It feels like creating trash is unavoidable these days. Everything either comes in plastic, can’t be recycled, or needs to be thrown away after one use. Unfortunately, period products are no exception. The first disposable period products went on the market in 1921 when Kotex began selling tampons in drugstores, and the rest is history.
In 2018, 5.8 billion tampons were purchased in the United States and disposable period products end up piled high in landfills.
Luckily, there are a few zero-waste period products on the market, and each one has its pros and cons. Let’s go over them all to see which one will fit your needs best.
Diva cups are wildly popular these days. If taken care of properly, these can last up to 10 years and provide up to 12 hours of protection. They are either made of silicone or latex rubber, so they aren’t suitable for anyone with allergies to those materials.
After each period, you should wash the cup with soap and water then sterilize it by putting it in a bath of boiling water for around 2 minutes. The water shouldn’t be actively boiling when the cup is in it, just freshly boiled and steaming hot.
The biggest con of using a diva cup is that it can be quite invasive. The sensation of inserting it can be quite intense and even a little painful. This gets easier over time, but it is something to be aware of.
Reusable pads are easier to use than diva cups. They are made from layers of super-absorbent fabric and work just like disposable pads. To wash them, simply toss the pads in the washing machine like any other article of clothing. You can rinse them off before washing them, but you don’t have to.
If you don’t have access to a washing machine, using cloth pads may be inconvenient. They also take time to wash and dry, so having enough for a few days is essential.
Period underwear are fantastic. You don’t need to worry about a shifting pad or inserting a diva cup. The absorbent underwear is incredibly comfortable and protects you from leakage very well.
Like reusable pads, period panties can be tossed in the washing machine. They should also be rinsed beforehand, we recommend rinsing them as soon as you take them off before putting them in your laundry basket.
Eco-Friendly Disposable Products
Not everyone will want to or can use reusable period products. They might be inconvenient, unavailable in your country, or an expensive investment for you. Luckily, there are a few great disposable period products out there that offer the period protection you need with less environmental impact.
These tampons by TOP are made with plant-based applicators and organic cotton. They lack the toxins, chemicals, synthetics, fragrances, and dyes many other tampons have and claim to be made sustainably and ethically. While there’s always the option to completely opt-out of using a tampon applicator, TOP tampons are a great option if you feel like you need the extra help inserting one.
These sanitary pads are made from organic cotton and don’t have chlorine, fragrances, or pesticides. They offer great protection and have great reviews. They come in a multitude of sizes to fit every woman’s needs without compromising on the planet.
Small Changes, Big Impact
Getting started on your zero-waste period journey may be a little daunting at first, but once you have the appropriate products, you won’t have to buy anything for at least a few years. Think about how you feel about inserting a diva cup or needing to wash reusable pads or period panties when deciding which product to go for. You may enjoy using multiple of them during your cycle, too.
That time of the month isn’t always kind to us, but that doesn’t mean we have to turn around and treat the environment similarly. So, do what you can to minimize your period waste, and enjoy the newfound freedom of not having to buy period products monthly anymore.
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!