3 ways to have a zero waste period

This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions are my own.

When I was in high school, I used to carry tampons to the bathroom hidden in my sleeve. Those days are long gone! I became much more comfortable with body and much less comfortable with the waste my period created each month. Most of the reusable options are similar in function to disposable products, but do require some care.

The Problem With Conventional Menstrual Products

On average, a person who menstruates will spend 6 years of their life with their period. That handful of days every month really adds up! This works out to approximately 10,000 tampons, pads, and/or panty liners ending up in landfills per menstruating person and costs and an estimated $6000 over the course of your life.

In addition to being costly, conventional menstrual products are single-use and made of plastic, cotton (a water and pesticide intensive crop with many ethical sourcing issues), and wood pulp, and are treated with chemicals for colour, absorption, scent, and waterproofing. A tremendous amount of resources go into producing and shipping these single-use products, only to end up in landfills and waterways. The need for affordable and reusable menstrual products could not be more clear.

Why Switch to Reusable Menstrual Products?

There is so much more to switching than just reducing waste! One of the most valuable things for me was learning to become more in tune with my body, especially as I enter perimenopause. While the initial cost of the swap is more expensive than a monthly supply of disposables, you will save time and money by not purchasing any more menstrual hygiene products for several years. Since switching, I am seeing more and more options pop up everywhere at more accessible prices. Some brands also donate to folks in need of menstrual products, so please consider this when making your selection.

So what are your options? In this series I will explore the 3 most popular options for zero waste – menstrual cups, cloth pads, and period underwear. I’ll discuss my experience with them, average cost, frequently asked questions, and more. Keep in mind that there is no perfect solution – your body and circumstances will change over time, so go with the flow…literally.

Click on the photos below for a more thorough explanation of each of the 3 most popular options for a zero waste period!

Full disclosure, I have not yet tried period underwear. I preferred tampons in The Before Times, so I naturally gravitated to the menstrual cup. I added in cloth pads for spotting and that combination suits my needs just fine. That said, the folks I know that use period underwear absolutely swear by them! There truly is no “one size fits all” – a mix and match of different options may be just the ticket for your period.

Are you ready to make the switch to reusables for your period?

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