We are doing our best to apply sustainable practices to all aspects of our daily lives, from the way we dispose of our rubbish to the products we use. And often forgotten piece of the sustainability puzzle is feminine hygiene. Plenty of us overlook the environmental impact of this crucial aspect of women's health, using conventional sanitary products that aren't all that good for the environment.
Below, we explain why so many traditional sanitary products can harm our planet and present the best sustainable alternatives to inspire you to make the swap to sustainable period products during your next cycle.
The environmental impact of conventional sanitary products
When we choose conventional options over sustainably produced period essentials, we are affecting the environment in three main ways:
- Landfill. Globally, pads and tampons are responsible for about 200,000 tonnes of landfill each year.
- Marine plastic pollution. The source above notes that plastic tampon applicators that have been flushed down the toilet account for 0.5% of all marine plastic debris.
- Polluting and water intensive cotton manufacturing. Waste aside, many conventional period products are not manufactured using sustainable practices. As most sanitary products are made from cotton, they have a high environmental footprint in the form of high irrigation requirements and carbon-intensive manufacturing processes.
The solution? Making the switch to sustainable sanitary products.
The best sustainable period products
- Menstrual cups. A reusable alternative to tampons, menstrual cups are made from high grade silicone and can be effectively cleaned after use with a specially formulated menstrual cup wash, which reduces the risk of infection and toxic shock syndrome. Given that mentrual cups, like the Juju Menstrual Cup, can be simply washed and reused throughout multiple menstrual cycles, they prevent thousands of disposable period products from ending up in landfill or our waterways and can actually save you hundreds of dollars that would otherwise be spent on disposable hygiene products.
- Organic tampons. For those who do prefer to use a tampon, choose certified organic products that have not been manufactured using pesticides and water intensive agriculture methods. These are better for both the environment and the body, and work in the very same way as regular tampons. The TOM Certified Organic Tampons are manufactured sustainably and they biodegrade faster than traditional tampons to help keep the planet free from long term waste.
- Reusable pads and panty liners. Tampons should not be worn overnight, meaning that you may still need to use pads or panty liners throughout your period. To reduce your environmental impact during this time, we recommend choosing reusable pantyliners, like the hannahpad Organic Reusable Pantyliners.
- Period underwear. Period underwear has taken the women's health world by storm over the past few years- and with good reason! We love Mobibodi's period proof classic boyleg briefs, which look and feel like regular comfy underwear and also effectively protect you from leakage during your period - no pads or tampons required.
- Other natural period care products we love. We're firm believers that looking after yourself during your period is just as important as looking after the environment. To relax and reenergize during your time of month, we recommend reaching for the freshly-scented Elektra Magnesium Cream or massaging in some Weleda Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Body Oil.
Your period does not need to be a burden on your body nor our planet. Choosing natural, organic and sustainable sanitary items can make your period feel easier and dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. Nurture yourself and the environment during your next cycle with our range of sustainable period products.
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