How To Have A Sustainable Period: Everything You Need To Know About Menstrual Cups, Period Underwear, and Having An Eco-Friendlier Cycle

When it comes to period care products, most people are only knowledgeable about the two most common items - pads and tampons. However, period care isn’t always so black and white - there are a myriad of options for your cycle, from menstrual cups to period underwear to the more traditional pads and tampons, depending on what you feel most comfortable using. Perhaps one of the main reasons to consider making the switch to alternative menstrual products is due to the impact that menstrual products have on our environment. 

Statistically, the average woman will throw away between 10,000 and 15,000 tampons and pads in her lifetime, and in North America, approximately 20 million used menstrual products end up in landfills on a yearly basis. If these numbers seem shocking to you, then you may want to consider making the switch to more sustainable menstrual products! No two sustainable period products are the same, so you’ll need to do your research and find what feels comfortable for you and which products best fit your needs. 

Want to make a difference during your cycle? Here are some of our favorite sustainable period product options! 

  • Organic Tampons/Pads - If you’ve decided that you want to commit to having a greener cycle, but don’t have the means to invest in period panties or a menstrual cup at the moment, then organic tampons or pads might be the ideal option for you! These are a super accessible option that can be found at drugstores and chain retailers and won’t break the bank while still reducing your carbon footprint. Yes, these products still create some waste, but using them is a small but important step towards making a difference. Brands such as L., Lola, Cora, Maxim, and Natracare make their tampons sans chlorine or other harsh chemicals commonly found in tampons - so you can feel better about what you are putting in your body and its impact on the environment as well!
  • Menstrual Cups - Perhaps the most popular sustainable period option as of late, menstrual cups retail at about $30-$50, but will save you money in the long run since they only need to be replaced annually. Many consider menstrual cups the most sustainable period product on the market, and for good reason - since they only have to be replaced once a year and do not need to go in the washing machine, they are a sustainability gold mine. Menstrual cups are also incredible if you’re #LazyAF - they can be worn overnight and only need to be changed a few times a day! 
  • Reusable Pads & Tampons - Though they’ve been gaining popularity with the sustainability movement, reusable pads have been around for awhile now. Companies like Hesta, Glad Rags, and Lunacups have been offering reusable pads as a sustainable period product alternative for years now! A reusable pad is as simple and as convenient to use as the name suggests - they work almost exactly the same as your average pad, only they create zero waste! Plus, they come in super cute patterns and colors. Surprisingly, reusable tampons also exist  - they can be found mostly through independent sellers on Etsy. They work in the same way as a tampon without an applicator, and are perfectly safe and sanitary to use as long as you soak and wash them thoroughly. Either of these are great, zero-waste options for a more sustainable cycle! 
  • Period Disks - A menstrual disk sits in your vaginal fornix, located at the base of your cervix. It’s different from menstrual cups, which sit inside your vaginal canal. It stays in by using your vaginal walls and your natural anatomy - they stay propped up snugly against your pubic bone. While they are disposable, the average woman only uses about 8 disks per cycle, which still cuts down on the amount of waste you are creating during your period! Menstrual discs from brands like Flex are cheap and easily accessible too, ranging at around $13-$15 at stores like CVS and Walgreens. 
  • Period Underwear - The concept of free-bleeding onto a pair of period underwear might not sound like the best idea at first, but just hear us out. Period panties are a super comfy and stress free option for your cycle, and they are completely hygienic! Plus, Thinx, one of the most popular brands out there for period panties, is a feminist company that donates a portion of their proceeds to the charity AfriPads, which teaches women how to make washable pads so that low-income girls do not have to miss school due to lack of access to period products. Supporting an ethical brand and eliminating waste while on your period - now that’s a win-win! 
  • Tampons Without an Applicator - If you’re still not too sure about any of the above options and want to stick to something familiar while still working towards having a greener period, applicator-less tampons are a great option! Brands like o.b. and Kotex make tampons that you can insert with your fingers, without a clunky plastic applicator. By switching to this option, you’re creating much less waste than you would by using a traditional tampon with an applicator. It’s a great option for those looking to transition to using more sustainable period products, or those who are most comfortable using tampons!

Which of these sustainable period products are you thinking of giving a try? Have you already tried out some of these options? Let us know in the comments below!

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