Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are used and chucked globally.
During her lifetime, a woman thereby uses about 11,000 sanitary items. There are, however, many eco-friendly alternatives that will drastically reduce the sanitary waste you produce during your period. Last month, I made a short list of fast fashion giants that have jumped on the eco-bandwagon by launching a sustainable fashion collection. This time, I thought I’d make a short list of eco-friendly period products to provide you guys with another way to help minimise your carbon footprint.
- Menstrual cups: the soft, silicone menstrual cups currently on the market are designed to last you for years. This makes them cheaper than tampons in the long run; after six to eight months, you’ll actually be saving money. Furthermore, they hold up to three times more than tampons, which means you no longer have to dash to the washroom to change your pad/tampon on a night out.
- Organic, all-cotton products: if you’re not yet comfortable with applying a menstrual cup, the easiest switch is to change to a natural, all-cotton product. Most brands of tampons are chlorine-bleached or wrapped in a plastic outer. Organic brands, such as Natracare, do not use rayon, plastic, or dyes.
- Period-proof underwear: this is something I’ve only recently discovered, and am thrilled to share with you; brands such as Thinx produce underwear that can be worn during menstruation as a substitute or supplement to traditional feminine hygiene products. If you tend to have heavy flows, I would recommend combining your period undies with a menstrual cup for extra protection!
Apart from taking care of our planet by diminishing the amount of waste you produce on a monthly basis, all three options are also better for your body as you will not be exposed to the dioxins, dyes, or pesticide residues that are often used in traditional feminine hygiene products. I hope this short list made you realise how easy it is to go green when your Aunt Flo is in town, and that it can actually save you some money! Voting with your conscious thus doesn’t need to be bad for your wallet.
Suzanne Verheul is an MA literature student from the Netherlands. Currently living in London, she has a passion for books, journalism, slow-fashion, and vegetarianism.