Sustainable and eco-friendly period products are on the rise, giving women and girls an alternative to disposable pads, tampons, and liners. From reusable cotton pads to menstrual cups and period underwear, there is something out there for everyone.
In this blog, I talk about the different options available, helping you decide which one/s suit your needs. At the end I’ll tell you which one I personally use and my thoughts on them.
Why make the switch?
- Save on single-use plastic. We all know that most disposable period products are wrapped in plastic. This is a massive concern of the amount of plastic pollution.
- In the UK, we send 200,000 tonnes of disposable period products to landfills each year. Yuck! Surprisingly, (or maybe not), it takes 500-800 years for them to decompose.
- The number of toxins within the disposable period products can be harmful to a woman’s health – including period problems, endometriosis and polycystic ovaries. Womensvoice.org show what chemicals were found in disposable period products and what health implications these chemicals have on your body.
- Value for money. Each month, each girl and woman use approximately 22-period products, that’s 11,000 in a lifetime. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of money spent on them – to literally throw in the bin. Using eco-friendly period products cuts down the number of products needed as well as the cost implication. I’ll go into how many reusable products you’ll roughly need under each heading.
So making the switch to eco-friendly period products comes down to money, health and the environment. For me, each one of these is important and contributed to my decision to switch.
Let’s take a look at the options available.
Reusable Cloth Pads
Reusable cloth pads are one of the most popular eco-friendly period product alternatives to disposable menstrual products. They contain several layers of the breathable and absorbent inner layer. Cloth pads are used in a similar way to disposables, but instead of throwing them away, you simply wash them. Similar to using cloth nappies I suppose.
You can check out my post about our experience with cloth nappies here.
Cloth pads come in a variety of styles, sizes, and thicknesses, such as those specifically designed for overnight or heavy-flow days. It’s estimated that you would need approximately 10-15 pads – this could last you 5-7 years if good care is taken of them.
It’s possible to wash the dirty cloth pads in your normal washing load, or if you don’t like the thought of that, why not rinse them out first then pop them in the wash? Try not to use heavy fabric conditioners as this can reduce the absorbency level.
I found a UK-based company that’s giving away a free reusable cloth pad! All you have to do is pay the P&P. What an amazing idea! Here’s the link.
I’ve been wanting to try cloth pads for a while, well there’s one on the way to me now haha. I’ll keep you updated on my thoughts about it.
Reusable menstrual underwear
This is a newer option that’s gaining in popularity. It looks like any other pair of underwear, but the inside has an extra leak-proof layer either built into the design or as a separate insert.
Simply wear them as normal underwear, and wash them as normal underwear.
It’s estimated that a woman would need about 5-7 pairs per cycle. And it’d possible to wear one pair for up to 12 hours – be sure to check the absorbency level that’s suitable for your flow.
You can also get swimwear ones – I know a girl that uses these and says they’re great! These sound like a good option for young girls who are on their period but want to go swimming and are not ready to use tampons.
Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone and come in different sizes. These cups can be used for up to 12 hours at a time! Depending on your flow, they should be emptied and washed regularly.
Because menstrual cups collect blood rather than absorb it, they are both eco-friendly and are considered a healthier option as it eliminates direct contact with potential irritants or toxins.
To get started with menstrual cups, pick the right size for you. It’s recommended that you research brands to find one that fits your lifestyle best. One cup is enough and will last your years! Make sure to check your cup for any damages – you’ll need to get a new one if there’s any sign of damage.
This is the one ladies…this is the one I use.
I’ve been using it now for nearly 4 years. I wanted one as I was due on my period when on holiday and didn’t want the worry of the tampon string hanging out of my bikini!
I love it. Use it every month. Yes, the same one. You just wash it and sterilise it in hot water. Done. The one I have even comes in a cute little carrier pot. It’s called Lily Cup by INTIMINA.
One thing I will say though…you need to know your body for this one (if you know what I mean!) It’s not as easy as inserting a tampon. Because it doesn’t expand like a tampon, you need to get it sitting in the perfect position.
Although it took a little time for me to find the right position, I wouldn’t go back to tampons.
I hope you found this post useful. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming trying to decide on the right eco-friendly period products for yourself.
Let me know in the comments or via e-mail if you’ve used any of these and what you think of them – and even if you found this post useful!