Did you know that an average pack of menstrual pads contains the same amount of plastic as four carrier bags? Additionally, the typical tampon contains around 6% plastic, but has the potential to cause toxic shock syndrome, and can take six months to decompose in landfill.
We think it’s time to make the switch to eco-friendly alternatives. So, at team TFE we wanted to recommend our favourites – there’s something for everyone and your own needs.
Washable, reusable pants
A revolutionary invention when it comes to eco-friendly menstrual products, reusable pants are super comfortable and perfect whatever your flow. Each pair of pants has different levels of absorbency for those heavy or lighter days. For extra comfort, you can choose from several different styles including high-waisted and mid-rise.
When you’re done using them, it’s best to rinse them under cold water, then pop in the washing machine with your usual load at 30 degrees, and hang them up to dry.
Cloth period pads and panty liners
Similarly to the period pants, cloth pads are the same principle with regards to caring for them – rinse, washing machine, hang to dry – repeat!
Much like traditional (plastic) pads, the cotton pads have wings which allow you to attach to your underwear and you can go about your day. Again, depending on your flow, you can get different sizes as well as different colours and patterns. It just goes to show that period products don’t have to be boring.
Reusable tampon applicators
If you don’t like the idea of washing and re-wearing your period products, and you prefer to use tampons, then perhaps a reusable applicator is for you. Different brands have various medical-grade materials (take DAME, for example) which won’t harm your body or the planet.
The reusable applicator will come with 100% organic cotton tampons, which are free from bleaches, plastics, synthetics, toxins, and dyes. Plus, you can purchase tampons with are suitable for different flows, from light to heavy.
One device for all kinds of flow, the menstrual cup emerged many moons ago, but they only recently became more mainstream in around 2018. A firm favourite of many people who menstruate, although they can be quite tricky to get the hang of when you’re first trying it out.
The cup usually comes in two sizes (A or B), depending on your age and if you have had children. Once inserted, you shouldn’t be able to feel it, much like a tampon; so, it’s best to be as relaxed as possible and take it slow. Some cups vary on how many hours per day you can have it in – usually between 8 hours and 12 hours.
Once removed, you simply tip the blood into the loo, rinse it out with water, and pop it back in. When you’ve finished with your cup for your cycle, you’ll boil it in a pan for around 7 minutes to give it a thorough clean. And hey presto! Ready for next month.