Period pains and cramps are already a stress on us, but the sanitary products we use also have a devastating impact on the environment. The average woman goes through around 11,000 disposable menstrual products in her lifetime, and this contributes to the 200,000 tonnes of period waste generated annually in the UK. In 2018, the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British beach clean found 20 sanitary items per 100 metres of shoreline during a beach clean-up. Just in the UK, around 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million pads and 700,000 panty liners get flushed into sewers every day. It’s clear that although we don’t discuss the environmental implications of using disposable period products often, the effects are huge and contribute hugely to plastic pollution and landfill across the world.
There is a thing called having a ‘sustainable period’, which can be in the form of various different eco-friendly period products. It must be stressed that personal choice, affordability, safety and dignity are the most important when it comes to period-hygiene, so please see this blog as a way of showing you alternatives, rather than pressuring you to use them. Here are some products that might be of interest to you:
Organic menstrual products, such as organic cotton tampons. These are 100% organic cotton, and biodegradable as well as compostable in standard landfill conditions.
Menstrual cups: they last for up to 10 years, hold 12 hours worth of blood and also are suitable for heavy flow. It has been acknowledged that these types of products are a bit uncomfortable but they are 100% waste free!
Reusable, washable pads: a more comfortable option, which are cloth sanitary pads that are super easy to use, clean and store. It can also be used for up to 10 years!
Period-proof underwear: underwear that absorbs your period and is easily washable! It works like normal underwear except it’s more absorbent, suitable for both light and heavy flow.
Although these products can be more expensive than normal disposable products, in the long-term these provide greater savings and financial benefits, as you aren’t spending money each month on sanitary products. Some of these products have a 10 year warranty- much longer than a day’s use!
Writer: Grace Leung