3 Ways to ‘Green’ Your Period

Think tampons or pads are your only options when that time of the month comes around? While they’re overwhelmingly the most popular choice, there are women reaching for Earth-friendly alternatives.

The average woman will use about 11,400 tampons and throw away up to 300 pounds of feminine hygiene products in her lifetime.  That adds up to almost 20 billion disposable menstrual products in North American landfills each year. And while not everyone thinks those numbers are worth panicking over—they only make up .5 percent of our personal landfill trash, about the same as our use of plastic plates and cups—for those making the switch, here are three environmentally friendly options to choose from:

 

Menstrual Cups

Made out of latex or silicone, menstrual cups—you may have heard of the DivaCup, Keeper, or Moon Cup—collect menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it. Cups are inserted like tampons, and emptied, washed with soapy water, and re-inserted as needed. They can usually be worn for almost twice as long as a traditional tampons, with no risk of irritation that can sometimes come with bleached or synthetic fibers. And though they cost $30-$40 each, they’ll last you up to 10 years.

 

Washable Cloth Pads

It’s not just concern for the environment that has some women switching to reusable cloth pads. Because pads and tampons are considered medical devices, manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the materials and ingredients they’re made up of—though some estimate that a conventional sanitary pad may contain the equivalent of four plastic bags. Try brands like Luna Pads or even make your own! Washable, reusable cloth pads are worn like regular pads…with the caveat that you have to wash each one after each use, which may be more effort than it’s worth to some.

 

Sea Sponge Tampons

Yes, they’re really the sea sponges that grow on the ocean floor—after they’re harvested, have the outer shell removed, and are cleaned, cut, and shaped. It works just like a traditional tampon, without the waste. Sea sponges are also free of chemicals used to bleach traditional tampons and pads—and although the process used during bleaching was changed in the late 1990’s to eliminate dioxin residue (a known carcinogen), a 2005 study sponsored by the FDA Office of Women’s Health still found “detectable levels of dioxin in seven brands of tampons.”

 

Want to cut your period’s impact on the environment but not ready to make the switch to the above options? Try pads that aren’t individually wrapped (the extra packaging is unnecessary, because pads aren’t sterile) or tampons without applicators to cut down on waste.

193 comments

Richard A
Richard A7 months ago

TY.

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Twila H
Twila H8 months ago

TYFS

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Magdalena C.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you!

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Monika Ka
Monika K2 years ago

Thanks

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sandra vito
Sandra Vito2 years ago

gracias

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Elizabeth Brawn
Elizabeth Brawn2 years ago

i ma going to use the ''luna''

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Livnam Kaur
Livnam Kaur2 years ago

I've used cloth pads for about a year now, they are much more comfortable than brands like Libresse and Always. It's so nice that I always have pads available.

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Laura M.
Laura M2 years ago

I use a locally made brand of the cloth pads. I thought it might be weird at first but I very quickly grew to prefer them. So much less waste. I just toss them in the wash, it's really no big deal. I've also found them to be more comfortable than the plastic feel of other pads. The plastic ones were causing irritation because of trapped moisture and I no longer have that issue, just comfort. I do keep store liners on hand however, for certain outfits that require something extra discreet since the cloth ones are a little more bulky, but for normal every day use with regular clothes the cloth ones are awesome.

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Genoveva M M.
Genoveva M M2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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