So we need to talk. About menstrual health. Most period products are causing tons of pollution every month because they’re made with plastic and harsh chemicals.
But, it’s all good, because I’m going to tell you how you can have a period that has a better impact on the planet and on your health.
This is a topic that is kind of taboo for some people. I’m not sure why since it’s a completely natural process, but I guess that’s how it is for many people.
Right now though, we are going to talk about it because it’s really important.
This post contains affiliate links meaning that if you purchase something through a link in this post I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. If you want to learn more please read my disclaimer.
Here are the facts
Did you know that every year about 45 billion sanitary products are used and thrown away all around the world?
And it takes a tampon 500 years to decompose. What’s more, manufacturers are not legally required to list the ingredients in sanitary products. So there are a lot of pesticides and toxic chemicals in these products.
They go very near, and inside, a very large and absorbent opening in your body. And these chemicals can stay in your body for up to 7 years. I don’t know about you, but that sounds quite terrifying to me.
Just as it’s bad for your health, it’s also bad for the planet. The pesticides used to grow the cotton for your pads and tampons contaminate freshwater sources and soils.
And when you’ve discarded the used pad or tampon it can end up in the ocean, causing a lot of harm to sea life.
All in all, commercial sanitary products are just bad, period (pun intended). OK so now that we got that over with, what can you do about it? I’m going to give you 3 options to choose from.
How to have a sustainable period
If you live in South Africa and you want to use sustainable period products, you can find the products you want at FaithfulToNature.
They ship everywhere in South Africa. And if you sign up for their newsletter you get a R100 voucher to spend in their online shop. You also get loyalty points for each purchase so you can earn money back.
They also source all their products ethically and have recyclable packaging. I get all my natural products from them and highly recommend them.
You can find out more about their period products and their values by clicking the button below.
The first thing you can do, if you don’t want to make any radical changes, is to buy organic sanitary products. They don’t contain any chemicals or pesticides.
Organic sanitary products decompose within 5 years. There are no plastic particles that can leach toxins into the earth either.
It’s a small change with a big impact. The only thing is that they tend to be a little more expensive than commercial sanitary products.
But the true cost of commercial sanitary products outweighs the cost of organic products by a whole lot. So it’s worth it, really, if you think about it.
And if you want to make more of an impact, you can get a monthly subscription box from Fempowered.
Along with sending you sustainable period products each month, they are empowering other women who struggle with access to menstrual hygiene.
I am not affiliated with them, but I thought you should know about their awesome work.
Now for the radical changes
If you live in the United States and would like to start using reusable period products, I highly recommend GladRags.
They even have a learning centre where you can find out all about how to use these products and how to clean them.
You can check out their website and learn more about them by clicking the button below.
The reusable ‘tampon’
It’s not really a tampon, it’s called a menstrual cup that catches your blood. It’s made from silicone and is flexible to fit into your vagina. Once inside it just sits there perfectly collecting blood while you go about your day.
It creates a vacuum so there are no leaks. Just like a tampon, you don’t notice it.
A few hours later you just take it out and empty the contents into the toilet, rinse it off and put it back in.
You can use one of these for years on end without needing to replace it. That’s a lot of tampon waste that you’re saving by using the cup instead.
It’s not messy and it doesn’t take up a lot of space when you’re out and about. If you’re used to using tampons then the menstrual cup is a great way to go because it’s not that difficult to use.
It also doesn’t leave any particles behind in your vagina, like a normal tampon, or cause any tears in your vaginal wall.
The reusable pad
Reusable pads are made from absorbent cloth and the wings clip together around your underwear so there’s no adhesive. It does what a normal pad would do except you have to wash it when you’re done using it.
Hence, the term reusable. It sounds gross but honestly, it’s just a little blood. I’ve been doing it for years and I haven’t had any problems.
You just use some laundry soap (natural and biodegradable preferably) and cold water. Sometimes I use a natural shampoo that I’m no longer using as shampoo.
You can even put it in a washing bag and throw it in the washing machine. Just rinse it off quickly first.
I like the pads better than the menstrual cup because I never really liked tampons and it kind of makes my body uncomfortable.
So it was just a better fit for me. But it’s not as absorbent as commercial pads so you do need to change them a little more often.
They’re not messy either, surprisingly, since you can just fold them and use the clips to secure it like a package of sorts.
So if you’re not home you can store the used ones without having to worry about them making a mess in your bag.
What’s nice about these pads is that most companies who make them print patterns on them that hide stains. That way it doesn’t look like they’re not clean, because stains are inevitable.
I also find that they’re very gentle on your skin. I used to get rashes when I used commercial pads, but since I started using the cloth pads I haven’t felt any discomfort.
Like the cup, you can use it for years and avoid the waste of thousands of commercial pads. The cloth is also made from natural materials and it doesn’t contain any chemicals.
Those 3 products are the way to go when you want to switch to a more sustainable period.
They can be a little expensive at first but reusable sanitary products can be used for years, so they will earn your money back and end up saving you more money in the long run.
If you choose to use organic sanitary products, the higher price compensates for the health of the planet and your own health since there are no toxins entering your body.
I hope this was helpful for you and that you learned something new about menstrual health and the planet.
Let me know in the comments if you use reusables and what your experiences are.
Cheers for now,
Pin for later:
- How to have a natural hair care routine without going no ‘poo
- A beginner’s guide to zero waste
- The ultimate zero-waste gift guide