For years, I used regular tampons. It’s probably what many people reading this article are currently using. I didn’t realize that there were better options for my health, my bank account balance, and the environment.
As soon as I heard about menstrual cups, it was like a light bulb went off and it was this whole new world of eco-friendly awesome to discover. I’ve never looked back!
I’ll give you a brief rundown of the eco-friendly period products you might consider. Switch out those tampons with a menstrual cup, disposable pads with reusable ones, the Soft Cup with a Ziggy Cup, and pantyliners with period panties.
1. Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are the ultimate eco-friendly period product. They’ve been around for decades, but the newer ones made from medical grade silicone became popular only in the last 10 years or so.
They can potentially replace hundreds or even thousands of tampons because they usually last for around five years. When they wear out, they can often be recycled, depending on where you live.
There are a few other benefits beyond the environmental ones:
- Menstrual cups don’t contain toxic chemicals in them, unlike some brands of tampons.
- Jumbo tampons hold 10 ml of fluid, while the average period cup holds 30. This means less period hassle.
- You can lower your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome with menstrual cups, when compared to tampons.
- Savings of potentially thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
Which menstrual cup to buy? A good starting point is the Diva Cup. It’s one of the most popular menstrual cup in the world for good reason! It’s a top-quality cup that’s made in Canada. Other great options are the Lunette Cup, Organicup, the Mooncup and the Lily Menstrual Cup.
2. Period Panties
If you use pantyliners for spotting, discharge, as a backup to a menstrual cup or tampon, or for light incontinence, then consider making the switch to period panties. They’re not just dark-coloured, regular underwear!
There are a two kinds of menstrual underwear. The first option is just a leak-proof layer, while the second has some absorbent padding, plus a leak-proof barrier.
Which option you choose is up to you, but they often make a better choice than pantyliners or light pads if you’re going to wear them on a regular basis.
These days, there are lots of companies making premium menstrual underwear.
One of our best options is Modibodi Period Panties. They’re an Australian company who makes some seriously nice menstrual underwear that is extremely comfortable! They have a huge range of styles, sizes, and absorbency levels. Shipping is free with a minimum order.
Some of the other good ones you may want to consider include Thinx, Dear Kate and LunaPads. The first two are the expensive, premium options.
3. The Ziggy Cup
You’ve maybe used Soft Cups (or Flex Discs) before if you wanted to have non-messy period sex. They’re flat, flexible discs that fit right below your cervix. They work great for that purpose, but the major negative is that they’re a disposable product.
In the past few months, Intimina (makers of the Lily Menstrual Cup) have come out with the Ziggy Cup. It has much the same design as the Soft Cup but it’s made from the same material as most menstrual cups. This makes it reusable for a few years.
Finally, an eco-friendly period sex option! It’s what many people have been waiting years for.
4. Reusable Cloth Pads
Next up for eco-friendly period products are reusable cloth pads. If you use disposables, then consider making the switch. Like menstrual cups, they can last for around 5 years if you care for them properly.
Disposable pads are a bit of an environmental disaster. They contain large amounts of plastic, which is non-biodegradable. Some brands contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals in them from the pesticides used on the cotton, as well as the bleaching process. This stuff isn’t good for your health, or the environment.
Top-quality cloth pads are made from natural, biodegradable materials so they’re great for our Earth. Beyond that, you’re not exposing yourself to toxins, and you can also save a bit of money over the medium to long-term.
There are a number of cloth pad options on Etsy. Or, if you’re handy with the sewing machine you can make your own. Look on Pinterest for patterns.
5. Organic Pads or Tampons
The final eco-friendly period option to consider are organic pads or tampons, instead of regular ones. They’re better for your health, as well as the environment. Most of these products contain no plastic, including the wrapping. This makes them 100% biodegradable.
What they’re not better for is your bank account balance! One of the more affordable brands is Rael. They’re a new company, but they make some excellent organic products. (editor’s note: we highly recommend checking their P Word Series if you’ve got a minute!) Rael currently only delivers in the U.S.. Other organic pads or tampons options are OHNE (U.K.), Flo (Europe), SHE (U.S.) or TOM (Australia).
Green periods? It’s very possible! Consider making the switch today.
You can also check out 6 Reasons I Opted For A Menstrual Cup And Never Looked Back.
Image source: Erol Ahmed—thank you.
Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can often be found drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. Her Hope is that a reusable period product will one day be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world.