We use a lot of pads and tampons over our life and it can create a lot of trash. Menstrual products can be harmful to us and the environment.
We all know that disposable products are bad for the environment but have you thought about the environmental impact of your menstrual products? And what about their impact on you?
Women will use on average 15,000 pads or tampons in their lifetime. That’s a lot of trash! And a lot of money. And a lot of that trash is plastic as few menstrual products use much in the way of natural fibers any more.
Pads are in fact 90% plastic! That means we are throwing away a lot of plastic that will remain in the environment forever and even harm wildlife because it’s not just plastic straws that are causing problems, all single-use plastic is a very big environmental problem.
And what about the impact on you? Pads and tampons can be scented which can be irritating and even contain phthalates. If it uses cotton it will likely contain pesticides, which can be harmful to you and the environment. And while organic tampons can also cause TSS, menstrual cups seem to carry a smaller risk.
“TSS is real, it’s common, and it kills. 1 in 700 women will get tampon related TSS in their lifetime. It’s estimated that nationwide 5,000 to 10,000 cases of staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome now occur each year, making it as common as Lyme disease. TSS can strike any woman or girl without warning and can act so rapidly that more fatalities among tampon users are inevitable.”
Safe & Natural Menstrual Products
How do we reduce this impact on our health and the health of the planet? Making the switch to eco-friendly period care products can help.
Products that are reusable or use natural, biodegradable materials can make a big impact. It’s also not a hard switch. You don’t need to go straight to reusable pads and menstrual cups. There are eco-friendly options that look and work just like the items you currently use.
While reusable is the most eco-friendly option even switching to better disposables can make a big impact. They are also safer for our own health.
Natural Disposable Pads
If you want an option that is very close to conventional products natural disposable options may work for you. There are many brands out there and you can even find them in most conventional grocery stores now.
Some brands to check out include-
Natural Disposable Tampons
Natural tampons often come with no applicator or cardboard applicators which are better for the environment than plastic applicators. They work just like conventional tampons and are a simple switch.
Brands to try-
Reusable Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups have been gaining popularity. Most are made of silicone and can be worn for up to 12 hours without the risks of TSS.
Menstrual cups are a great alternative to tampons. They save you a lot of money over the course of your life as they only need to be replaced around once a year or every few years, depending on a lot of factors.
Menstrual cup brands-
Cloth Menstrual Pads
Cloth pads are very comfortable and can easily be washed and used over and over again. They also don’t contain all of the plastic that disposable pads come with.
The cloth pads simply snap on to your panties so no sticky glue to mess with. Several of the pad styles have removable (still reusable) liners you can use in the pads if you change them before they soak through you can use one pad all day and just change the liners.
Cloth menstrual pad brands-
You can also find handmade cloth pads on Etsy from many different sellers. You can often request custom cloth pads as well if you aren’t finding what want in stores.
Period underwear is growing in popularity because they are so simple. Just wear the underwear like normal and you don’t even have to think about your period.
Brands to try-
You want to be sure to try different products until you find the one that works best for you. Every body is different and that’s why it’s so great to have this many options. Don’t lose hope if one or more options aren’t right for you, just keep trying.
Where to Shop for Period Care Products
We recommend you shop locally first but have given online options to help you find what’s right for you. You can also shop small businesses if you’d like to avoid Amazon.
One great place to shop for natural period care products is Grove Collaborative. They carry many of the brands talked about in this post and others.
With your first Grove Collaborative order you will get a lot of great natural personal care products for free!
For further reading check out Powerful Reasons to Switch to a Menstrual Cup.