It can be difficult making the switch from disposable tampons and pads to more eco-friendly options, especially if you’ve been using disposable for years. But our environmental footprint isn’t something we have the convenience of ignoring anymore and many companies and individual sellers make it easy to take steps towards making your period more sustainable.
If you’re a diehard tampon wearer, try transitioning to menstrual cups. Pairing the cup with period underwear can help you feel secure that you won’t leak. Diva Cup, Luna Cup and Honeypot all sell menstrual cups that are reusable, washable and flexible.
The “cup” works by fitting over your cervix and collecting period blood. They often come in different sizes for the various phases of womanhood and are non-absorbent, so they can be left in place for longer than a tampon. You’ll need to empty and clean your cup at least every 12 hours. In between periods, you’ll want to sterilize the menstrual cup by boiling it for a few minutes or using diluted bleach.
Menstrual Cups are typically made out of medical grade silicone and are a healthy option for both your body and the environment.
Making the switch from disposable pads to reusable pads requires more care, but you’ll learn to love their comfort level and the money you’ll save over time. Reusable Pads are made out of soft materials such as cotton, flannel, bamboo and hemp. Unlike disposable pads, they often have an attractive design on the outside and inside are absorbent and waterproof layers. Instead of sticking to your underwear with adhesive, they have snaps, buttons or small latches that keep the pad in place throughout the day.
If they’re at school or out during the day, Reusable Pad wearers will often carry a wet bag with them, which is waterproof zipper bag that allows them to store their soiled pads until they‘re back home. To care for reusable pads, you can rinse and pre-soak the pads or you can throw them directly into the wash depending on how soiled the pads are and your level of comfortability.
Even if you wear reusable pads half of the time during your period, you’re cutting down the amount of material that doesn’t biodegrade.
Period Underwear – The popularity of period underwear has increased in recent years as younger generations are more conscience of the amount of waste they create. Larger companies like Thinx, Ruby Love, and Knix all sell underwear that can absorb your period blood and then be easily washed in the washing machine. Smaller companies you can find on Etsy also make and sell period underwear.
They have similar absorbent and waterproof layers as reusable pads, but they’re underwear and some brands can absorb up to four tampons worth of blood. Period underwear is a perfect choice for athletic young women who aren’t using tampons as well as people who want extra protection overnight.
The care and cleaning of period underwear is very similar to reusable pads. By following the care instructions, you can make sure that they last several years and offset environmental impact of disposable tampons and pads.