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How to Have an Eco-Friendly Period – Without Compromising on Comfort

[Ad / gifted] Periods – they’re not fun, but they’re a part of life, so we may as well make the best of them. For me, that means minimising cost, discomfort, inconvenience – and environmental impact. Today I’m writing a round-up of all the innovative and sustainable period products available to women, such as reusable sanitary pads.

Reuseable sanitary pads and cups on a pink background.
Reuseable sanitary pads and cups on a pink background.

The Environmental Impact of Life Under Lockdown

We’re all becoming more environmentally aware, and at this unprecedented and pivotal time of our lives, an unintentional reduction in pollution has shown how things could be once more. I hope that when normal life resumes, we’ll see an even greater consciousness of our responsibility to our planet, and a positive and significant shift towards a greener way of living.

Sadly, alongside the happy consequence of life under lockdown, there has necessarily been an increase of single use plastics to contain the virus and keep us all safe.

Which means there’s never been a better time to make positive changes where we can. 

Sustainable Go Green Products for the Bathroom Including Skincare, a Bar of Soap, and a Bamboo Toothbrush

One such sustainable swap is where our periods are concerned. If you’ve not already looked into this, then (unlike shampoo which has not yet been perfected in my opinion) there are now some excellent eco-friendly alternatives to the standard plastic items we’ve always used – because that’s all that’s been on offer. 

Sustainable Period Products For an Eco Friendly Period

Historically, there have been few options available for menstruating women. But despite the VAT on period products implying they’re a luxury (an antiquated law, surely passed by a stupid man), keeping our hygiene, privacy, and dignity – along with which goes our girls’ educations and all women’s  basic freedom – is absolutely essential. (Would it come off as cynical if I were to suggest this is an overlooked area of patriarchy? Cynical or otherwise, it absolutely is.)

But now we have choice!

And it’s not a case of the best of a bad bunch, either: it’s genuine choice, which can save you money, and help to save the planet too. (Possibly the plumbing too; sorry, husband is a plumber so I had to mention this!)

How to have an eco-friendly period, including reusable sanitary pads, period pants, menstrual cups, and organic tampons. #sustainability #reducereuserecycle #zerowasteliving #ethicalliving #plasticfree #menstruation #environmentalist #ethicallifestyle #plasticfreelifestyle #sustainability

I’ve personally tried some but not all of the items on this list. And I’m totally sold on my new period regime. I still don’t like getting my period – really, who does? – but I am way more comfortable, I feel protected, I’m better organised each month, and I feel like I’m doing my bit for the environment.

So, what are these ingenious sustainable period products? (Contains affiliate links.)

1. Organic Tampons

I wrote about these some time ago, before all of the other items on the list became big news. At the time they seemed like a fantastic idea, and the brand I worked with have an excellent ethos. 

Organic tampons
&Sisters organic tampons.

I do wonder whether they’re becoming obsolete with the newer products on the market, but if you’re keen on tampons then they’re certainly superior to the traditional type.

2. Reusable Tampon Applicators

Apparently this is a thing! They’re made from a clever anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, non-porous material, and should last around 10 years. Made by Dame and costing around £25, they’re suitable for use with all tampons and can be simply rinsed and reused. 

Again, not for me since I’ve found alternatives which suit me better, but if you wish to stick with tampons and prefer to use an applicator, then they’re a good investment. 

3. Period Pants

I stated at the top of the post I’d been gifted a product, and this is the one. Wuka sent me a couple of pairs of their period panties, and I have to say – I’m impressed. I sized up because that’s normal unless you like restrictive undies (did a poll on Twitter, everybody agreed). I think in this case I could probably have got away with my *actual* size, but it just means they’re extra comfy to accommodate monthly bloating so that’s cool with me.

Wuka Period Pants
Wuka period pants.

Period pants sound a bit…too good to be true, right? Honestly, I was very dubious the first time I tried mine and so terrified of having a rather gruesome accident that I ensured my first use was in the comfort of my own home.

But this unicorn period product seems to work.

I say ‘seems’ only because my personal preference is to contain the mess, and so on heavier days I use the pants alongside my cup. But on the single occasion my cup overfilled during the night (apologies for TMI), they saved me and my bedsheets. Hugely impressed.

The absolute best thing about period pants though is something I won’t even see for several more years:

Without question this is the product I’ll be providing both my girls with in due course. Life would have been so much easier at school if you could simply pop a pair of pants on and get on with your day, Can you imagine the freedom of not having to worry about leaks? For the sake of my daughters, I’m so glad period pants exist.

4. Reusable Sanitary Pads

Reusable Sanitary Pads
Reusable sanitary pads.

Along a similar theme, except a washable pad used with ordinary knickers. I’ve not tried these and don’t think I would since pants just seem easier! However, for the price of one pair of pants you can get several reusable menstrual pads, so if cost is a factor then they’re definitely worth a shot.

5. Menstrual Cups

Menstruation Cup Sizes - Woman Holding Cup
Menstrual cup.

It seems that a great deal of innovation in the sustainable period products sector took place during the nearly three wonderful years that I was free of the blight following my second pregnancy. So when I found myself requiring feminine hygiene once again, I wasn’t too sure what was what.

All I knew for sure was that I’d heard about things and I was curious. Whereas cups had previously had a bit of a reputation as being something only hippies use, this was no longer the case and I started to research my options.

Intimina Ziggy Menstrual Cup for Low Cervix
Intimina Ziggy menstrual cup.

I’ve written extensively about my findings, both in general terms if you’re just getting started with period cups, and also about the one I tried out following my research. I still love it by the way; actually, only more so as I’ve become more acquainted with it.

So, if you’ve not already looked into your options, why not now? And if you do use any other above then I’d love to hear your specific recommendations! Which are your favourite brands?