This year's Brisbane Eco Expo has an amazing lineup of sustainable, environmentally-friendly exhibitors that are showcasing a variety of life changing products. Sustainability and health benefits go hand in hand as environmentally conscious products are often free of nasty ingredients, making them kinder to the human body.
hannahpad – These certified clothpads have a lifespan of 2-3 years or longer depending on personal use and care and are a non-toxic and organic alternative to pads and tampons. The organic cotton material takes about 12 months to biodegrade and compost.
Question: When did you begin an environmentally conscious lifestyle?
Marcus Steve: My wife, Jenny and I have been working in the airline business as cabin crew for a long time. It was a great job with international traveling opportunities, however the downside to this was the amount of chemicals we were being exposed to. The chemicals used on the plane, in hotel rooms and on our body really wore us down. We believed that there must be better, and we found that in natural and organic products. Life-changing. This introduction to green living then opened our eyes up to connected environmental issues such as plastic packaging of the daily products we would use such as skin care, cosmetics, laundry, bathroom, kitchen and products in our household. We've been leading the eco-conscious lifestyle for years now especially after beginning our business supplying certified organic cloth pads. We're able to learn about the benefits to people's health and the positive impact reusable products have on the environment.
Question: How did this inspire hannahpad?
Marcus Steve: Jenny was diagnosed with Endometriosis and soon realised it was time to switch out regular disposables for healthier options. She started out with organic disposable pads which were great but discovered hannahpad and learned a lot about how reusables can be beneficial to her own menstrual health and protect our planet. Her personal journey and experience inspired us to bring hannahpad into Australia with the hopes the products will help many more people and their strive to reconnect and get healthier. Our eco-conscious lifestyle naturally worked its way into our business ethos. Being healthier means eliminating as much toxins from the daily products you choose to use on yourself. Being happier means reducing unnecessary waste and living with the bare minimal.
Question: What is hannahpad?
Marcus Steve: hannahpad is a certified organic reusable cloth pad option for vaginal discharge, period, maternity and light incontinence management. They are reusable for up to three years or longer and comes with an innovative waterproof coating to keep them leak proof. Available in 6 different sizes across 16+ beautiful and colourful patterns.
Question: What are organic cloth pads?
Marcus Steve: Cotton is one of the world most chemically tainted crop in the world. What sets hannahpad apart is that we choose to make them from certified organic cotton (OCS100 certified by the Control Union). This certification is for only those final products that contains 95-100% of organic material. Why organic? Choosing certified organic is a guarantee that what is included in the product is indeed organic material that is free from pesticides and herbicides going through minimal treatment and preserving the integrity of the organically grown cotton. The certification also provides transparency, consistency and traceability with close monitoring and verification of the contents of the organically grown cotton crop. Controlled organic cultivation ensures that the final products are of the highest quality.
Question: How is hannahpad an ethical and sustainable brand?
Marcus Steve: Ethical and sustainable is at the forefront of every decision we make at hannahpad. The products we offer are all vegan-friendly and cruelty-free from the organic cloth pads to the cleaning products. The ingredients must be natural, so they do not cause harm on the environment. For example, the organic cotton internal and top sheets are all compostable and biodegradable. Laundry products are made with natural ingredients that are gentle and kind to the waterways.
Beyond what we offer as brand, we have passionate team members that help drive the message of waste reduction and sustainability. Each team member is working on their waste- free journey by replacing products with reusable options bit by bit. Packaging used for hannahpad is mostly plastic-free and can be reused or recycled.
We're also very selective on the events we decide to take part in each year. Hence, we super excited to be exhibiting for the first time at Brisbane's Eco Expo this year. The thought of housing all brands and businesses that focus on eco solutions under the one roof is so exciting. One eco step, we love this!
Question: How does hannahpad decrease their footprint by implementing eco-friendly practices?
Marcus Steve: We have found amazing packaging solutions over time such as using biodegradable and compostable packing peanuts and satchel bags to protect packages made from natural corn starch. Furthermore, any soft plastic (some unavoidable) that enters our business will not be sent out to customers but instead is properly recycled through the Red Cycle program. We make a trip to our local Woolies so we know it'll end up in an appropriate facility to be reproduced and recycled.
Believe it or not, when possible I will hand deliver hannahpad packages to neighbouring addresses on my bike. That way, I can get an exercise in and there's less carbon emission because every order that doesn't have to be delivered by a courier/ postal company really helps out the world.
Question: What should we know before buying and using organic cloth pads?
Marcus Steve: The end goal is the same: to reduce waste with single use pads. It really doesn't matter how you reach that goal. You can take the slow and gradual transition approach to ease into a slightly new routine or dive right in with a complete switch. There is no right or wrong way to make the cloth pad switch. The important thing is to just give one reusable pad a go to see whether it's suitable. Most people instantly notice the increased softness and comfort, better fit and higher absorbency with hannahpads in comparison to regular disposables. What's more, certified organic cotton does not contain any nasty chemicals meaning no skin irritation or weird odour.
Question: How are you reducing your plastic consumption at home and in the office?
Marcus Steve: We shop at a local farmer's market on Sundays so carrying our own reusable bags and basket is a must. My wife, Jenny uses and purchases her skin care from a local boutique that does refills on their range of body and skin care products. The ladies in the office love their glass or tin lunch boxes and will sometimes bring in treats wrapped up in reusable Agreena food wraps. I on the other hand will go everywhere with my flask or Keep Cup. Keeping your fluids up is important so having my flask of water in front of me at my work desk or on floor as I do Pilates is essential.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Marcus Steve: A lot happens at the hannahpad office and every day presents new tasks and challenges. We greet our employees as they begin their work day and as a team run through what is priority for the day so we're all aware what needs to happen. My role is to oversee all the finance, orders with suppliers and retailers with the odd packing and delivery.
Question: What's next for hannahpad?
Marcus Steve: We're working on several projects and ideas to expand on our current hannahpad range. It's been wonderful working closely with our customers to help us develop some of these products. These include new patterns and sizes that we're looking forward to introducing to many more hannahpad converts. Right now, hannahpads are stocked in over 150 retail stores across Australia and we hope to continue this momentum so reusable pads can sit next to disposables on shelves at most local stores and become the norm for people selecting their menstrual, maternity or LBL products.
Continuing to spread hannahpad love will be an ongoing mission for us as we begin plans to bring our hannahpad our neighbours in New Zealand.
Interview by Brooke Hunter