Is It Time To Reconsider Your Menstrual Products? The Earth Says Yes!
If you’ve ever heard someone talk about bleeding green, you might think that sounds like some sort of Hulk problem, but it’s actually all about sustainable menstruation, AKA using good-for-the-planet products when you’re on your period. In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day, we wanted to address the plastic problem in the menstrual industry (it’s a biggie!) and how *you* can change it. Consider this your ultimate crash course – facts and figures included – on how bleeding green can change the world. And ofc, we’ve got you some sustainable goodies to shop for, too.
Why Does Sustainable Menstruation Matter?
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Before we get technical, let’s take a look at the facts:
Fact #1: 1.8 billion people in the world bleed, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Fact #2: National Geographic estimates that every menstruator uses between five to 15,000 pads and tampons in a lifetime.
Fact #3: Natracare, a plastic-free menstrual brand, discovered that in every packet of pads there’s the equivalent of five plastic carrier bags.
Fact #4: When discarded, these plastic-based products can take over 800 years to decompose.
Put these facts together and you’ll see that we have a serious problem on our hands – our periods are simply not sustainable. PERIOD. estimates 14 billion kgs (about the weight of 62 large cargo ships) of menstrual waste is produced every year – yikes! “Once thrown away in landfills or oceans, the plastic in disposable pads and tampons can take more than 800 years to break down, resulting in smaller pieces called microplastics, which are also harmful to animals and the planet,” reads their study. We’re clearly in need of some serious sustainable change!
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Why You Should Consider Being Sustainable With Your Period
According to the California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM), “Sustainable menstruation refers to the use of alternative products during one’s menstrual cycle for the benefit of the body and earth.” That means you’d be using greener alternatives like menstrual cups and reusable period pants, as opposed to plastic-wrapped pads and tampons with plastic applicators.
Apart from being a planet problem, disposable period products also take a chunk out of your paycheck. Their use-and-throw nature requires regular (re)purchasing, which could add up to a larger bill than reusable products. You can get a rough idea of how much you spend on menstrual products with PERIOD.’s Green Periods Calculator.
Fortunately, menstrual brands are becoming increasingly planet-positive with period products that can be washed and used many times to catch and absorb menstrual blood. Not to mention, they last you for ages and don’t require monthly drugstore trips!
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However, we also understand that #BleedingGreen is 100% a privilege. Many menstruators, especially those living in rural areas and with lower incomes, are still unable to find period products – let alone sustainable options – for their period. This lack of access to sanitary products is referred to as period poverty and it’s a very real issue; menstrual hygiene is a fundamental right, and shouldn’t be a privilege. Read more about period poverty here to find out how you can help or gain access to free period products.
Going Green with Your Period Products
We realize that making more sustainable choices with your period products can also be a little intimidating, especially when you’re on your period and dealing with PMS symptoms. Getting out of your comfort zone can be hard. There’s no denying that trying a new menstrual product can feel like a daunting process, however, it can also be super rewarding. Speaking from first-hand experience, when we trialed a menstrual cup for the first time, it took us about 15 minutes to insert and a couple of cycles before we fell in love with it. But it’s now our go-to, as it’s cheaper, greener, and we don’t ever have to worry about carrying tampons or pads in our purse.
Our tip for trying new period products: Try a new period product when you know you have a light schedule or when you’re at home so if there are any mishaps, you can easily change and reset. Similarly, you could also try a new menstrual product on those lighter days, when your period isn’t as heavy.
Now let’s get to the good stuff…
Menstrual Brands That Help You Bleed Green & Give Back
1. August Tampons, $11
August is a do-good period brand that’s all about sustainable absorbency. We love their tampons as they’re a) 100% organic cotton b) fully biodegradable and c) fitted with recyclable plastic long-applicators. This is a perfect option for all our tampon lovers who aren’t ready for a more significant change. Plus, the company donates 10% of its profits AND has a give-back option at checkout. When you donate $5 to August, they send 10 pads to No More Secrets, Mind Body Spirit Inc., a non-profit that distributes period products to communities in need, in addition to 10% of their total profits.
They have another really cool initiative: For every company that stocks their restrooms with August products, a school of equal size is filled with period products – now that’s a #GiveBack policy we support. August also offers biodegradable pads and pantyliners, so check those out too.
2. TheDivaCup Menstrual Cup, $33
Meet the menstrual cup that kicked the eco-period movement into overdrive. Made from flexible silicone, TheDivaCup Menstrual Cup, $33, is a small cup that stores period fluid for up to 12 hours, after which you empty the contents down the toilet or sink. It’s free from chemicals, plastic, and dyes, and can be reused for up to a year. There are three sizes to choose from, depending on your age and the weight of your menstrual flow.
3. Thinx Hiphugger, $35
If you’re looking to make your period more eco-friendly, consider investing in Thinx Hiphugger, $35. These figure-hugging undies are made with a super-absorbent fabric that can hold up to four tampons worth of blood – insane! Available in a range of styles and absorbency levels, you’ll find a cute pair for your tush. Whenever you shop from Thinx, you simultaneously contribute to smashing shame around bodies and reproductive health with their giveback program, GiveRise.
If you’re based in the UAE, we recently discovered another brand of period pants called Sayu and immediately fell in love. They offer a range of styles and absorbency levels and the fabric is soo soft.
4. Dame. Reusable Applicator Set, $32
The Dame. Reusable Applicator Set, $32, is a reusable, eco-friendly tampon applicator made from medical grade materials and infused with naturally occurring sanipolymers, which keep it antimicrobial at all times. Simply slot a cotton tampon into the mold and insert it like a regular tampon. For more deets, read our full review. We use it monthly! It’s especially great when you’re out and about, as once you’ve used the reusable tampon, you can just put the applicator cap back on and put it straight in your pocket or purse and rinse it later once you’re home.
BTW, did you know that soul care is the new self-care? Read our guide here.
Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.