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Let’s face it: periods aren’t fun. But you know what’s worse than a week of pain and suffering? The impact it can have on the environment.
But don’t worry, it’s actually not very hard to have an eco-friendly period.
What’s wrong with cotton tampons and pads?
Cotton tampons and pads are becoming things of the past. If you want to have an eco-friendly period, cotton is not the way to do it.
First, let’s talk about the environmental impact.
The average woman uses 12,000 tampons in her lifetime. That’s a lot of waste.
In fact, that’s about 1,000 pounds of waste from tampons, pads, and applicators in one woman’s lifetime. When you pool together the 1.75 billion women of menstruating age in the world together, you get one million tons of waste every year.
A majority of that waste end up in landfills and sewer systems–and can take up to 500 years to break down.
Then you throw in the harsh pesticides, dioxins, and fragrances that call tampons home, and I’ve got one word for you: help.
Now that we’re all terrified of the impact our periods have on the environment, let’s talk the impact they have on our wallets.
Equally terrifying, right?
Tampons are costing us a lot of money. In the course of a year, you’re likely going to spend $100 on tampons. Sure, that doesn’t sound so bad right off the bat. But then you think of how many years you’ll likely be menstruating–let’s say 40. That’s $4,000 you’ll be spending on tampons in your lifetime.
Plus, think about how that impacts low-income families and women in developing countries. You have to choose if you want to “invest” in tampons and pads or if you’re just going to accept the fact that you’ll be leaking all day. Not exactly a decision anyone wants to have to make.Periods suck. But they don't have to be bad for the environment.Click To Tweet
How can I have an eco-friendly period?
Despite how dire the situation may sound, it’s actually quite easy to have an eco-friendly period. Here are my favorite ways to completely eliminate cotton products from your period.
When my sister originally told me about menstrual cups, I was totally grossed out. You mean you just let your menstrual blood just sit there until you have to change it?
Well, here’s the thing: no matter what menstrual product you’re using, your menstrual blood is just sitting there. So, I got over it pretty quickly.
And, to be honest, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
First of all, instead of using 12,000 tampons in your lifetime, you can use four menstrual cups. Now that’s what I call an eco-friendly period.
Not only is the environmental impact far less, the cost is, too! That’s $140 in your lifetime as opposed to $4,000. Shopping trip, anyone?
Plus, there are zero reported cases of toxic shock syndrome in women who use menstrual cups. They don’t cause dryness and there aren’t any hidden chemicals–they’re typically made out of medical-grade silicone or latex. Yes, please!
They’re a bit hard to get used to at first (you’re going to have to get really comfortable with your vagina) and can be difficult to insert and remove, but I promise you get used to it. Just keep reminding yourself that you’re doing the environment and you wallet a huge favor.
So, how do you get a menstrual cup?
Ruby Cup is the only menstrual cup brand that I’ve used, and I honestly don’t see myself ever changing. The main reason I purchased my menstrual cup from Ruby Cup as opposed to, say, Diva Cup is because of the social mission. For every menstrual cup you purchase, they donate one to a girl in Kenya. Pretty awesome, eh?
They’ve got lots of great options, including sterilizers that make it super easy to clean and sterilize your menstrual cup.
Oh, and good news! They’re offering 10% off to And Possibly Dinosaurs readers. Just enter the coupon code “RubyxDinosaurs” at checkout!
But what about days that aren’t super heavy? Or maybe you use pantyliners for non-period uses. Well, good news: menstrual cups aren’t your only option!
Ultra-absorbent underwear is becoming more and more popular. And I think it’s awesome.
Basically, it’s underwear that absorbs liquid, so you no longer have to wear a cotton pad or use a tampon. It’s like the pad is sewn into your underwear and you don’t have to replace it every few hours. It’s fabric, so you can simply wash it and use it again.
Some people are super grossed out by it. You’re just sitting in your period blood all day. Can’t you feel it?
Again, it’s the same thing as wearing a pad. If you wear pads, you’re “sitting in your period blood all day.” Do you feel it when you’re wearing a pad? Maybe if you keep it in too long / if your flow is super heavy. Same thing with ultra-absorbent underwear.
There are a few different brands out there, and they’ve got their own styles as well. You can get briefs, boyshorts, thongs–you name it. The only downside is that they’re moderately expensive. But, consider the fact that you no longer need to spend money on single-use products like pads and pantyliners and the pros outweigh the cons.
So, where do you get them?
I’ve only used Dear Kates, and I absolutely love them. I first heard about them when Cristen and Caroline from Stuff Mom Never Told You started promoting them, and I’ve constantly got “Dear Kates” on my wishlist.
They’re super comfortable, and they’ve got lots of different styles. Again, I haven’t tried any other brands, but I haven’t been disappointed by Dear Kates.
Oh, and if you use my referral link, you’ll get $15 off your first purchase of Dear Kates! That makes the initial investment a little less intimidating, doesn’t it?
The other major (and arguably more well-known) brand of ultra-absorbent underwear is Thinx. They do a lot of Facebook advertising, which helps. They’ve got the same concept–lots of cute styles, without needing a pad or pantyliner.
They’re about the same price as Dear Kates, but I will say they’ve got one advantage–they’ve got a similar social mission as Ruby Cup. When you buy Thinx underwear, they donate money to their partner organization AFRIpads, which trains women to sew and sell washable, reusable cloth pads, turning local women into entrepreneurs.
Pretty awesome, right? I’m planning on investing in Thinx soon, simply for their social mission.
And good news–I’ve got a Thinx referral code, too! When you use it, you’ll get $10 off your first pair of Thinx!
Do you use menstrual cups or ultra-absorbent underwear to have an eco-friendly period? What are your favorite brands? Let me know in the comments!