It might be a bit of a strange subject for me to talk about periods and eco friendly menstrual products at the moment, given the fact that I haven’t menstruated for over 7 months now. However, I’ve recently been talking with friends about menstrual cups (there’s the MoonCup, the OrganiCup and the DivaCup, for example), and heard very enthusiastic feedback. Once you get the hang of using and inserting them (which apparently can take a bit of fiddling around) the cups are a total game changer! I have also seen regular pop-ups on my social media for Thinx period underwear, which I thought looked really cool and interesting. Then, there are some fabulous environmentally and socially conscious brands now, like MyFreda in the UK and My Lola in the US, offering handy subscription services. They simply send a fun box to your doorstep, filled with your monthly need of disposable yet eco-friendly, certified organic menstrual products.
There’s an insane amount of waste ending up in landfill. If you think about the fact that every woman will have her period for around 40 years, you won’t be surprised to hear that an average woman in her reproductive lifetime uses well over 11.000 menstrual products. Over 30,000 kg per woman! All those tampons, sanitary pads and pantyliners generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, much of it ending up in landfill. Or worse, in the ocean, sea and rivers!
All of the conventional (non-organic) menstrual products contain synthetic fibre and plastic. In fact, I’ve read that conventional sanitary pads can contain up to 90% plastic, or the equivalent of about four plastic bags! Non-organic tampons, especially super absorbent ones, contain synthetic fibre like viscose rayon (which is added to increase absorbency).
All of that plastic and synthetic waste sitting in landfills can take hundreds and hundreds of years to bio-degrade. For example, a regular tampon can take around 500 years to decompose; as apposed to an organic cotton tampon taking around 5 years. And then I’m not even talking about the plastic applicators! (I personally do not use applicators… I find applicator-free tampons easy to use and they take up much less space in my handbag. Plus, they create 58% less waste!)
Knowing this, it is so important to use re-usable menstrual products, or disposable products made of organic cotton. But there’s more.
So! Lesson learned. Once I get my period back again, I am going to be solely using eco friendly menstrual products. I am going to try a menstrual cup and am going to be extremely religious about using just organic tampons and pads. (I can’t believe I’m only realising now how bad the conventional products are!)
What are your thoughts and experiences? Have you tried a menstrual cup or period underwear? Please share!
(Photo by Thinx)
PS A First Period Box, to prepare teenage girls for their first menstruation.