend a lot of time detailing what type of pad is in the packet on the outer packaging (absorbency, size, fit, and so on), this information isn’t generally on the individual wrappers of the pads or tampons themselves. When we give out loose pads and tampons we group them together by (what looks like) the same type, and pop them in cotton bags to give away. However, we still can’t guarantee exactly what type of pad they are, and so they’re understandably much less popular than unopened packets of pads where people know exactly what they’re getting. This means loose pads are less in demand and end up taking up a lot of space in our storage unit (where space is already at a premium!).

So, armed with this new info we’re asking that next time you donate you consider leaving those loose pads and tampons at home, and instead head to our Amazon Wishlist and donate from this tailored list of our most in demand products (or via JustGiving if Amazon isn’t for you). This way we can ensure we get the most requested products to the people who need them, and you know that your donation is winging its way to a drop-in, stat. And together, bloody babes, we will continue to fight period poverty, and for this, we simply cannot thank you enough.