Zero Waste Period
(GENTLEMEN, YOU can tune in too, but warning we're about to talk all things period zero waste)
So, I have been wanting to write this blog post for some time now. I feel like I say this all the time (about trash), but I had never considered how much trash is produced during just one period. It's actually insane to think about how much waste we produced during JUST ONE female's entire period life. Also, can I mention how EXPENSIVE tampons and pads can be?!
On average, one woman uses 20 tampons and/or 15 pads (this doesn't even include panty liners for those lighter days) for a single period. And most of us have a period every month... so this means 250 tampons a year and 180 pads a year!!! Just think about how many years you have had a period and how many more there are to come. Don't worry though, there are alternatives that are zero waste and eco-friendly.
Disclaimer: I have to be honest, I initially could not imagine using these zero waste alternatives because I thought it would be gross, but after you get that initial worry out of your head, it really isn't that bad. I mean it is your body, so get comfortable with it. But, I remember in college one of my roommates ordered a diva cup, and I thought it was a good idea in theory but actually disgusting. I remember saying, "Oh, I don't think I could ever use one of those." The whole idea of it all really had me freaked out. So, just over a year down the road and here I am praising menstrual cups for existing. Now, I actually couldn't imagine using tampons again.
- ZERO WASTE ALTERNATIVE FOR TAMPONS -
So, if you haven't heard of a menstrual cup before, it is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a silicone "cup" that you can use as an alternative for tampons. One cup costs about $15-$30 depending on the brand. The initial cost may seem steep for some, but think about how much money you have thrown away on tampons already (those things aren't cheap). Also, one cup can last up to 10 years! The different brands of cups are slightly different shapes, and most brands have different size cups depending on whether you have had children or not. The cup will come with it's own little bag to store and carry.
If you buy one cup and it doesn't work for you, don't give up immediately. You may just need a different size or try a different brand that is shaped differently. Also, I have heard some people needing to cut the little tip on the end if it sticks out too much, just make sure not to cut too short so that you can still pull out the cup.
I found this photo below online to help show you all the differences between all the menstrual cups. Check it out and try one!
- ZERO WASTE ALTERNATIVE FOR PADS -
These are exactly what they sound like too. I bought a few pairs of different styles of panties from Thinx for different days of my cycle. They have many different styles that hold different amounts depending on your flow. Since I have bought mine, they have expanded to include cotton panties as well, which I applaud because I was probably most surprised by the fabric of the panties. The outside is kind of like swimsuit material, but it really has not bothered me.
I actually wear a pair during each day of my period as a back up with my cup. I'm just always self conscious of what may happen. I have never leaked out of the underwear though, so I think they work great! I didn't buy a pair for each day of period either, because I really didn't have the money at the time, so I hand wash the panties each day and let them air dry overnight. There are directions for washing with each order, but really just rinse out all the excess blood, then you can throw them in the wash and air dry.
This may be too much information, but before when I would wear a pad, it would irritate me and I could not stand it. Since wearing the period panties and ditching all those chemical laden pads, I have had no discomfort during my period (other than of course the normal period discomfort).
Reusable Pads/Panty Liners
I personally haven't tried these since I bought the period panties and I think they do their job, but I have read that these are also a great alternative. I have seen them on multiple websites including PackageFreeShop.
On the shop, they have different sizes and pads for light days and for those heavier days. After use, you remove the pad from the holder, soak and then throw in the wash. These can also be tumble dried on low heat and are 100% organic cotton. If you can't imagine wearing period panties, then I think these are a great option. The style is just like wearing a regular pad or panty liner just without all the waste!
These are all the great options I've found for a zero waste period. The packaging of the menstrual cup I received was in a paper box with paper instructions, which are recyclable or compostable. The Thinx panties did come in individual plastic wrap, but I try to think about the amount of plastic I'm reducing through the purchase of those few panties. And since I haven't bought the reusable pads and panty liners, I cannot say for sure, but I do know that at PackageFreeShop, they ship completely waste free. So, I can assume the packaging would be very eco-friendly.
We all have periods (ladies), so let's try and reduce the amount of waste produced from them. If you all have any questions about zero waste periods or on any of the products above, please comment below or email me! I am happy to help in any way I can!!