There is a lot of buzz to ban the use of single-use products across the globe. Plastic straws have been the most commonly talked about product so far, but many women also recognize that the products they rely on for their monthly periods are also single use products. If you want to learn how to lessen your environmental impact during your period, read on!
Female Sanitary Products and the Environment
When contemplating making eco-friendly choices, you have to consider the full package of the product you are using. We know that a tampon or a pad is a single use item, but disposing this solo item after one use may not seem like a big deal to the average consumer.
But what about the all the wrapping you needed to remove to use this product? They are necessary for hygienic purposes, but exactly how many layers of wrapping did you need to open (starting with the box) before you could actually get your hands on the product?
When we start to consider the amount of plastic and packaging materials that are used for female sanitary products, we realize how quickly waste can accumulate.
Some elements of the product are made with cotton or cardboard materials, which are considered to be friendlier to the environment. Other pieces of the product are made with hard plastic which will never break down. Due to confusing recycling and disposal messaging, a lot of these products all get lumped into one ‘garbage’ pile which ends up in our landfills, unable to fully decompose.
There are also mild chemicals being used in these products which also contributes to the negative environmental impact. An example of these chemicals are the substances found in the adhesives which are required to attach pads to underwear.
There have also been investigations into the known presence of Dioxins in tampons. This ingredient is considered to be dangerous by the WHO, and is classified as a known human carcinogen. Dioxins end up in tampons as a result of a bleaching process used to treat the cotton which is used to make up the tampon.
Alone these materials may seem negligible, but when you consider how many products are used across a woman’s lifetime, it changes the scenario quite a bit.
Being aware that a monthly period will occur is an asset. It gives you the opportunity to prepare before your period arrives and try to use eco-friendly period products during your time of the month.
It may also be a worthwhile exercise to keep track of your spending on monthly female sanitary products. Unfortunately, these products are some of the highest priced items which women rely on every month. By choosing an eco-friendly option that can potentially be reused multiple times, you will not only lessen your environmental impact, but you may also save a few dollars.
The most important thing to do is complete research in advance and try different products that you think will work for your lifestyle. There are many different options available to women, so don’t get discouraged if the first one you try does not feel right for you.
Eco-Friendly Period Products
The most popular eco-friendly products on the market are menstrual cups. A small cup is inserted into the vagina and will catch all the period excrements. Later, the cup and the period contents are dumped into a toilet and flushed away. The cup needs to be properly cleaned in between uses by using boiling water to thoroughly sanitize the product. Women love using this product because of the lack of wrapping they need to tear through to actually access the cup. It is comfortable, reliable, and a great eco-friendly option.
If you have a lighter flow, you may consider using period proof underwear, which is designed to catch the endings of your period. These products range in their absorbability and are extremely comfortable. Women love being able to ditch soiled products, and simply slip into a pair of these underwear to feel refreshed. These type of products are designed to be washable, so if you are interested in further decreasing your carbon footprint, be sure to pick up a pair that can be washed multiple times.
For days when you have a heavier flow, and need target protection, you may consider using reusable period pads. These reusable period products are a great alternative for women who want to use eco-friendly pads, but do not feel comfortable inserting a cup (which is more invasive than the standard pad which sits external from the body). The reusable period pads offer varying levels of absorption and must be washed regularly to ensure longevity and proper hygiene for the user. They can be purchased in a variety of fun colors, varying prints, and are usually considered to be a budget-friendly choice.
Fortunately, new products with an eco-friendly focus are coming to market every year. This is fantastic news because it provides women with even more options to pick from to take care of their period needs.
Whether you have a heavy flow, or a bit of spotting, there are options that are suitable for you. You may consider ditching tampons and single use pads to try some of the eco-friendly options we reviewed. Menstrual cups are the most popular, followed by absorbable underwear and reusable pads.
Every time you have your period it is an opportunity to decrease waste that is harming our environment. Try something new on your next monthly period, the environment and your wallet will thank you in the long run.