I remember always worrying if I had disposable menstrual products at the ready when my period decided to grace me with its presence. It would give me so much anxiety. Month after month I’d spend money on items that I’d use and then throw away. It adds up over time! In fact, menstruation costs us bleeding humans nearly $1800 for just tampons in our lifetime. That’s not including the pantyliners and other products that we get in addition. It may not seem like a lot, but to some, it can be a burden.
Beyond the price, think about the environmental toll these products have. Despite if you flush (which please don’t) or trash your disposables, they quickly add up and wreak havoc. The amount of plastic that goes into a pad is almost that of 4 plastic bags. And because they are made of plastic, they will inevitably sit in landfills for longer than we will be alive.
There are also many health concerns to traditional menstrual products. Most products contain chemicals like dioxins, carcinogens, and reproductive toxins. Companies claim they are safe but there has been no conclusive studies proving that. Should we trust them on their word? I personally know several women who have experienced health issues related to the use of conventional tampons so I feel that we need real research to give menstruating individuals real, factual information on the products they are putting into and near their bodies.
Personally, I have broken up with disposables and that includes menstrual products. Today, there are many alternatives to have a healthy, natural period.
How to Have a Zero Waste Period
Menstrual cups have been around since the 70s and recently that are making a huge comeback. A menstrual cup is a reusable, silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina. They can be worn for up to 12 hours and are not prone to TSS. And no, they aren’t gross. We have gotten so disconnected from everything because of disposables that it’s no wonder a common response to cups is “ick.”
Don’t worry. If cups aren’t your thing, don’t sweat it. They aren’t for everyone. Reusable cloth menstrual pads are great alternatives disposables. They hold as much as a standard disposable pad, they do not smell when changed at the appropriate times, and are very comfortable. To launder, place pads into the wash and use your regular detergent. If you are worried about staining, dry in the sun.
Period underwear have a built in absorbing layer that can hold up to 2 tampons worth of fluid. Depending on your flow, they can completely replace disposable pads and tampons. Or they can be worn in conjunction with your tampons or cup. My first thought, when I heard about period panties was that they had to be like super granny panties with a built in pad but honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. You really can’t even tell. And they are very comfy.
Reusable Tampon Applicator
DAME. has just introduced the first ever reusable tampon applicator. It’s made from medical grade silicone, heat resistant, anti-microbioal, and comfortably smooth. Just insert your organic tampon into the applicator, insert like a disposable tampon, and rinse off the applicator. Though tampons are mostly cotton, they still can contain synthetic fibers that will not break down in compost so it’s not suggested to do so. All in all, this is still a “less waste” solution.
Or, just forgo the applicator all together and use your fingers. If it works..then well…it works. Again, tampons probably shouldn’t be composted but eliminating the plastic applicator sure does make a difference.
The best thing about waste free periods is that there are so many options – we don’t have to feel as though we are married to only one method because one may work for someone that may not work for someone else. It’s great!
Which option do you use or are most interested in using?