Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products
The effect of using disposable menstrual products on the environment is staggering. It is estimated that a menstruating person’s life will produce almost 300 pounds of waste. This waste can take years to break down, leaving a lasting impact on the environment and contributing to mass pollution and harm to the planet.
Mass pollution of plastic products affects several different aspects of the environment. The breakdown of plastics in certain habitats creates an accumulation of toxic contaminants, such as PBTs, PCBs, and pesticides. Whatever doesn’t break down into chemicals, can be ingested by sea creatures and other animals, causing them to choke or eventually die from the build-up of foreign objects in their digestive system.
So, what can be done to decrease the amount of waste that comes from using disposable menstrual products? Luckily, there are now several options for menstruating individuals who wish to cut down on their waste production.
Options For Reusable Menstrual Products:
One of the most popular options is the menstrual cup.
Menstrual cups are small silicone cups that can be inserted into the vagina while bleeding occurs. The cup collects menstrual blood while being left in the vagina for up to 4 - 12 hours. It can then be removed and emptied into a toilet or sink. After their cycle is over, one simply has to cleanse their menstrual cup by placing it in boiling water, to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated. These cups can be used for up to ten years, but they are recommended to be replaced approximately every year.
Reusable pads are easy to use and rarely have to be replaced. Some people prefer to rinse out the blood from their reusable pads before placing them in the wash, however, this is not necessary. One can easily wear their reusable pad all day, throw it in the washing machine, dry it and wear it again.
Reusable underwear, or period underwear, is quite similar to reusable pads. This is underwear that can be purchased that has special absorbency made to catch menstrual blood. These allow one to free-bleed confidently without any worries of leaks throughout the day. They can also be cleaned by rinsing in the sink, or simply being thrown in with your laundry. They are available in all different sizes and colours, just like regular underwear. These are a great option for someone who is starting out with their period, and not fully comfortable using menstrual products yet.
Reusable Tampon Applicators
If you are still happy with using tampons, there are options to reduce the plastic waste that comes from the applicators. The first being applicator-free tampons. These are recommended for those who are comfortable inserting their tampon themselves.
The second option is a reusable tampon applicator, which is typically made of a rubber and steel blend. These can be rinsed after use and reused countless times after that.
Whichever technique you choose, the greater impact you will have on the environment after switching to eco-friendly menstrual products will be appreciated by our planet. It may feel like a small change at the moment, but the smallest changes can sometimes have the biggest impact.
Of course, reusable menstrual products aren’t necessarily as accessible as typical menstrual products. There is the issue of where they are accessible. It is much less common to find reusable menstrual products in retail stores. They are more obtainable in online stores, which can be more expensive due to shipping costs.
This is one of the biggest barriers to low-income people attaining reusable products. For individuals who rely on free tampons and pads from certain resources, the idea of paying for something that will cost them extra money is not ideal. This is an issue that can be overlooked when starting a conversation about eco-friendly products, and something that should be considered as we move toward a more sustainable future and open conversation about access to menstrual products.
That being said, we believe in the sustainability of the planet, as well as the spread of menstrual product knowledge, and encourage those who follow us to look into and consider the use of more eco-friendly products.