Bleeding, cramps, mood swings: the crimson wave not only has an impact on your body and your bank account, it also has effects the environment.
During her lifetime, the average women will throw away 10,000 to 15,000 pads and tampons[i]. In Australia that equates to approximately 18 thousand metric tonnes of sanitary waste that goes into landfill every year[ii]. Once those products end up in landfill it takes an incredible 500–800 years for them to break down[iii].
Here are some options that are kinder on the environment, help reduce sanitary waste and can save you some dollars.
Get a pair of period panties
These babies are just like your regular underwear except made to absorb your menstrual flow. Depending on how heavy your flow is, a pair of period panties might be all you need. Otherwise, they work perfectly alongside a tampon. We like Modiboddi, an Australian-owned company that uses bamboo for the knicker part and a blend of merino, polyester and microfibre for the gusset. Plus, they have a great range of style, size and absorbency options.
How about a menstrual cup?
The menstrual cup, or moon cup, is made from medical-grade silicone and is designed to be inserted like a tampon. Unlike a tampon, however, it sits lower in the vagina and collects menstrual blood in the bowl of its cup. It takes a little manoeuvring to get in and out but once it’s in you can leave it to do its job for up to eight hours. The moon cup is super easy to clean and disinfect and lasts for two years.
Make the switch to organic
If a pair of period panties or a moon cup isn’t in your budget (but remember they will save you money in the long run) consider using pads and tampons made from organic cotton. Organic products are chemical, bleach and synthetic free, making them much nicer to have in and near your nether regions. Although you are still creating waste, the natural fibres break down much more quickly than synthetics.
Try reusable pads
Yep, there is such a thing as a reusable pad. And they are actually really pretty. Made from organic cotton, reusable pads work just like a regular pad except that you can keep reusing them for up to three years. Our favourites are Hannahpads which have lots of size and shape options.
A great place to find organic pads and tampons, menstrual cups and reusable pads is nourished life.
Help a sister out
How about channelling the money you save on buying pads and tampons into helping a woman for whom a moon cup, pair of period panties or even a pad is not an option. Many women and girls cannot afford or do not have access to sanitary products. You can donate pads and tampons to your local women’s shelter or get behind the Share the Dignity campaign.
Illustrations: Lexi Keelan