The time has come, my friends. It’s time to make your period great again.
Okay, okay, fine, periods will never be great. But with the average uterus-owner spending approximately 10 years of their life menstruating, and using between 11000 and 15000 sanitary products, the race is on to make periods sustainable. Conventional pads and tampons are non-recyclable, create huge amounts of waste, and can be a nightmare for people with allergies. As such, those should have been revolutionized ages ago, but at least we are getting there one period at a time.
Here are three options for you to consider for using alongside or instead of your regular period products:
As their name suggests, these products are soft cups that you insert into your body to collect menstrual blood. But just how good a replacement is a menstrual cup for traditional pads or tampons? Studies that examine menstrual cup usage show that the product is extremely easy to use. Some have raised questions about the sanitation of the products. However, studies confirm that the cups are as sanitary as pads or tampons.
Where to Buy: The most well-known brand is the Diva Cup, although these days, you can find similar options from a variety of retailers. Indeed, buying a menstrual cup can be as simple as purchasing your usual box of tampons was. Prices start from around $18 USD and can go up to around $30 USD (special wash sold separately). If you buy in-store instead of ordering your cup online, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint. Just think, that makes your period products even more eco-friendly.
Final Verdict: Safe, easy to use, and cost-effective. If a menstrual cup fits your lifestyle, is comfortable for you, and does not trigger any allergies, it could be the best option for you.
Chances are, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used cloth pads to manage their periods. The first disposable pads were created in 1888, but they did not go into mass production until much later. (This is largely because disposable pads were too expensive, and it was too embarrassing to ask for them.) In terms of comfort, they feel like a slightly more bulky version of disposable pads. In terms of sustainability and allergy protection, though, they are superior. Being able to purchase them from individual sellers means that the buyer can learn about the production process and the origins of the products, something which is not always possible with mass-produced menstrual products.
Where to Buy: Etsy and Amazon. Your costs may vary: this seller, for example, has a pack of 6 for 32.00 USD where as this one gives you the option to choose the length and absorbency, starting at 4 USD apiece. Amazon’s sellers are cheaper – you can find them as cheap as 0.25 USD a piece, or a pack of 8 for 7.99 USD, but what you may not get is transparency about the production process. Additionally, Etsy offsets the carbon emissions for each delivery by investing a portion of each sale to verified carbon reduction projects.
Final Verdict: While they take more work, cloth pads are a comparatively sustainable and affordable option.
For people with disabilities, or who are uncomfortable with the idea of inserting anything inside their bodies, this may well be the alternative to traditional pads and tampons they need. Aside from supporting people through their periods, though, this can also be an option for postpartum care or for incontinence. As far as we can tell, the companies making them are also trying to make production as ethical and as sustainable as possible, too. This is important, because the fashion industry is a bigger pollutant than aviation and shipping combined.
Where to Buy: You can find them online, with brands like RubyLove, Modibodi and Thinx offering international shipping. Prices start from around 19-20 USD, depending on absorbency, and you can also get a value bundle or a discount code on most of them. Sizes vary from brand to brand – Modibodi has a fairly standard range while RubyLove offers sized from XS to 3XL. Returns and exchanges, as well as shipping rates, vary – so make sure you read all the T&C’s before you invest.
Final Verdict: While a pricier option than most, this may well be the least invasive and most comfortable one.
These are just three options. On the market now, you can find organic cotton pads and biodegradable tampons, from numerous brands and in various price ranges. While they are not all as cheap as some of the mass-produced options, there is choice, which is extremely important if consumers are trying to change their habits.
Have you used any of these options for your period? What are your thoughts?