Plastic-Free Period

From the applicator and string on a tampon, to the backing on a sanitary pad, to the wrapping you buy them in, your chosen period product could be made of up to 90% plastic, as well as other synthetic materials such as rayon, artificial fragrances, and toxic chemicals.

Period products are made in the billions, are used for four to eight hours before being disposed of, oftentimes incorrectly, and can then take over 500 years to break down.

Period products are the fifth most common trash found on the beach…more than straws…more than plastic cups.

It is estimated that the average menstruating woman uses over 11,000 disposable period products in her lifetime.

And, the cost! $60 to $120 every year, for 38 years on average, depending on the quality of the products purchased. That’s between $2300 and $4600 over time.

So, even if you are 45 and, given the average age for menopause is 51, you still have six years (72 periods!) left to do your bit for the planet.

Here's how.

  1. Switch to a menstrual cup.

After the initial purchase, it is much more cost effective than buying tampons each month. You can keep them in for up to 12 hours. Used correctly, (there are many how-to videos out there), there are no leaks, odors, or mess and you will experience less irritation and vaginal dryness than with tampons.

  1. Washable sanitary pads.

Same in terms of cost benefit. Buy pads made of organic cotton. You will find these much less irritating than plastic pads and they are quite easy to toss in with your regular wash. Great to use on light days or with the menstrual cup. Buy enough so you don't have to wash them everyday…but they will last you for years.

  1. Period underwear.

I’ve never tried these (the most popular are Thinx) because they are made with a mix of cotton and synthetic materials (nylon, polyester) which means microplastic fibers released in the water when you wash them. That’s a NO-GO for me.

Their website states that they now have a cotton version, BUT it’s impossible to know what the absorbent part is made of (it says Patented Leak Fighting Tech…hmmm). So, until I know exactly how they make these, I can’t recommend them as a plastic-free alternative.