We believe it’s always possible to do better for people and the environment, which is why we strive to innovate. Since our beginnings in 1989, we’ve chosen not to follow the crowd. This has led to a whole host of first times for us. Here are our highlights from over the years:
1989 — Susie Hewson launches Natracare
1989 saw the birth of the world’s first period products that are designed to protect people’s bodies and the environment. Concerned about the damaging waste produced by conventional period products and the toxic chemicals found in them, our founder, Susie, wanted change. Being an activist at heart, this drove her to act on her concerns for the planet and our bodies by creating the world’s first organic cotton tampon.
1990 — Suma becomes Natracare’s first wholesaler
The FIRST TWO pallets of Natracare tampons were packaged and sent off to the ethical co-operative wholesaler, Suma in 1990. Suma were the first wholesalers to stock our products. We are still stocked by them today!
1991 — Natracare launches in Canada
1991 was the year that Natracare launched in Canada, expanding across the Atlantic to provide toxin-free periods for all!
1993 — Susie develops world’s first period product organic regulation and Natracare launches in USA
Susie worked closely with UK certification body, the Soil Association, to develop the world’s first global organic regulations for period products. This regulation means that organic period products certified as organic have to be held to rigorous testing, from the raw materials to the final product.
We also launched in the USA in 1993, taking Natracare stateside!
1994 — Natracare tampons included in pivotal TSS research
An independent study was conducted by Dr. Tierno and Dr. Hanna in 1994 to consider how likely different tampons, including ours, were to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome. Within the study, Natracare 100% cotton tampons did not produce the bacteria which leads to Toxic Shock Syndrome. All brands containing rayon did produce the bacteria.
1995 — Natracare ditches plastic in our period products, for good
Our mission at Natracare has always been focused around providing period products that look after both the planet and people’s bodies. One of our biggest steps in achieving this focus was when our pads went totally plastic free. Even back then, our pads were our only product containing plastic. Making this small change meant that our entire range of period products has been plastic free and compostable since 1995.
2005 — Natracare school’s programme launched
We believe one of the best ways to tackle taboo topics, like periods and incontinence, is through education and discussion. In 2005, we decided to help teachers navigate these topics in their PSHE or health care classes. The Natracare School’s Programme is a resource designed by us to guide teachers through topics like puberty, the menstrual cycle, reproduction and our responsibility as individuals to care for our planet.
2006 — Two new ranges launched – Mother & Baby and Dry & Light
To further support people and the changes their bodies go through in life, we added to our product range. We wanted to reach people who experience incontinence, so we launched the Natracare Mother & Baby range and Dry & Light pads for light incontinence. These products offer breathable choices, made from natural materials that are suitable for sensitive skin.
2008 — Natracare achieves International Environmental Product Declaration
We became the first period product in the world to achieve an International Environmental Product Declaration in 2008. The declaration involved assessing our entire product lifecycle, from how we source our raw materials, to the ingredients we use in our products, and the waste we produce as a company. Part of our process for this was to become the world’s first period product brand to measure the carbon footprint of their period pads!
2009 — Awarded outstanding in Ethical Accreditation and Nordic Eco Label
Greenwashing and ethical pretence is everywhere — especially in the period care industry. We were thrilled to be recognized for our continued ethical work when we achieved an outstanding Ethical Accreditation Index score. Coming out as 1st, this placed us on the top of the table in our industry, which is where we remain today.
In 2009, we also received our Nordic Eco Label award, recognizing us for our sustainable, environmentally focused period products range.
Our founder, Susie Hewson, and her sister, Theresa White cycled 300 km through the desert in Jordan over the course of 5 days in their first Natracare Sisters in Partnership for Change with Women for Women. The cycle helped raise money for the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the work they do!
2011 — Natracare products certified vegetarian
Saving the planet and all of its wonderful creatures at the forefront of our brand. That’s why in 2011 we became the first disposable period product range to become certified as vegetarian in product and process by the Vegetarian Society.
2013 — Stocked in 55 countries
Eager to provide plastic free period product choices worldwide, we were already stocking 29 products in 55 countries around the world in 2013, with no signs of stopping soon!
By 2013 we were stocking our products in 55 countries. Since then, we’ve grown even more. These days, you can find Natracare in over 80 countries – and we’re still growing!
2017 — Natracare products certified vegan
Just 6 years after becoming the first disposable period product to go veggie, we made an even bigger leap towards saving the planet, by going vegan! In 2017, the Vegetarian Society certified us as vegan in both our products and in our process.
2018 — Activism at Natracare
We think it’s important to stand up for what you believe in and take a stand for what matters to you. We practice what we preach by getting involved with causes we believe in and taking action for the planet and people’s bodies. In 2018, we organized our first march against plastic period waste. Having packed our signs and megaphones, we headed to Brighton beach where we protested!
Our campaigning didn’t stop with the march. We’ve also got stuck in at various beach cleans, hosted a live pelvic floor demonstration or urinary incontinence and petitioned for plastic free period products in schools — continuing our work to raise public awareness of issues we feel to be important.
2019 — Natracare turns 30
2019 has been a big year for us and not just because we turned the big three-oh! In 2019, we became the world’s first period product brand to join 1% for the Planet. This means that we have pledged to donate 1% of our annual turnover each year to environmental charities and organizations through 1% for the Planet. We did this so that you can bleed 1% better every month, knowing that your period product choice is helping to protect our earth!
In response to plastic pollution and the rising problem with fatbergs, we launched Europe’s first truly flushable Moist Tissue wipes in 2019. We worked closely with the Water Research Council to develop our Safe to Flush Moist Tissues, which are 100% reinforced paper tissue. Unlike other wipes on the market, our Moist Tissues don’t clog up sewers or drains. Instead, they break down just as toilet paper does! Find out more about Water UK’s Fine to Flush certification here.
Have any suggestions for what we should take on next? Tell us in the comments!