As part of my quest to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in my life I was drawn to one particular monthly appearance, my period. I quickly realised there is a plastic free alternative for every feminine hygiene product. Any product that I have swapped from plastic I want them to be sustainable, not another throw-away piece or fad that after a while I stop doing or using. This is something that is really important to me and part of the reason I chose the one I did.
So what products are out there?
If you are looking for something new there are thinx period pants which are knickers with an integrated liner. Thinx state that their knickers hold the equivalent of two tampons worth. They come in different styles and cover every typ of flow. Once you’re done you pop then in the wash and hey presto.
Tampon user? There are tampons that come in reusable applicators, like these ones from dame. Dame created the first reusable applicator and their slogan is bleed red think green, it’s straight to the point and I like it. There are also biodegradable, cruelty free and 100% organic tampon from companies like totm. Totm have a whole host of other period products to choose from.
Santitary towel user? Try these eco friendly and reusable sanitary towels from Smartliners which can be purchased from plastic freedom, an excellent plastic free shop with tonnes of inspiration.
Last but not least the menstrual cup which is the product I chose about a year ago. I bought Intimina’s Lily Cup from Planet Organic this was totally new to me as I have always been a tampon person, if I ever used sanitary towels it would be during the night at the beginning of my period when I am usually at my heaviest. So why did I choose the menstrual cup?
Why the menstrual cup?
It’s reusable so zero waste. It has a little pouch to put the cup in so it’s discreet and I can just leave it in my bag ready for when I next come on. It’s also safe to put it in before you start your period so you don’t get caught out. I can wear it for 12 hours which means I don’t have to change it whilst at work. There’s no odour associated so I feel super clean. It’s easy to use and no awkward sliding a tampon up my sleeve when heading to the toilet. It’s also super comfy I haven’t had any of the cystitis feelings I sometimes get when wearing tampons so that’s a big winner for me. Also if it’s not sitting right you can pull it out and put it back in without any waste.
What’s not so great?
So to put it bluntly it can be a bit of a blood bath if you whip it out too quickly. The only other downside to me is washing it in public spaces. Ideally you want a toilet and sink cubicle combo. I may be able to write this and put it out publicly but I haven’t got to the stage of washing my period blood next to other people. I said I would be blunt. Otherwise there are no downsides for me.
How to use it:
Depending on what menstrual cup you have this may differ but with mine you fold it, slide it in and then it opens out once inside. You may need to give it a little wiggle to ensure it’s nicely in place. Then to take it out there’s a little bit at the end that you can use to help pull it out as well as using your pelvic floor to push it out! At the end of each day I boil it in water to kill off any bacteria. There are also different sizes which take into account flow and whether you have had a baby or not.
At this point you are probably wondering why you should go plastic free on your feminine hygiene products. So here are some stats:
- The average woman is estimated to use, and throw away, in excess of 10,000 tampons in her menstrual lifetime
- 4.3 billion disposable menstrual products are used in the UK every year
- It’s estimated that every single day in the UK about 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are flushed down the toilet
(Statistics taken from here)
Fancy figuring out how much money you have spent on tampon tax? Then BBC have a little calculation here.