Taking care of ourselves and our planet is super important. But let’s be honest, doing that when you’re on your period may not always be the easiest thing. There are ways to keep the planet, your body and your bank account in mind when on your period though! This guide on how to have eco-friendly, plastic-free periods shows you how. Not only can you save the planet from a TON of trash, but you save money and you stop exposing your intimate parts to all sorts of harmful chemicals, too. Sounds like a win-win, right? Let’s dive into what types of plastic-free sanitary products are available and where you can purchase them.
How to have eco-friendly periods?
Did you know that the conventional menstrual pad contains just as much plastic as 4 plastic carrier bags? Those that are thrown away end up in landfills where they can last longer than the person who used them. Some (2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads) are even flushed down the toilet (why people flush these instead of binning them is a mystery to me…) and cause blockage or end up in the rivers and oceans. Of course, we can’t stop ourselves from having periods, but we can use other products that don’t produce this much waste.
According to City of Sea, based on a 4-5 day cycle the average woman spent £100-£150 on disposable period products each year. Seeing that you can get a menstrual cup for around £20 and lasts for 10 years already proves how much money you could be saving! (More on that later!)
Not only are these single-use products bad for our planet, but they can also harm our bodies. There have been found toxic chemicals (like BPA and BPS) and petrochemical additives in pads and tampons. Seeing how vulnerable our intimate zones are, we should definitely try to keep those chemicals away from it!
Period Proof Underwear
When you think of period-proof underwear, you might think of boring grandma underwear that resembles a diaper. Luckily for you, there are some great brands out there that make fashionable and comfortable period-proof underwear you should 100% try. My absolute favourites are WUKA’s pants. These pants are leak-free (hold up to 4 tampons worth of blood), very hygienic (they don’t smell weird), eco-friendly (hooray!) and machine washable.
You can use a pair of period pants for two years before you need to start thinking of replacing a pair. The WUKA pants start at £23.99. Saying you’ll use them for the two recommended years, that’s only a pound per month! Considering how much you usually spend on tampons and pads per period, WUKA claims you save about £500 over the course of two years. On top of that, you stop hundreds of tampons and pads being thrown into a landfill. Win-Win!
I’ve tried the WUKA period pants for three months and I have to say I am blown away by this product. After having used them during three periods, I am completely sold. WUKA’s pants are incredibly comfortable, they really hold a lot more blood than I expected. I was a bit worried about leakages during the night, but they kept me completely dry. I also felt a lot more hygienic wearing these period pants compared to wearing a pad, because the blood gets soaked into the pants very quickly and you don’t really feel it anymore. They are also much more comfortable compared to pads that rub against and irritate your skin.
I’ve been recommending this product to my lady friends because honestly, I don’t think I can go back now. I’m saving so much money by not buying tampons and pads anymore, I feel much more comfortable during that time of the month AND I’m not dumping more plastic into our oceans. If you have any more questions about WUKA, please visit their FAQ page here.
If you’re looking for another solution, there’s always the menstrual cup. The menstrual cup is a soft cup made from either latex or silicone. It works almost the same as a tampon but instead of absorbing the blood, it collects it in the cup. You can then empty the cup in the toilet and reuse it. (Don’t worry, cups hold more than one tampon’s worth of blood. This means you don’t have to empty it as frequently!) These cups are supposed to last for around 5-10 years – this means you will save the planet from about 12.000 tampons (just think about how much money that is!)
There are tons of different ones out there, but here’s a couple that either I use or friends have recommended to me.
Start using reusable period products
Seeing how many alternatives there are to tampons and pads, it seems silly to keep spending so much money on single-use products that can harm your body, your wallet and the environment. It’s never a waste to try any of the products listed above, even if you’re not 100% sure about them. Once you try them, you can see what you like and don’t like. From there you can make a decision on what you’d rather use.
If you have any more specific questions about these products, feel free to comment below, send me a message or check out the detailed FAQ on City to Sea here.