Sustainability and living a zero waste lifestyle are trending topics but what does it mean to have a plastic-free period?
Most of us do our best to be environmentally friendly. We reuse, reduce and we recycle but what do we do with our sanitary products? If you’re anything like the millions of people who have a period, you don’t normally think about what happens to your sanitary product once you’re finished with it.
You might look at it briefly, if at all, out of curiosity or to make sure your body isn’t producing anything concerning or to make sure there aren’t any holes or leaks before unceremoniously tossing it in the bin. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Unfortunately it’s more like out of sight and into a landfill.
Why switch to a plastic-free period?
Let’s break this down. The average person uses 10,000 to 12,000 sanitary products in their lifetime and most of these products are non-biodegradable and end up sitting in a landfill for at least 500 years. To put it into perspective, it’ll take a tampon the
same time to disappear as it’d take you to watch every season of ‘Friends’ 51,563 times.
Sanitary products aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re bad for your body.
Pads contain plastics, cellulose gel and pesticides and tampons contain toxins, can disrupt your vagina’s natural environment and can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Here are three plastic-free period alternatives
1. Period Underwear
The biggest misconception about period underwear is that it’s exactly like regular underwear and nobody wants to walk around with damp underwear. This is half true – well, the part about period underwear being like regular underwear anyway. Most period underwear, when created well, looks and feels just like regular underwear but it’s made with advanced technology that wicks away the moisture so you don’t feel damp and you don’t have to worry about any leaks.
Don’t let the name mislead you, period underwear isn’t just for periods. It can be worn if you have light spotting, heavy discharge, light bladder leakage or if you want to work up a sweat but don’t want the not-so-stylish sweat stains. Additionally, you can wear them to bed without worrying about leaking and staining your sheets! Our pick is Modibodi’s extensive range that caters for light all the way through to heavy flow.
The best thing about period underwear is that it’s reusable and they can be worn as a total replacement for pads and tampons! All you need to do is give your undies a rinse under cold water, pop them in the washing machine and let them air dry.
2. Menstrual cups
If you’re not entirely sold on the idea of period underwear, you can try menstrual cups! What exactly is a menstrual cup? It’s a handy little device that collects your flow instead of soaking it up like a tampon or a pad. Also unlike tampons and pads, these are low cost alternatives and with the proper care, one menstrual cup can last you between 1 to 10 years.
A few other perks of using a menstrual cups are:
- Less/no odour – Blood is not
exposed to the air so you don’t have to worry about any embarrassing
- Less trips to the bathroom – You
only need to change your menstrual cup every 12 hours (depending on your
If you suffer from period paranoia you can also pair a menstrual cup with period underwear for additional peace of mind. Our pick is the Modibodi + Lunette Pack.
3. Reusable cloth pads
If you’re a fan of pads, you could try reusable cloth pads. They’re environmentally friendly, cost-effective and pretty alternatives to disposable pads. They’re washable and are suitable for menstruation, light bladder leakage (LBL) and incontinence.
We recommend choosing a brand that uses organic cotton so not only are you getting a plastic-free period, you’re cutting toxins as well.
These are just three eco-conscious options. How do you go with the flow?