12 Sustainable Products to Help You Have an Eco-Friendly Period
When it comes to taking care of our health, we often focus on what we eat and drink. However, we don’t always consider what we put in our bodies. That’s why it’s important to think about eco-friendly period products.
Since we use these products every month for most of our lives, it’s crucial for both our health and the health of our planet. When you’re ready to make your period more eco-friendly, take a look at some of these best eco-friendly menstrual products and decide which ones are right for you.
Why Choose Eco-Friendly Period Products?
Between the cramps, nausea, and mood swings, being on your period is hard enough. But then you add the waste and dangerous chemicals that can be hiding in traditional period products and it gets even worse. So why it is so important to make the switch to eco-friendly period products?
Traditional Menstrual Products Are Wasteful
First, think about the amount of waste that traditional menstrual products produce. If you’re talking about tampons, you have the plastic wrapper, the plastic applicator, and the tampon itself. If you’re talking about pads, you once again have the plastic wrapper, the plastic sheet over the adhesive, and the pad itself.
Since menstrual products are considered medical waste, they’re not tracked and it’s difficult for researchers to know just how much waste they create. However, we do know that the average woman will use anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 products in her lifetime. That’s certainly a lot of trash that can’t be recycled and simply ends up in the landfill.
Once thrown away, pads and tampons break down into microplastics that enter our water supply and pollute our rivers and oceans. There are so many microplastics in our water supply, scientists think we consume about five grams of them every week. That’s basically like eating a credit card each week.
Even if these products don’t end up in our waterways, they still go into landfills. Once here, they can take anywhere from 500 to 800 years to break down. But waste isn’t the only thing we have to worry about.
What’s Hiding in Traditional Period Products?
You would think manufacturers would be required to tell us about the ingredients in their products that go into or right next our bodies for several hours a day. Unfortunately, they don’t.
However, the Women’s Environment Network estimates disposable pads and tampons could be up to 90% plastic, with the majority of these plastics being polyethylene, polyester, and polypropylene.
Additionally, tampons often contain pesticide-grown cotton and are usually dyed white using chlorine bleach. Not exactly things you want inside your body!
Even worse, a study done in 2020 found endocrine-disrupting chemicals like phthalates, parabens, and bisphenols in feminine hygiene products. Exposure to these endocrine disruptors can affect your hormones and might even lead to fetal development issues or cancerous tumors.
Reusable Period Products Save You Money
Not only can you avoid excess waste and dangerous ingredients when you switch from traditional menstrual products to eco-friendly products, but you can also save money.
One menstrual cup can last you for years and years. However, a box of 30 disposable tampons will only last you about 1 to 2 months. If you figure the average box of tampons costs around $7 and you’ll probably have about 450 periods in your lifetime, that means you’ll spend at least $3,150 on something you’re literally throwing away every month.
With so many issues associated with traditional menstrual products, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to make the switch to more sustainable period products.
Fortunately, we have so many options available, it’s easy to find the perfect one that fits your lifestyle. Take a look at these best eco-friendly period products and pick the ones that work for you.
Are Reusable Period Products Actually Sanitary?
When first making the switch to a reusable period product, you might be worried that it’s unsanitary. However, the truth is, as long as you take care of your period undies, reusable pad, or menstrual cup, they’re just as sanitary as the disposable pads or tampons.
You can sanitize most menstrual cups with a mild soap and boiling water.
To clean reusable pads or period underwear, rinse them first in cold water to prevent staining. Then you can either hand wash them or throw them in the washing machine. If you decide to wash them in the machine, put them in a wash bag to prevent any unnecessary wear and tear.
Here’s another helpful tip if you decide to use period underwear or reusable pads: consider picking up this linen bag. It’s specially designed to hold soiled reusables until you’re able to get them home and wash them.
1. Lena Cup
Lena Cup makes it easy to have a zero waste period. This reusable menstrual cup is designed to fit comfortably inside you like a tampon and collect your flow without any leaks.
Since the cup is made from 100% premium medical-grade silicone that’s BPA-free and latex-free, you can wear it for up to 12 consecutive hours both day and night.
The Lena Cup is available in either a small or large size. First-time users and those with a normal flow should choose the small. The large is good for long-lasting protection and those with a heavy flow.
2. Lunette Cup
A Lunette Cup will give you comfortable, odor-less protection during your period. Since the cup can last up to 10 years, just one can replace more than 2,500 tampons.
The cups are made from medical-grade silicone, which means they’re latex-free, BPA-free, vegan, and safe to wear for up to 12 hours and overnight. Each cup also comes with a matching pouch, so you can easily carry it with you for whenever you need it.
The cups are available in size 1 and size 2. Size 1 has a softer silicone and is good for light to normal flows. Size 2 has a firmer silicone and is ideal for normal to heavy flows. In addition to purple, the Lunette Cup also comes in blue.
DivaCup believes you shouldn’t have to use chemical-laden, plastic-infused tampons for leak-proof protection during your period. That’s why the company makes a 100% healthcare-grade silicone menstrual cup that can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time.
The cups are available in three sizes. Model 0 is recommended for those under the age of 18. Those under the age of 30 who have never given birth should choose Model 1. Model 2 is recommended for those 30 years and older or those who have given birth.
You can get DivaCup from EarthHero, which is one of the best zero waste online shops for all of your eco-friendly essentials. If you decide to order from EarthHero, be sure to use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to take 10% off your order!
Most menstrual cups are made with silicone. If you’re not interested in using silicone, check out HEVEA and their natural rubber menstrual cup.
Since the cup is made with 100% natural rubber, it’s non-toxic, plastic-free, and biodegradable. The flexible, soft design makes it easy to insert, and it even comes with a helpful loop-style stem that makes it easy to remove.
You can wear the cup for up to 12 hours, and it comes with a handmade upcycled cotton and linen carrying bag. The HEVEA menstrual cup is available in three sizes.
Teenagers and first-time users should use size 1. Size 2 is good for people who either haven’t given birth or who have given birth by c-section. Lastly, size 3 is recommended for those who have given birth vaginally or those with heavy flows.
OrganiCup is another outstanding zero waste period product to consider. Since it’s made with 100% medical-grade silicone, it won’t interfere with your body’s natural environment like a tampon can.
This means no dryness, no itching, and no infections. Plus, since there are no allergens, it’s also safe for sensitive skin.
You can leave the OrganiCup in for 12 hours. That means you can empty it once in the morning after having it in overnight and once in the evening after using it during the day.
Once you insert the cup properly, you won’t feel a thing and there’s no risk of leaking. This makes OrganiCup great for swimming, participating in sports, and sleeping.
The mini size is ideal for teens or anyone new to menstrual cups. If you have a light to medium flow or you haven’t given birth, choose size A. Those with a medium to heavy flow and those who have given birth vaginally can use size B.
Related: The Best Safety Razor for Beginners
6. Saalt Cup
The Saalt soft menstrual cup is better for you and the environment since it’s made from medical-grade silicone that’s free of chemicals, toxins, BPA, and latex. In addition to these benefits, the cups are also vegan and cruelty-free.
One cup provides up to 12 hours of day or night protection. In fact, the regular size cup holds the equivalent of 3 to 4 tampons. It’s the ideal size for those with a normal to heavy flow, those who have given birth, or those with a high cervix. The cup is also available in a small size.
7. Saalt Underwear
In addition to cups, Saalt also makes period underwear. The great thing about period panties is that they come in pretty much every style out there, so you can easily find the one you like to wear.
Not only are the underwear the ideal replacement for liners and pads, but they’re also perfect to wear with a cup so you can enjoy complete leak-free confidence without any bulkiness.
The underwear are soft, lightweight, comfortable, and stretchy. And if you think period underwear doesn’t have any absorbency, think again!
Panties with light absorbency can hold as much as 1 or 2 light tampons, and panties with regular to high absorbency can hold as much as 2 to 3 regular tampons.
Here are the different styles of Saalt period underwear available. I recommend picking up one or two of your preferred styles so you always have something you’ll feel comfortable in and that works with your outfit.
- Thong Period Underwear
- Bikini Period Underwear
- Lace Hipster Period Underwear
- Mesh Hipster Period Underwear
- High Waist Brief Period Underwear
GladRags give you the coverage and absorbancy of a pad, but without all the waste! In addition to being zero waste, GladRags offer a variety of other benefits over traditional pads.
First, they’re made from a comfortable all-cotton material that doesn’t contain any plastics, artificial fragrances, adhesives, or chemical gels. They also have a unique three-part design that lets you customize the absorbency of the pad.
Plus, GladRags come in a variety of styles to help you find the one that matches your needs. These styles include:
While GladRags are designed to last at least 5 years, some people say their reusable pads are still doing just fine after using them for over 20 years! When your GladRags do reach the end of their useful life, you can simply cut off the snaps and compost them.
Sometimes you have light days. Other times you have a little spotting. Sometimes you just don’t know what to expect. On those days, you don’t have to turn to a wasteful pantyliner. Instead, choose Smartliners!
These reusable daily liners are made from certified organic cotton. Instead of plastic layers and toxic adhesives that you normally find with disposable liners, these liners have a Velcro fastener that keeps them in place.
In addition to daily liners, you can also get liners that can handle heavy and ultra-heavy flows.
After you’ve used one of the absorbent liners, you simply put it in its enclosed wash pouch and place it in your normal laundry.
If you’re not quite ready to go with reusable period products, you still have options that are similar to traditional products but with more sustainable features. Natracare offers eco-friendly menstrual products that are gentler on the planet.
Their pads have an organic cotton cover and absorbent cellulose core. They also contain no added perfumes, dyes, chlorine, or additives. Plus, since they’re individually wrapped in compostable starch film packaging, they’re completely plastic free.
Natracare tampons are made with 100% organic cotton and nothing else! They come with either an easy-glide cardboard applicator or no applicator at all. Since the tampon and applicator are made from completely natural materials, they’re biodegradable and compostable after you use them.
11. Tampon Tribe
Tampon Tribe is another company that makes it easier to know what you’re putting inside your body. The company offers cotton tampons, pads, and pantyliners.
The natural tampons and pads use 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and a protective layer of specially woven cotton that won’t leave behind any unwanted fibers.
In addition to being free from harmful chemicals like chlorine and dioxin, the tampons have a biodegradable applicator with a comfortable rounded tip that makes them easier to insert.
When you place an order, you can help reduce waste by choosing between a jute storage bag or a refill that comes in a paper bag. Plus, for every pack sold, Tampon Tribe gives back by providing a day pack of feminine hygiene products to those in need.
12. Eco by Naty
In addition to offering eco-friendly diapers and sustainable baby wipes, Eco by Naty also has eco-friendly period products. Their eco menstrual pads are made from 95% biodegradable plant-based materials and wrapped in a non-GMO biobased protective film.
Not only do the cruelty-free and vegan pads contain no oil-based plastics, but they also don’t contain any VOCs, fragrances, parabens, HAP, or latex.
Since they’re lightweight and breathable, they offer outstanding protection against leaks while still being comfortable to wear. You can also choose between regular, super, and night absorbancy.
Along with pads, Eco by Naty also has soft and comfortable pantyliners.
Top Eco-Friendly Period Products for Your Health
Whether you’re interested in a menstrual cup, period panties, reusable pads, or something a little more traditional, you can make your time of month more sustainable when you select one of these best eco-friendly period products.
More Outstanding Eco-Friendly Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about the best eco-friendly period products? Interested in discovering even more tips that can help you live an eco-friendly life? Then please be sure to check out some of our other popular posts: