Whether we like it or not, periods like to turn up uninvited on a routine basis.
Chances are that while we’re rolled up into a ball on the sofa crying and eating chocolate, we’re not thinking about the impact our period-related waste is having on the environment.
Did you know that one pad is made from the same amount of plastic as four plastic bags? 1.5-2 billion menstrual items are flushed down our toilets each year which blocks sewers and invades our oceans.
It’s safe to say that we need to make a few changes when it comes to our ‘time of the month’.
Luckily, there are several ways of reducing menstrual product waste that are just as effective as any pad or tampon.
Reusable tampon applicators
DAME has created a pretty revolutionary period lifesaver when it comes to the environment. The reusable tampon applicator is made from antibacterial plastics which not only makes it ‘self-cleaning’ but also hygienic too.
The applicator can be taken anywhere and simply washed and put back into its cotton pouch for a more discrete way of carrying it around. Plus, this applicator can be safely used with any brand of tampon, so don’t worry about having to buy anything super fancy.
The applicator is made from fully recyclable materials so whenever you feel like you don’t want to use it anymore, you can simply recycle it.
Reusable and organic pads
Pads are a great option for those who don’t like or can’t use tampons, so why not make them more sustainable?
You’ve probably seen these around by now, but the reusable pads are a great way of moving towards an eco-friendlier period. They look pretty much the same as their synthetic cousins but are instead made from cotton, natural bamboo or even recycled plastic.
Instead of a sticky backing, they are secured in place using wings that have poppers. All you need to do is place the pad in your pants and do up the poppers to keep everything in place. Once used, just throw them in the washing machine and then they’re ready to be used all over again. Each pad should last for up to five years when properly cared for so not only are they better for the green spaces around us but they’re a money-saver too.
The menstrual cup has been around for yonks – since the 20s to be exact.
Made from medical-grade silicone, the cup is worn inside the body and essentially creates a little vacuum around the cervix. These little suckers can collect up to three times as much blood as a standard tampon or pad – so that’s a lot fewer toilet trips for you!
They usually need emptying every 12 hours, depending on your flow, and can be used for up to 10 years. What’s not to love about that?
There are loads of different brands out there selling menstrual cups so they’re pretty easy to come by. They average at about £25, which considering they last for 10 years it an utter bargain if you ask us.
If you’re after something a little less invasive, period pants will be just the thing you’re looking for.
All you need to do is pop them on like a normal pair of pants and voila – you’re period ready.
Made from natural fibres like our old pals’ cotton and bamboo, the pants have an inner layer of super-absorbent fabric protected with an outer leak-resistance casing. One pair of pants can hold up to four tampons worth of blood and can also be worn for things like weak bladder problems or heavy discharge. Period pants should last for about two years when washed after every use.
If you’re a little old school, you might want to stick with the classic tampon.
As we mentioned earlier, tampons are a huge contributor to plastic waste. While you can find reusable tampon applicators, like the one from DAME, you can still take it one step further in terms of sustainability.
Organic tampons are made from organic cotton or bamboo, which can be composted.
These tampons usually come with a cardboard applicator instead of a plastic one. However, while these are eco-friendlier in terms of manufacturing, the cardboard cannot be recycled. This is because it is considered to be medical waste.
Instead, you can team up your organic tampons with a reusable applicator for an extra conscious step towards sustainable periods.
So, will you be giving any of these environmentally friendly period products a try?
Let us know if you use any already or which one’s you are inspired to try!