Basic products for periods are not only really awful for personal health, but they’re also damaging to the environment. Many other things are hurting the environment such as animal agriculture and non-reusable plastic but the difference between these things and period products are the fact that period products are necessities of life (eating animals and using plastic bags are not) for approximately half of the world’s population at some point in their life, for most people this equates to about 500 periods in their lifetime. It’s estimated that a person can go through 8,000 to 15,000 disposable pads, tampons, and liners during this time. This is an amount that is entirely avoidable and can be replaced with a handful of one-time purchases.
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Besides environmental reasons and getting away from toxic ingredients, other benefits to switching over to reusable products include:
- Less cost: The average person spends $150 to $300 per year alone on menstrual products. Reusable products are a one time purchase.
- Less mess (really!): Instead of putting items in the trash, getting blood all over everything else, these items can just be washed.
- More discreet: You know the noise menstrual product packaging makes when you open them? The kind of sound that makes it sound like you’re snacking on chips in the toilet? Reusable products are silent and leave no trace.
Reusable menstrual products are by far the best options for having a healthy & green period. This includes:
Reusable pads & underwear
Reusable pads are similar to the pads we’re all familiar with, just made of multiple layers of fabric which can be washed and then reused indefinitely. There’s also reusable underwear which have absorbent, washable fabric built in. After use just like normal pads or underwear they’re thrown in the wash (or washed by hand), dried, and reused.
Wegreeco Bamboo Reusable Pads: 16.99 to 21.99. Pack of 5, sizes small to large, 6 colors.
Hesta Organic Cotton Reusable Pads: 33.99. Pack of 3, sizes slim to jumbo, 2 colors, optional with wings or no wings.
Love My Bamboo Reusable Pads: 15.98 to 17.98 Pack of 6, sizes small to large, comes in 3 predetermined colors.
Intimate Portal Period Panties: 14.90 to 39.90. Multi-color and multi-pack options. Sizes small to 6x.
I, personally, strongly prefer pads but most people prefer tampons for being appropriate in more activities such as swimming, as well as being more discreet and comfortable. Menstrual cups, similar in function to tampons, are made of flexible medical grade silicone. They’re entered into the vaginal opening and unlike other kinds of products, collect the blood instead of absorb it. It’s then dumped in the toilet and washed in a sink before being reused.
If used properly according to instructions, the cup has little to no risks – while tampons are a direct cause of a deadly disease called toxic shock syndrome which can occur in the same time as many people work, go to school, or sleep in a day. There’s no reason to keep using them, or let anyone you love keep using them.
Whatever you choose to use, be sure to make a choice not only for yourself but for the world around you. Switching to reusable or at least more eco-friendly options for your menstrual cycle is so easy, beneficial to you, and does the environment a ton of good.
(Friendly reminder that all sorts of people, all sorts of genders, have menstrual cycles and it is not something exclusive to women – as well as not all women have periods for various reasons. Happy pride month.)