For half the world’s population it is one of life’s certainties. The period. And like everything it can be made much more green than we take for granted! Have you ever thought about where all those used tampons and sanitary towels go? Have you wanted to think about it?? Well it’s not nice. Water companies clear over 55,000 sewage blockages every year, and most are caused by the wrong things being flushed down the loo. But if you don’t flush it do you bin it? The average woman can use between 8,000 to 17,000 tampons in her lifetime. That amounts to A) a lot of rubbish in the landfill and B) a lot of money. So what are the alternatives?
Can you imagine if you brought a new pair of underwear every day and threw them away at the end of the day? Sound ludicrous doesn’t it!? Then why do it with your sanitary products? Luckily there are several greener alternatives.
Women have been making sanitary products for as long as we have been women. (Cave Lady had a period too!) Using reusable sanitary pads is an excellent way to be kinder to the environment. It’s so easy I don’t know why anyone ever started using disposable ones. You never have to worry that you don’t have any in stock at home. You only need to buy them once as they can last for years if you treat them well. I bought a whole set of handmade pads off Etsy for £12 and haven’t looked back since. (Keep a clean one in your handbag in a small washbag for emergencies).
If you’d rather not have the extra laundry then maybe try a menstrual cup. There are so many varieties now (but try not to buy cheap) try brands like mooncup, divacup or OrganiCup. They literally just sit there and collect your monthly deposit ready to be washed away and reused every month for years to come. Menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone which is almost completely harmless to the human body. Compared to tampons which are filled with chemicals. “To give tampons and pads that pristine, “clean” white look, the fibers used must be bleached. Chlorine is commonly used for this, which can create toxic dioxin and other disinfection-by-products (DBPs) such as trihalomethane. Studies show that dioxin collects in your fatty tissues, and according to a draft report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dioxin a serious public health threat that has no “safe” level of exposure!” (Link here)
Why don’t you consider making a change to a more sustainable sanitary routine? It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, so don’t worry if any of these options don’t work for you. But when the inevitable happens just take a moment to be more conscious about your choice of product. Maybe you can buy tampons which are not packaged in plastic or towels which are not bleached? Just because it isn’t a part of your life which is open to the public doesn’t mean that it should be forgotten about. We should take care of our bodies all through the month.
If you know of any other green sanitary options please let me know, I am always interested in trying new things.