In today’s society, we’re all about convenience, which means many of us are reliant on disposable items. Over the years disposable items have almost replaced their once reusable counterparts. Unfortunately, it’s come with a hefty price – destroying our planet. I’m talking about the astronomical waste problem that we have. And it’s only getting worse.
But, you can do something to help. By making even small changes in your life to be a little greener, you can reduce your waste. One of the things that I talk about a lot on this blog is about periods. Mainly reusable menstrual products, which are as the name suggest, reusable. Before you click away thinking ‘ugh gross’, please hear me out.
How To Have An Eco Friendly Period
There are a few options to having an eco-friendly period, depending on how you like to manage it:
- Menstrual Cup
- Cloth Pads
- Eco Disposable Pads/Tampons That Are Biodegradable Or Compostable (Natracare* & TOTM, etc)
Menstrual Cups – designed to sit inside the vagina and are a brilliant alternative to tampons. Instead of absorbing blood and the natural mucous lining of the vagina, a cup will just collect your menstrual blood. They can be safely left in place for up to 12hrs at a time, depending on your flow and the capacity of the cup. Menstrual cups are available in different sizes and capacities, to cater to all different bodies and flows. There are many people who think they’re too heavy for a cup, yet many menstrual cups can hold more than a tampon.
Cloth Pads – much like menstrual cups, many people also believe they are too heavy to use cloth. But the reality is that cloth can definitely cope with heavy and gushy flows. You just need to purchase a suitable absorbency and length for your needs. There are many people who use cloth to cope with the extremely heavy flow that comes with endometriosis and report the cloth works better. Cloth pads are available in a range of sizes and materials, and instead of throwing out a used pad, you just place it inside a wetbag or bucket until the end of your period. Washing is very simple, and cloth pads can be washed in the machine or by hand. Check out my getting started with cloth pads guide for more info.
Organic Cotton Pads & Tampons – If reusable products aren’t your thing, then consider switching to products that are either organic cotton or 100% cotton, and can be composted or are biodegradable. Menstrual products that aren’t 100% cotton/organic cotton tend to contain rayon, chlorine, plastic, and petrochemicals. These are really not great for the planet. The plastics do not biodegrade and can sit for hundreds of years totally untouched. Chances are, your menstrual waste will be around for hundreds of years! I can personally recommend trying out Natracare* or TOTM.
Why Should I Try Reusable Menstrual Products?
Did you know that on average, one menstruating person uses approx 15,000 pads or tampons in their lifetime? Or that the majority of these tampons and pads contain chemicals that are harmful to our bodies?
How about the obscene amount of menstrual waste washing up on our beaches after floating about in the ocean? Back in 2014, the MCS (Marine Conservation Society) conducted their annual ‘Big Beach Cleanup’. During this event they collected 2579 pads, tampons and backing strips from off our beaches. And what’s worse is that this was almost double than the previous year!
You CAN make a difference. I know some people think that they’re just one person, and nothing they do will help. But that’s not true. Any small change can help, and it could help influence others to do the same. Plus you’ll be saving yourself some money, too.
Would you consider trying reusable menstrual products?