Concern for the environment has never been higher; whether it’s climate change, water and plastic pollution or how we dispose of waste – these issues are the focus of numerous charities and pressure groups campaigning to increase our awareness about our actions on the world around us.

When it comes to incontinence products and the environment, over 1 billion items are currently purchased in the UK every year, and worryingly, the majority of these are disposable products – which often have a high single-use plastic content.

Furthermore, it is widely reported that disposable incontinence products can take up to 500 years to break down, and even then, they only break down into microplastics, which can enter our soils, waterways and food chain.

So with an ageing population, this problem is only going to grow. What are the options?

Washable products

At Arelle, we have long championed washable products. When it comes to washable incontinence pants, these are a brilliant solution to cutting down on waste, and in the long run, they will also save you money. Good quality washable briefs will last for at least 100 washes. Styled like ordinary underwear, they are comfortable, dignified and some people find the pants with inbuilt pads are less fiddly to use than disposable pads and for people who are allergic to disposable products, washables may solve the problem.

Washable chair pads, bed pads and bedding (including mattress covers and duvet and pillow covers) are also a great alternative to their disposable counterparts, providing excellent comfort but far less waste and far more cost effectiveness. It’s estimated that over a year, using Arelle washable bed pads will save you £80 in product and carriage costs compared to equivalent disposable products.

Disposable products with better eco credentials

We recognise that washable products may not be suitable for everyone; for example, the absorbency of washable briefs will never be able to match larger disposable products – so they are only suitable for light to moderate incontinence.

This is why we also sell disposable products, but we source them with the utmost care. We choose to primarily supply those by Abena, the first manufacturer of incontinence products to attain the Nordic Swan Eco-label.

Nordic swan ecolabel logo set against a nordic forest

This is an environmental labelling system that contributes to sustainable consumption and production. One of the criteria, amongst others, to be certified with the Nordic Swan Eco-label is that 50% of the product’s raw material must come from renewable materials.

Abena has made huge developments towards minimising the use of raw materials. The production plant in Denmark is powered by 100% renewable energy, and 86.4% of all waste is recycled. This is their commitment to ensure their products are as environmentally friendly as possible.

With more than 2500 Abena products carrying the Nordic Swan Eco-label, there is sure to be a green product to fit every need.

A ‘mix and match’ approach

Not convinced about how you might choose incontinence products which have less impact on the environment? Not sure if it will suit you? Then if you are able, perhaps try a mix and match approach to your product choice. Even the smallest change will make the difference, so if you are used to disposable bed pads, give washable pads a try.  If you have been thinking about reducing waste and saving money, try out our washable pants. You might be surprised how good they are! And if you’d like some advice on new products to test out, do give us a call or drop us a line – advising you on the right product choice is what we do best!