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How to save the planet one menstrual cycle at a time

Disposable products have become a huge part of our lives, especially in menstrual products.

In the UK, tampons, sanitary pads and liners including their packaging generates more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year and they all contain plastics. Did you know that sanitary pads are 90% plastic? Whilst they are great and easy methods to use during your period; they are definitely not the best and most sustainable methods to use.

The average woman throws away around 125-150 kg of sanitary products in their lifetimes.

In 2010, it was found that an average of 23 sanitary pads and nine tampon applicators were washed up per kilometre of the British coastline. It is a major problem which people do not really address in the public sphere; the focus of beaches have always been on the plastic bottle and plastic bag issue, not the menstrual products. This is something that needs to be addressed.

It's not just the environmental impact that we need to be concerned about, these menstrual products also affect our health. Conventional pads and tampons are full of chemicals that go on or inside of the most porous part of your body. Whilst there are regulations on this, do you really want to be putting a bleached cotton tampon inside your body? Why not seek a more healthy and sustainable menstrual product?

Below are a few products that can help you in your journey to a sustainable cycle:

Menstrual cup
View this post on Instagram

Is the menstrual cup worth it? 🌸🌸🌸 I took the leap and started using the menstrual cup 4 months ago.. for 2 reasons 1. It's more environmentally friendly as I'm not generating any waste & 2. It's so much cheaper in the long run. One menstrual cup lasts 10 years and only costs around £20 - £20 for 10 years if you're buying regular tampons / pads you would be lucky if £20 lasts 3 months. The mooncup is definitely worth it in terms of money & if on a budget you won't have to worry about buying feminine products every month💃🌸 • Oh I've managed to put up my review on this little mooncup on my blog for anyone who is thinking about making the switch - I talk about my first impressions before using it, my trial run & then using the cup on my period🌸🌸🌸 It's worth the read ladies & definitely worth the purchase 🌸❤

A post shared by Sophia (@insophiesmindxo) on

A menstrual cup is a sustainable and healthier product, created for women to use on their periods to collect the fluid, instead of absorbing it like tampons and pads do. The cup is made from medical grade silicone which reduces the chances of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS.) It is healthier for you as it does not disrupt the PH levels in your body. Also, the cup lasts 10 years costing approximately between £16-25, compared to the frequent purchasing of tampons and pads it is a lot cheaper in the long run.

Is the Menstrual Cup Worth It? | Mooncup

Reusable pads and liners

If you are a little sceptical about the cup then another option is the reusable pad. These pads are typically made from cotton or sustainable fabric such as bamboo. They snap around your underwear like conventional pads. Coming in different sizes, for heavier or lighter days as well as different patterns. They are great as a starting point, working your way to try other methods. The maintenance of these pads are simple, you just use them then wash them in with your laundry then reuse.

Organic sanitary pads and tampons

This option isn't reusable, unfortunately, however, they are plastic free, organic and safe to use on your body. Some organic tampons are also biodegradable, which is good for keeping everlasting plastics out of landfills, a practice that can help to cut the pollution problem on our planet, whilst not as much as the other reusable options do; this method is a good starting point in an eco-friendlier menstrual cycle. If you are intrigued, check out some of the great companies that sell them such as TOTM,  Natracare and Maxim.

Period pants
View this post on Instagram

Just arrived! Modibodi period pants. Who has tried these or one of the other available brands? What did you think? It's my ambition is to improve the way we think about periods. By incorporating RUMPs, we can steer away from the mentality that periods are shameful, unmentionable and literally rubbish! To me there's no such thing with too much information. I ask all the questions and want all the details! Do you need to talk about your period with someone? Make an appointment on our website: www.nambourchinesemedicine.com.au/appointments #gynaecologicalacupuncturist #registeredacupuncturist #acupuncture #traditionalchinesemedicine #nambourchinesemedicine #ncm #tcm #period #periodpain #modibodi #periodpants #RUMPs

A post shared by Alicia Pearse (@gynaecological.acupuncturist) on

Free bleeding sounds like a crazy concept, right? However, these period pants allow you to do just that without fear of leakage or having to get any other products. They look like regular underwear, but they are designed with extra material to absorb menstrual blood.
Period pants are machine washable and have a lifespan of many years, so after the initial investment, the continual use of them should cut down your menstruation expenses, especially if used alone or coupled with other sustainable menstrual products. Making them a great alternative to disposable products.

Overall all methods mentioned have a more sustainable aspect to them than regular disposable products do. There are some other methods such as a sea sponge and reusable tampons. Lots to choose from so what's stopping you? Help save the planet by using one or two of these options and have a positive impact on your wallet, health and the environment.

Featured image: Josefin on Unsplash

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