Before I made the switch to a more low waste period routine, I was accustomed to the typical way of managing my period: pads, tampons, and the occasional chocolate bar. I thought this was normal and something I had to do. As it turns out, I just wasn’t taught about the alternative (and more environmentally friendly) ways of managing my period.
So here’s what I learned and what you need to know about switching to a low waste period routine.
According to the Women’s Environment Network, plastic is a major component of traditional menstrual products and it’s estimated that up to 90% of the material of a pad and 6% of the material of a tampon is plastic. On average, a menstruating human will have about 456 periods over 38 years and at about 20 pads or tampons per period, that’s a lot of plastic waste ending up in the landfill. Bummer, right?
Knowing this, I decided (based on the ability of my body) to make the switch to alternative and earth-friendly menstrual products to reduce the amount of plastic waste I was sending to the landfill each and every period cycle.
Guys, I’m happy to report that I will never be going back to disposable pads and tampons again. They’ve really changed my life.
My current routine consists of two alternative menstrual products: one, a menstrual cup and two, reusable period underwear. I use the menstrual cup as my primary method of managing my period. I use the DivaCup, but there are other brands like the OrganiCup, and the Lunette Period Cup. The DivaCup is made out of silicone and can be reused for up to 10 years! It’s super easy to insert (only took me a couple of tries to get it right!) and remove (it has a convenient little stem at the bottom). Cleaning and sanitizing it is also a breeze — just take a look at the manufacturers manual to get it right. Once the silicone becomes compromised due to wear and tear or improper cleaning, it’s time to replace it.
As backup, I use Thinx reusable period underwear to catch any leaks I may have due to improperly inserting my DivaCup. Reusable period underwear is similar to disposable pads because they catch menstrual blood in an absorbent layer of fabric. Like disposable pads, reusable period underwear must be changed a couple of times a day depending on your flow.
However, reusable period underwear is different because once they are soaked in water and subsequently washed in the laundry, they can be re-worn.
There are two other eco-friendly alternative menstrual products that I personally have not yet tried, but that I think deserve to be mentioned. The first is a reusable tampon applicator. Thinx has recently come out with a reusable tampon applicator that can be used for individual tampons without the need for single-use disposable applicators. The second is reusable pads and these are similar to reusable period underwear, but at a more affordable price point.
If you are able to, I challenge you to pick one eco-friendly alternative menstrual product from above and try it out for a couple of cycles.
Change is hard, I get it. But what an awesome thing to do for you and the planet.
Featured Image: Instagram/@taylordturner
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