How Trace Femcare is Making New Hemp-based Eco friendly Period Care to Heal Us All
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, feel your feet on the ground and the air in your lungs, and imagine a future beyond sustainable…
What if that air in your lungs could be cleaner, that soil beneath you richer…What if we could transform periods into something that actually heals the earth, our kin, and ourselves? What if an industry full of single-use plastic trash that pollutes our water and fibers that strip our earth of resources…could be completely transformed? Your period care could actually become a daily act of healing mother earth. Beyond just organic cotton period care or reusable menstrual products, TRACE is taking eco-friendly tampon alternatives to the next level–making the first hemp period care, including the first hemp and regeneratively grown cotton tampon. By using more hemp in the world, we can actively take harmful carbon out of the air, and restore soil health. More periods equals more hemp products equals more hemp planted equals a healthier earth.
Hemp period care is here, and here’s how it can change your life, all our lives, and the lives of all living things, for the better…
We (Claire and Meg) founded TRACE because as healthcare practitioners passionate about the health of all living things and the earth, we know something has to change. In a BIG way. And we know that those of us with periods have a voice that’s ready to be heard. What people with periods use during our cycles matters. There are too many problems in the antiquated period care industry to even count. We’ve gone through the struggles of trying to heal within a failing system, feeling the pain in our own bodies, those around us, and mother earth. Even the current eco-friendly period care choices available just aren’t going to cut it if we want to live on a healthier planet with healthier people. It’s this passion to see real change that gives us the fire, courage, hope, and imagination to disrupt and transform what we recognize as harmful into something unbelievable-something that will heal not only us, but our children, and our children’s children’s children…making bodies and earth vibrantly livable for generations to come.
I care about the health of my body and the environment. Isn’t my organic cotton tampon enough?
Well yes… and no. We are not about SHAME so we’re not going to put down your efforts. In fact, we applaud you for even reading this long article about healthy period care. KUDOS. TO. YOU. We use organic cotton tampons ourselves! What we are into is informed consent. And to inform you, we’ve got to be honest. So we talk about periods and eco friendly period care honestly and openly–we vow never to consciously hide anything from you. And that means telling you truths that shocked us about even the eco friendly period care and organic cotton period care. So here it goes:
Periods happen. This is a truth we’ve conveniently hidden, tucked away in bathroom stall whispers and in jean pockets or purses for centuries. But it’s time to face periods head-on. (*We want to highlight the diversity in menstruators here-not every woman bleeds, and not everyone who bleeds is a woman. There are periods of all lengths, flows, cycles… EVERYONE deserves respectful and safe care, no matter what your period looks like!)
So. Periods aren’t going anywhere–and neither are the 500 million lbs of period landfill waste in US landfills every year. That waste will be there for hundreds of years to come. Oh, and the inputs used to make those products (yes, even that organic cotton tampon or your reusable menstrual cup)…those are shrouded in mystery, greenwashed slogans and empty promises. Even organic cotton tampons still have a plastic wrapper around them-that means the part that touches your vagina is petroleum-derived PLASTIC. Ew. Not to mention toxic chemical bleaching. Slave labor. Ingredient non-disclosure. Hormone disruptors. Untraceable supply chains. Straight-up-lying…we could go on and on. We know YOU are a conscious consumer, exhausted by your endless search for a product that meets your expectations in ingredients, manufacturing, eco-friendliness, and mission. We’re all tired of the lack of transparency, and seemingly lack of care for us as humans or the environment in the way current menstrual products are made. When we researched other organic and eco friendly brands, we were shocked at the lack of traceability and transparency we found–even in the top brands. We can’t find ANY brands that can actually trace their cotton back to farm level once you dig deep enough. With all this muck to dig through, could there possibly be a solution that addresses everything? You can bet we are working as hard as we can to make it.
Hemp tampons that heal the earth and leave no trace: Restoring Right Relationship with land, people, and ourselves
TRACE is making the first hemp tampons and period care. Why are we called TRACE? Because not only are our eco friendly period products fully traceable from farm to vagina, they ACTUALLY fully biodegrade quickly, leaving no trace. We make our tampons and pads out of hemp fibers– a completely new product that will shake up an entire industry! Beyond that–we are working to bring the outdated and over-consumptive cotton industry into the 21st century by incorporating the first regeneratively grown cotton fibers into period care, going beyond just organic cotton tampons. We are way-makers…and here’s how we’re doing it:
Hemp period care is literally a miracle opportunity for healing our bodies and our earth. We can’t overstate how much we LOVE this plant! Hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years, but got an unjustified bad rap over the last century. But hemp’s back, baby! Now that we know it’s safe (no, hemp can’t get you high), versatile, completely legal, and easy to grow, the possibilities are endless. Period care made of hemp fibers (with no THC or CBD…just clean, soft fibers, baby!) is a beautiful solution to these problems. Add that to cutting edge regenerative farming methods, and voila! Not only are you not harming the earth–you are actually HEALING the soil by using our tampons. Use a tampon->plant more hemp->plant more hemp-> heal more soil. Dispose of your tampon in the trash, and its gone within months instead of hundreds of years. Mother earth smiles! Easy as that. TRACE makes the most eco friendly tampon alternative ever.
OK, so how is TRACE acting on all these promises?
There are just too many good things we are working on to list here, so we’ll just touch on our faves. If you want to learn more, follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter and be sure to read our other blog posts! We want you to know, honestly, that we are doing the best we can. We are not perfect, but we are always striving to do better. For all. Here are the ways we’re working to heal:
Our innovative ingredients: Hemp + Climate-Beneficial™ regeneratively grown cotton
OK so we talked about hemp. Why is it so fabulous for the earth? Oh, let us count the ways! Hemp takes less water, no herbicides, and no pesticides to grow. Win-win-win. Not only that, but hemp fibers actively sequester carbon from the air! Hemp is an excellent carbon sink (eco talk for something that heals the air and helps with global warming). An acre of hemp removes more CO2 from the air than an acre of mature forest. For real. Lastly, hemp restores soil health by increasing biomass and biodiversity, creating living, beautiful soil that grows our food for generations to come-just the way Mother Earth intended.
And we can’t leave out our other beauty: Climate Beneficial ™ cotton! Our cotton is the only of it’s kind in natural period care-grown using regenerative methods that are upending traditional cotton farming, like using cover crops and animals to manage the land rather than harsh chemicals and fertilizers. Different from organic (did you know organic cotton still uses chemical pesticides and herbicides??) regenerative is going beyond sustainable. It’s a return to the way our ancestors knew to live in reciprocity with the land. It honors her, and it honors us. We are working with other brands, universities, and non-profits to monitor just how much we are healing our soil; a village effort we are grateful to be a part of!
Only the good stuff, none of the bad–What’s actually in a TRACE hemp tampon
OK so we’ve told you the good for Mother Earth. Now let’s get INTO IT: How are we any better for your body than the other companies already out there? We appreciate the massive shift in the menstrual care industry, and we can’t wait to take it even further. Radical transparency and truth-telling are what we promise you. When our product launches (projected spring of 2023), you will find more goodies such as a glossary telling you what all this terminology means, and videos from us as healthcare professionals explaining how to dig through all of this. Here’s a taste of what’s in a Trace hemp tampon:
- Tampons made with a blend of hemp and regeneratively grown cotton fibers- THAT’S IT.
- Made without harsh chemicals or pesticides
- Full ingredient disclosure
- Comfortable, absorbent design
- Fully traceable supply chain farm to vagina
- Deep digging into verifying claims
- Working pre-competitively for regenerative farmers
- Zero Plastic-we’re ditching the applicator and teaching you how it’s better (and easier!)
- As we develop other products (hemp pads, menstrual underwear, hemp incontinence care…), we will stick to these same promises of working for the best ingredients for the earth and us!
Healing Every Step: A fully traceable supply chain
We could have just made a hemp fiber tampon from the hemp and processing currently available to be “cool” or get to market quickly. BUT we simply can’t do that. What’s used right now in both hemp and organic cotton has recently been found to include slave labor, child labor, unsafe and unfair working conditions, and chemicals harmful to both people and the planet. That doesn’t work for us, and we know it doesn’t work for you or ANYONE. So here are all the ways we are working hard to change the system:
- Hemp farming: Supporting black-owned land to stay in generational farms
- Cotton farming: Ensuring we only work with farmers that treat field workers fairly; photographic evidence, stories with actual PEOPLE you will meet on our site
- Ginning: Our cotton ginner had never met an actual company using his cotton in 40 years, until our pre-competitive cotton consortium visited
- Processing fibers: Working to build new supply chains in the US, creating new “green” techniques that nix the toxic chemicals
- Sterilization: Skipping chlorine bleach that exposes workers and tampon users to harsh chemicals
- Manufacturing: Using factories that ensure safe work environments, working towards US manufacturing to decrease our carbon footprint (Did you know there is NO contract tampon manufacturing in North America?! All your eco friendly tampons are currently shipped from Europe!)
- Warehouse/Logistics: Using recyclable/environmentally friendly packing facilities with fair working environments
Growing a New Kind of Period Care
We feel so grateful at TRACE knowing that our paths have led us here. We are a small team, co-founded by a women’s health nurse practitioner and a physician, both looking for better natural, non-toxic period care for ourselves, our children, and our patients. Our passion for better health for people and for the earth, and our fire for making change, brought us here. We are thankful to have the opportunity to keep working to build a better future for all. And above all, we thank YOU as our community–we know it takes a village to bring change, and we are so grateful you are here. Grow with us, and let’s see where we can take the future of eco-friendly period care!