Biodegradable and reusable alternatives.
There’s no good reason why we should use disposable tampons and pads! Protection made to be washed an reused may cost more on initial purchase, but last 5 years or more (contrast this with the 16,000 disposables you will otherwise use in your lifetime). Think of the special “female hygiene product” bin in every public restroom in the world, and the 45 billion such products disposed of every year – what a massive difference it would make if we all switched. In addition, conventional tampons or pads contain chlorine, dioxins, pesticide residues and other chemicals you really don’t want in such close contact with your highly vascular intimate parts. More details on those health hazards in this article.
Reusable products come in three types:
- A silicone cup that collects the blood and only needs to be emptied twice a day. A really great alternative if you’re a tampon user, with no TSS risks.
Get them from: Mooncup (UK), Lunapads (US) DivaCup (20 countries), The Keeper (US), Me Luna (EU)
- Washable cotton panty liners. You soak or rinse them in cold water right after using them, and you can then throw them in a regular wash. They’re used just like disposable panty liners, minus the waste and toxins. They’re also perfect for a “first period kit” and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Get them from: Lunapads (US), GladRags (US), independent makers on Etsy – or make them yourself!
- Period underwear. These panties don’t require any additional protection (depending on your flow) and are easily the most comfortable option available. In my experience they are pure sorcery and worth every penny. Get them from: THINX (US)
Sometimes situations may arise where for some reason washable protection is unmanageable: if you know that can happen to you, you’ll want to keep a box of something safe handy. For this, there are brands that are toxin-free and biodegradable.
- Natracare (UK, available worldwide): Products made from renewable, biodegradable and compostable materials including organic cotton, bioplastics (made from plant starches) and wood pulp, sustainably sourced, and processed without releasing toxins into the environment. .
- Seventh Generation (US): Organic cotton, chlorine-free, but they seem to be packed in plastic.