Most women use pads and tampons during their period and are reasonably happy with them. They work quite well at doing what they’re designed to do: preventing leaks. They’re also very easy to dispose of by just throwing them in the rubbish.
But, is there a better way? One that doesn’t require throwing little bits of plastic away every single month for decades? Or wasting money on period products?
Let’s find out more about eco-friendly period products, including menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads and organic disposables.
You may have heard of the Diva Cup, Moon Cup, or Lunette Cup before. They’re the most popular brands of menstrual cups in the world and have been around for about 20 years now.
In case you haven’t, they’re cups made mostly from medical grade silicone that are designed to collect menstrual fluid. Although some companies recommend replacing them every year or two (the Diva Cup for example), most people find that the top-quality ones last for 5-10 years.
Making the switch early in your life means 4-8 cups during your lifetime instead of 10,000+ tampons. That’s a big difference for our the plant. Besides being great for the environment, menstrual cups will save you a ton of money, and are about 10 times cheaper than tampons over the long-term.
The only real problem with period cups is that it can be difficult to choose the best one because there are so many of them on the market today. Each brand also comes in a range of sizes and styles.
You can check out reviews of some of the top brands here: Menstrual Cup Reviews.
Disposable pads - out of all the period products - are the worst for the environment. They contain large amounts of non-biodegradable plastic that’ll still be hanging around the landfill hundreds of years from now.
What’s the better way? Cloth pads. They’re made from natural materials like cotton, bamboo or charcoal - and like menstrual cups they can last for years. Most people find that they need 5-6 of them to make it through their period in style.
They’re similar to disposable pads, except that they stay in place with snaps instead of a sticky backing. Cloth pads come in a wide range of absorbency levels so you’re sure to find one that’s right for your needs.
One cloth pad can last for 5-10 years and can potentially replace hundreds of plastic-filled disposables. That’s a serious win in my books, and probably is for you too. Some of my favourite brands include Hesta Organic, Blushing Bluebirds, Lunapads, and Party in My Pants. There are some very cheap cloth pads on Amazon but they often don’t work that well as preventing leaks.
Cloth pads are one of those things that it’s definitely worth spending a bit more money on up-front for quality. Remember, it’s not such a big deal because they’ll last for years.
Rather than sticking to conventional pads and tampons you can buy disposable products made with organic cotton. Almost all of them are also plastic-free, including the packaging as well.
This is a serious win for your body as you’ll be reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals during your period. These organic products are also a serious win for the environment because they’ll break down in just a few years as opposed to hundreds.
Quick tip: Organic feminine hygiene products can be expensive if you buy them at your local health food shop, or natural health store. Instead, check them out online and you’ll potentially save about 50 percent, especially if you buy them in a package of three boxes for example.
While you’re there, check out customer reviews for the products you’re considering. Quality and effectiveness varies widely for organic pads and tampons.
Ready to make the switch to green period products? Welcome to the club! You’ll be joining an enlightened group of people who are serious about helping the environment, saving money, and making a better choice for their health.
Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging friend of the Earth who can usually be found on top of a mountain, or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada.