Wednesday, June 20

Your Guide to an Environmentally Friendly Period Experience - Guest Post

I’m thankful to be living in the time that we do. With regards to periods, there are so many choices, and many of them are eco-friendly, affordable, and very convenient to use.

Think beyond disposable pads and tampons! Trust me, you’ll be happy that you did. By doing so, you’re making a better choice for the environment, your health as well as your bank account balance.

I’ll share a few of my favourite eco-friendly period protection switches with you. Consider using reusable pads instead of disposables, menstrual cups instead of tampons, and period panties instead of disposable pantyliners.

Option #1: Reusable Cloth Pads instead of Disposables

If you currently use disposable sanitary napkins, consider making the switch to reusable cloth pads. If you’re handy with the sewing machine, it’s easy to make your own. If you’re not, reusable cloth pads are easy to find on Amazon.

There are a few reasons why you might consider making this switch:

  • Cloth pads are better for the environment. They’re made from natural materials instead of plastic.
  • You can use reusable pads for 5-10 years, which will save you a lot of money.
  • You can reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals that are found in some brands of disposable pads.
  • They come in a wide range of sizes and absorbency levels. 

The only real negative to cloth pads is that you have to wash them. If you don’t care about staining, then just throw them in with your regular laundry. Or, just buy dark coloured ones. Otherwise, soak them in some cold water after using them and then put them in with your laundry.

If you’re away from home, consider getting a “wet bag” to store your soiled pad in before you get home. It’s far more discreet than a Ziplock bag!

Option #2: Menstrual Cup instead of Tampons

The average person uses 11,000-16,000 tamponsduring a lifetime. Or, you could switch them out for a handful of menstrual cups. Top-quality ones that are made from medical grade silicone can last for 5-10 years with proper care and cleaning.

Here are a few reasons beyond the eco-friendly one for why you might consider making the switch to a cup: 
  • Menstrual cups cost around $30 up-front, but you’ll have years of savings when compared to tampons.
  • They have 3-4x the capacity of tampons so are a great option if you have a heavy period.
  • They come with a lower risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. 

Some of my favourite menstrual cups brands include the Diva Cup, Lena Cup, Sckoon Cup and the Saalt Cup. For help in finding the one for you, check out this menstrual cup quiz that will help you find the perfect menstrual cup.

The major downside to menstrual cups is the learning curve when you’re just starting out. It takes the average person at least three cycles to figure out how to insert and remove one easily. But, don’t give up because the vast majority of people find that they work extremely well.

Option #3: Period Panties instead of Pantyliners

The final option for going green during your period is to switch up your pantyliners with period underwear. Most people use pantyliners because they want some extra protection in case of leaking. This can happen with incontinence, menstrual flow, or vaginal discharge. Period panties can be used for the same purpose, but they’re reusable.

There are two differents kinds of menstrual underwear you can choose from:

  • No absorbent padding, but only have a leak-proof layer in them.

  • Absorbent padding, plus a leak-proof barrier.

If you get the ones with only a barrier, but no padding then you’ll need to pair them with a pad, menstrual cup or tampons. What they can do is give you a bit of back-up in case your other form of protection leaks. Or, you could wear them if you anticipate getting your period that day. 

The period panties with padding in them can be worn alone, but many people with heavy periods use them with a cup or tampon. Absorbency levels vary, but it usually ranges from 5-10 ml (a normal to jumbo tampon’s worth).

Like cloth pads, period panties are quite durable and last as long as a regular pair of underwear does (years!). This makes them affordable, eco-friendly, and also more convenient.

For some help in choosing the best option for you, check this out: Top 5 Period Panties.

About the Author

Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found on top of a mountain, paddling the rivers, or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. You can find her on Facebook:

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