Your Guide to an Environmentally Friendly Period

By Jackie Bolen

Plastic waste is a big problem. It’s filling up our landfills, clogging our oceans, washing up on beaches, and killing wildlife. If you’re reading this, you’re probably concerned about this situation and looking for ways that you can make a difference.

The good news is that there are some simple things that we can do to reduce the amount of plastic waste we create. For example, using reusable containers instead of zip-top bags, carrying a reusable water bottle around at all times, saying “No” to plastic straws, just buying fewer things, etc.

What about period products? Many disposable pads and tampons contain little bits of plastic that’ll still be hanging around in 500-800 years from now.

One estimate says that the average person will throw out 300 pounds of period products during a lifetime. Can we do better?

Let’s find out!

Option #1: Menstrual Cup

The first environmentally period option you may want to consider are menstrual cups. Some of the brands you may have heard of include the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup or Mooncup. Although some companies say to replace your period cup every year or two, most people find that the top quality ones last for 5-10 years.

Think about this. If the average person menstruates for 40 years, and a menstrual cup lasts for 5 years, that’s 8 of them over a lifetime.

Estimates vary, but all of them say that the average person will use more than 10,000 tampons during a lifetime.

Thousands of tampons vs a handful of menstrual cups? The winner is clear if you’re considering which option creates less plastic waste.

As a bonus, you’ll also save a ton of money, reduce your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and lower your exposure to toxic chemicals. There isn’t much not to love!

Option #2: Reusable Cloth Pads

Disposable pads are particularly harmful for our environment. They contain large amounts of plastic, particularly the heavy, overnight ones. Is there a better way? Yes!

Consider making the switch to reusable cloth pads. They’re similar to disposables but are made mostly from natural materials like cotton, charcoal, or bamboo. Like menstrual cups, they can last for years and potentially save thousands of pads from going to the landfill.

Most people find that they need 5-6 pads to make it through their period in style. Although they cost a bit more up-front, you’ll save money over the medium to long-term by making the switch.

Option #3: Organic Pads and Tampons

The final option you might want to consider for a more environmentally friendly period are organic pads and tampons. Although they’re a disposable product, they have a number of advantages over conventional products.

First of all, organic feminine hygiene products contain no harmful chemicals. Although regular pads and tampons contain only small amounts of this stuff, exposure to it can add up over time.

Secondly, the vast majority of organics are also plastic-free, including the packaging.

Not only are you making a better choice for your health, but the environment as well. The only real negative is that these products can be a bit expensive. However, you can often save a ton of money by shopping online instead of the local health shop.

Ready to Make the Switch to Environmentally Friendly Period Products?

It really can make a difference. Imagine the possibilities if every single menstruating person in the world had a reusable menstrual cup or cloth pad in their hands? Change starts with me and you, and then spreads as we tell our friends and family members about it. Get started with eco-friendly period products today.

Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging friend of the Earth who can usually be found on top of a mountain, or drinking organic coffee around Vancouver, Canada. You can find her on YouTube or Facebook.

Learn more about menstrual cups.

 
 Learn more about  menstrual cups.

Learn more about menstrual cups.

 
 Learn more about  reusable pads.

Learn more about reusable pads.

 
 Learn more about  Natracare products.

Learn more about Natracare products.