Earth Day was established in the United States in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson and had notable rallies in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It went global in 1990 and is now celebrated on April 22 by an estimated one billion people each year. People recognize Earth Day by carpooling, recycling, planting trees, and more that many decide to incorporate into their daily lives. An excellent alternative for people who menstruate is trying environmentally conscious menstrual products that range from tampons to period underwear. Here are six menstruation products that make mother earth proud.
(1) 100% Natural Cotton Applicator-Free Tampons
Did you know a disposable pad or tampon can be up to 90 percent plastic? Traditional single-use tampons and their counterpart pads end up in landfills or the ocean for hundreds of years before they break down. Choosing 100% cotton without the applicator is healthier for a person’s body and the earth.
(2) Period Underwear
Period underwear, also known as period panties, is just like regular underwear, only they have an extra layer of fabric that absorbs the blood during a period. Menstruation underwear is an excellent choice for people with all flow levels and is perfect for light, medium, or heavy flow days. You can wear period panties on its own or with a tampon or menstrual cup. They are available in many cuts, styles, and absorbency levels. The care instructions typically require the user to rinse the garment before washing. Once air-dried, they are as good as new and ready for future use.
(3) Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cups look like little bells or bowls and consist of rubber, silicone, or soft plastic. A user would wear the cup inside the vagina, where it will collect menstrual blood. In most cases, the cups are reusable. Once empty, it needs to be washed, stored and used again. There are disposable menstrual cups meant to be thrown after either one use or one period cycle, depending on the brand.
It is important to note that do not use a menstrual cup if an individual has an IUD. A menstrual cup can potentially disrupt the placement of an IUD.
(4) Menstrual Discs
A menstrual disc is similar to a menstrual cup and has single-use and reusable versions. They take a bit more practice than menstrual cups and sit farther up in a vagina, ideally at the base of the cervix.
(5) Cloth Pads
A 2019 study found that a disposable pad decomposes in 500 to 800 years. Cloth Pads work the same as disposable pads. They have an extra layer of fabric that absorbs blood during a period, works for all flow levels, and comes in various sizes. The care instructions are similar to period panties and require the user to rinse the garment before washing. Once air-dried, ready for future use.
(6) Tampon Applicator
Annually, 7 billion tampons and accompanying applicators end up in the trash. Traditional tampon applicators are made from low-density polyethylene and are one of the largest producers of waste in period products and take large volumes of fossil fuel to produce.
Environmentally friendly reusable tampon applicators paid with 100% cotton tampons plastic-free help reduce waste and are great for reproductive health.
Making the Switch
When switching to more sustainable period products, be sure to look out for reusability, antimicrobial technology, plastic-free, chemical-free, and their reviews to make sure you are purchasing the perfect period product for you. Choosing more eco-friendly period products is beneficial for personal reproductive health and the environment, but only you can choose what works best for you and your body.
Learn more about menstruation here.