If you are making the effort to lead a zero waste lifestyle, one area in your routine that can present a challenge is your period. Menstruation presents more than a few inconveniences in daily life, and going green is surely one of them.
Luckily for us, there are now companies making an effort to provide realistic options for handling Great Aunt Flow that do not produce tons of trash each month. Not only are incorporating some of these solutions into your routine better for Mother Nature, they provide more options than bulky, scratchy pads and dry, leaky tampons. Had we had these options back in middle school things could have been so much simpler. Alas…
It’s Tradition: Panty Liners (But Make it Zero Waste)
Photo courtesy of Public Goods
Let’s start with a familiar product – the panty liner. While they aren’t the most foolproof period product, they are certainly helpful in a pinch and on that last will-it-won’t-it day of your cycle. Though, these bad boys do have a few advantages over the classic panty liners of yore.
Bamboo Panty Liners from Public Goods are made of bamboo pulp instead of cotton, making them 15% more absorbent. (Bamboo is also easier to grow and requires less water than cotton). Bamboo panty liners are also hypoallergenic and antibacterial so they are less irritating for your skin. And finally, the liners and packaging are 100% biodegradable! At $3.00 for 25 zero waste panty liners, I can’t think of a better deal for you or for Mother Nature.
Ultimate Period Champion: The Reusable Cup
Let’s be real, between tampons and pads, tampons were always the alpha, and pads were the beta. But what we all know deep down inside is: tampons are overrated. There has to be a better solution, but what? Enter: the menstruation cup. While there are many on the market, the preferred beginners zero waste menstruation cup is the Lena Cup.
What is a Menstruation cup, you ask? A menstruation cup is an alternative to the tampon. Made of medical grade flexible silicon, the cup is inserted like a tampon, and seals in place with suction inside the vaginal canal. The Lena Cup can we worn for 12 hours before it needs to be emptied, cleaned, and can be reinserted. It has not been tied to Toxic Shock Syndrome, and can we worn while sleeping or swimming.
The Lena cup can be used over and over month after month, producing no trash. Even more exciting, because of the pressure from the sides of the cup on your vaginal wall, it can reduce the pain of period cramps! All hail the new zero waste period MVP.👸
Check out another popular menstruation cup, the Diva Cup!
Go With The Flow: Absorbent Period Underwear
Photo courtesy of Thinx
Thinx Period Underwear are a game changer if I’ve ever heard of one. With 4 multi-functional layers these underwear are designed to absorb up to 4 tampons worth of liquid and can be worn alone or as back up to tampons or cups. Even more amazing is the clean up; just pop them in the washer with your other laundry and hang to dry. (Some people prefer to give them a good rinse first, but it isn’t necessary).
Even though they can absorb a lot of liquid, Thinx are moisture wicking which means you’ll stay dry, fresh, and won’t have to worry about any surprises. To top if off, their packaging is a biodegradable poly bag that can be recycled with other plastics. Thinx come in a variety of styles and levels of absorbance – they’ve got everything from thongs to boy shorts, so no matter what kind of day you’ve got planned you’re covered.
Custom Built: Reusable Cloth Pads
GladRags is not only a charming name, but also an ingenious zero waste product. Traditional pads are super wasteful, scratchy, and you have to buy a whole pack of each absorbency level when you often just need a couple light flow and a couple heavy flow pads. The solution to all these issues is the reusable pad.
Similar to Thinx, reusable pads are made of cotton and can be used over and over – just run them through the wash. They are sold as separate pieces or as 3 piece sets: 1 holder + 2 inserts. This allows customization between colorful prints and most importantly, the ability to customize the absorbency depending on how heavy a flow you’re dealing with each day.
Code Red? Try Code GREEN!
Whether you prefer traditional products like pads and panty liners or you live for the adventure of trying new things like menstruation cups, you have plenty of zero waste product options during your period. With so many biodegradable and reusable options you can feel great about your purchases while saving hundreds of dollars a year on period supplies.
If you are excited to try some zero waste period products be sure to share this list with the other menstruating green goddesses in your life.
All non-Amazon prices are accurate as of: 2020-04-09 and are subject to change.
Last update on 2023-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API