The national network television program, World in Action, screened on TV in Britain in 1989, drew attention to the effect of Dioxin pollution, its major source of production, and the part it played in sanitary protection manufacture. The unconcerned response of the international feminine hygiene brands so appalled Susie Hewson that her immediate response was to undertake the development of her own tampons and pads with full concern for the health of women and the effect on the environment in production and at disposal.
In the late nineteen eighties, the world was mostly less concerned for climate change and the understanding and concern for our ecosystems and environmental pollution created from global industrial nations was a rarity. Campaigning and action was left to organizations such as Greenpeace, The Women’s Environmental Network and Friends of the Earth who, to most, were considered to be principled hangovers from the campaigners of the 60’s and 70’s. One of their members Susie Hewson, absolutely understood the direction we were headed and the consequence our actions would have on our planet, and this lead her to the creation of Natracare organic and natural feminine hygiene, the first of its kind in the world.
Susie Hewson dedicated her time to her family and her new found destiny, her new business which began with the research and development of Natracare. This involved exploring and researching the damaging raw materials used in the production of tampons and sanitary pads and the development of a viable, functional solution for women. Natracare was launched in 1989 with a full range, including the world’s first certified organic cotton tampons and totally chlorine-free sanitary pads and panty liners. But this was just the beginning of her quest.
The familiar sanitary pads and liners we have grown up with are made from over 90% plastic which is a by product of the petroleum industry, together with dioxin-releasing chlorine bleached wood pulp. The list of plastic materials used in feminine hygiene products includes polyethylene (commonly known as polythene also used to make disposable shopping bags), polypropylene and the superabsorbent polyacrylates, the creation of which produces environmental and climate changing toxins. Plastic is not biodegradable and sanitary products containing these crude oil polymers (also called polyolefins) pollute the land and oceans of the world for all eternity.
Women needed to be reached in order to be educated about the processes and ingredients involved in the production of their sanitary products and the effects that these materials and chemicals were having on their personal health and on our planet. This was a slow process given the power held by the brands in the media. But then in the mid nineties, the internet presented an opportunity to have a one to one dialogue with women all around the world and Natracare embraced this opportunity and spoke straight to the hearts of women about the issues and concerns that Susie Hewson felt about feminine hygiene products and her challenge to make healthier, more environmentally sound products available to all.
Natracare’s multiple award winning range of organic cotton tampons, sanitary pads, panty liners, nursing pads, baby and intimate wipes, are unique in being made from only certified organic and natural, sustainable and renewable materials that are biodegradable and compostable.
Natracare’s environmental commitment is reaffirmed by becoming the first brand to achieve a scientifically validated, independently accredited life cycle analysis in the form of an international Environmental Product Declaration (EPD - www.environdec.com) in 2008 as well as achieving an SIS green labelling accreditation. Susie Hewson obtained the Women in Ethical Business award in 2008 and in 2009, achieved an Ethical Accreditation, being congratulated on achieving an outstanding Ethical Accreditation Index score of 92, placing Natracare at the top of the table for the Sanitary Protection sector.