We’re women. We menstruate. It’s part of nature. But what isn’t natural is the amount of damage our periods are doing to the environment. According to ‘Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation’, the average menstruating woman throws away around 300 pounds of plastic applicators, tampons, and pads each year – and most of that menstrual waste ends up in our oceans. On average, a woman gets through around 11-12,000 tampons in her lifetime (it’s estimated that around 7 billion plastic applicators are thrown away every year globally) and your regular pad contains the same amount of plastic as four carrier bags! Oh, and every disposable pad takes 500 years to decompose. You do the math…
But it’s not all doom and gloom, as in recent years an amazing variety of eco-friendly period products have hit the market to offer effective, ocean and earth friendly solutions that don’t harm you or the planet. From reusable pads to menstrual cups, hi-tech underwear to the world’s first reusable applicator, there’s something for everyone no matter your period preference.
So go with the eco-friendly flow and shop the best buys in our Goodness edit below. It’s time to make your crimson wave green. Period.
The Period Panties
Thinx 'Period Pants'
If you thought period underwear was akin to wearing an adult-sized diaper, think again – because these super chic, comfortable, and innovative panties fuse fashion with functionality. Four-layer technology and leak-resistant barriers mean you don’t have to worry about leaks, and their anti-microbial lining wards of bad odors and bacteria. Made from moisture-wicking cotton (a natural fiber closest to your skin for softness and breathability), they can hold up to two regular tampons worth of liquid, depending on the style you choose. That being said, there are endless options to choose from, including high-waist panties, thongs, and even leotards!
Thinx ‘Period Pants’
The Menstrual Cup
Intimina 'Lily Cup'
Menstrual cups are becoming more and more mainstream thanks to their ability to keep you dry and leak-free, all day long. Just like a tampon, you insert it to catch your flow – however they’re not absorbent, so throughout the day you remove it, empty it, clean it, and reinsert it. And, just like a tampon, you won’t feel a thing, as thanks to their medical-grade silicone material they are designed to fit and mold to any body shape.
“I switched to a menstrual cup three years ago after realizing the effect our period waste has on the environment. I have heavy periods and moved a lot and lived by the beach, so the cup literally changed my life!”, explains Victoria Gandit Lelandais. “I don’t ever feel it, it’s eco-friendly and made out of hypoallergenic organic medial grade silicon, and it’s super hygienic compared to other options. It’s also a money saver! I sail a lot and it was a lifesaver when I did long ocean crossings on a boat. No waste in the ocean, no need for a special bin, and less packing. You do need to be totally at ease with your body as you have to insert it and remove it with ease, but practice helps!”
If you’re new to the menstrual cup, try the ‘Lily Cup’. It comes in two sizes (A for women who haven’t given birth, and B for women who have given birth vaginally), it folds into the size of a tampon for easy insertion, it’s collapsible (making it discreet and easily portable) and they even have options if you have a weaker pelvic floor or a higher cervix. They offer period protection for up to 12 hours, there’s no odor, zero irritation, and — best of all — they limit your impact on the environment.
Intimina ‘Lily Cup’
The Reusable Pads
Woman Space 'Handmade Rose Pads'
Not only are these the prettiest pads we’ve ever seen (and we never thought we could say that), they’re also organic, highly absorbent, easy to wash (just pop them in the machine on a 30-degree cycle) and they’re so effective that active yoga teacher Dina Ghandour swears by them. “I’ve completely switched to these reusable cotton pads. They’re so easy to use, clean, and wear that I haven’t even needed to supplement with disposable pads or tampons since”, she tells us.
“They come in all shapes and sizes which is great, and I have a selection for all days and flows. The cotton feel is great as it feels like fabric and underwear rather than itchy-scratchy plastic, and the back of the pad is waterproof and folds under your underwear using ‘snaps’ for extra security. And I’m supporting a local business, which makes it all even better!”
Woman Space ‘Handmade Rose Pad’
The Forever Tampon Applicator
Dame 'Dame D'
Applicator tampons are one of the worst environmental offenders, so if you can’t ditch the applicator, opt for this clever device from Dame. The world’s first reusable tampon applicator, it’s a pretty impressive period savior which uses antimicrobial technology found in nature to keep it hygienic, sterile, and clean. It’s made from Mediprene – a material created by a UK medical engineer – that’s BPA-free, leak-free, and built for the body. It also boasts an ergonomic design and semi-gloss matte finish to make it the most comfortable applicator you’ll ever use. If that wasn’t enough, it works with any size tampon and it’s been built for life – so you never need to buy another one, ever again.
Dame ‘Dame D Reusable Tampon Applicator’