Say hello to eco-friendly periods with our handy guide to the best reusable alternatives to single-use tampons and pads. It’s time to make the switch to menstrual cups, period panties, or reusable pads. Your vagina and the planet will thank you.
Periods. We have them every month, yet they are still largely taboo. Our cycles are completely natural and without them, humanity would cease to exist. Yet the embarrassment and burden it brings to millions each month is all too real. And that’s before we mention the single-use plastic products we’ve been brought up using and the staggering amount of waste it creates. But it’s ridiculously easy to make the transition to eco-friendly periods.
There are over 100 million women worldwide using disposable sanitary products, and most women menstruate for around 40 years in total. We know the average woman uses roughly 9,000 to 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, so you do the maths.
That is a sh*t load of tampons. Aside from the obvious impact to our landfills (or worse for those flushers out there – our oceans), the chemical-laden production coupled with the ‘disposable’ packaging is not doing anyone any favours. So what’s the alternative if you don’t want the additional burden of contributing to the waste issue?
Thankfully, in recent years we’ve seen an increase in open, empowering conversations, brands removing the shame, and products being designed by women for women. Eco-friendly periods have never been easier thanks to these brilliant products. Ladies, we can make the switch to green menstrual products. And speaking as the converted; it’s game-changing.
So, what are the sustainable alternatives?
Reusable, medical-grade silicone menstrual cups are designed to be a convenient, safe and eco-friendly alternative to tampons and sanitary pads. We’re fans for a few reasons – they don’t smell, you can use them for years (up to 15!), they don’t cause rashes, and you can leave them in for up to 12 hours.
Menstrual underwear has been engineered to be moisture-wicking, absorbent and leak-resistant. These panties are designed to be worn as a backup for your tampon, menstrual cup or as a replacement for your pads.
Similar to period pants, cloth pads absorb your flow but they strap over your normal underwear so you can change them out throughout the day when needed.
Sea Sponge Tampons
If a menstrual cup doesn’t work for you, check out sea sponge tampons instead. They are all-natural, come from the sea, and are the perfect substitute for regular tampons.
“But…they are more expensive”
Ahhh, that ol’ chestnut. Now, before you start with the excuses about reusable products being pricey, let’s do some tampon maths.
Say on an average period you go through 4 tampons per day x 5 days of a period = 20 tampons per cycle x 456 periods = 9,120 tampons. At 36 tampons per box, that’s 253.3 boxes x $7 = $1,773.33. (Thanks to Huffington Post for the numbers). Not so cheap now, hey?
“But…are they period-proof?”
They sure are. These products have been beautifully engineered and are 100% period-proof – tried and tested. Of course, it is an adjustment, but in the end, your vagina and the planet will thank you.
So what are your options to ditch those plastic laden tampons and pads, save money and skip those monthly supply runs? Here’s our round-up of our favourite brands making excellent products that are worth trying now.
Where to shop
The Period Co.
Singapore based The Period Co. specializes in mindful menstruation and stocks everything you need including moon cups, period underwear, cup wipes and cup cleanser. Founder Ann Gee discovered reusable alternatives online and when she couldn’t find them in Singapore, she knew she had to bring them over. As early adopters and huge fans of menstrual cups, the team wanted to empower more women in Asia to reduce the impact of their periods and reduce their waste each month. If you are not sure where to get started, check out its article on how to choose your first menstrual cup.
What’s available – A range of moon cups, sea-sponge tampons, cloth pads, period underwear, cup wipes and cup cleanser. Basically everything; it’s a one-stop green period shop.
These period-proof undies are the real deal and you can try them risk-free with a 60-day money-back guarantee. They hold up to four tampons worth, yet they look and feel like regular underwear. If you’re worried about leaking, don’t. We’re fans not only because they are period proof and are really well designed, but they’re actually pretty sexy (no jokes and no more granny panties when surfing the red wave). Thinx also pay it forward through its education program supporting young people to learn about reproductive health and donate period products to those in need.
What’s available – Nine different styles of underwear from g-strings to sports.
On a mission to get menstrual cups to women, Freedom Cups work on a buy-1 give-1 scheme where with every cup purchased, they give a cup to a woman in an underprivileged community. And it’s already distributed over 2,000 cups. Made in the USA, but the brainchild of three Singaporean sisters, these ladies have even chatted periods with former President Barack Obama. Prevent waste and help fellow females in need; we’re down with that.
What’s available – Freedom cups, cup wipes, and cleanser
The original silicone menstrual cup that’s designed by women. Take a peek at its homepage and you’ll see exactly how many tampons and pads it has diverted from the waste-stream (current count 2,555,278,286). Mooncup also works with multiple charities and not-for-profit organisations across the globe to tackle period poverty. Plus, the product is certified vegan. We’re sold.
What’s available – Menstrual cups in two sizes
Three reasons to love Aisle. One; “Aisle is a feminist business, has been since inception – the principle of environmental and social sustainability, inclusion, and of intersectionality are infused into the brand”. It’s loud and proud on its homepage and we rate any business who so unashamedly takes this stance. Two; it regularly spotlights trans and gender-nonconforming models, and sell boxer brief period underwear. Respect. And three; it’s B Corp certified. And all that before we even mention how brilliant its range of reusable pads, liners, cups, underwear and extras are. And just in case you weren’t sold; its charitable work is also admirable.
What’s available – Reusable pads and liners, cups, period panties, stain erasers and other handy ‘extras’.
*Lead Image courtesy of Thinx via Facebook.
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