I believe that I covered most of the bathroom in my last post about Lush products, but as someone with a uterus I just couldn’t leave out sanitary products. Now, being on your period is probably the time of the month when you are least worried about waste and more worried about keeping clean and tidy. But you have to admit that throwing away umpteen sanitary towels or tampons is not exactly eco-friendly. The question is what do you do about it? Now I don’t know about you but growing up tampons and sanitary towels were the only two options presented to me if I didn’t want to go bleeding all over my clothes.
However with a bit of research I have found some low waste alternatives that actually turn out both cheaper in the long run and healthier for your between-me-down-there.
The main thing that i’ve used has been my contraception. There are certain types of contraception that will, if not stop, then severely reduce the amount that you bleed each month. I have a mirena coil, which other than only needing to be changed every 5 years (low waste and low hassle), has the added advantage of practically stopping my period. Now whilst it was uncomfortable when I first had it inserted, it was provided free by the NHS and family planning, and it doesn’t require me to remember to top up my contraceptive every day.
2. Menstrual cups
The Menstrual cup is a good alternative to tampons, it consists of a reusable silicone, is shaped like a bell and comes in a variety of sizes. It’s inserted the same as a tampon and removed every 4 or more hours (depending on flow), rinsed and reinserted. Due to its material it can be easily cleaned with boiling water or the same sterilising solutions used for baby bottles, and it can be reused for up to 5 years or until the silicone starts to degrade. Whilst Menstrual cups are initially more expensive than tampons, their long life makes them much cheaper in the long run. Menstrual cups also provide a safer alternative to tampons as studies have shown that whilst toxic shock syndrome can occur with tampons it is virtually non-existent with Menstrual cups.
3. Reusable pads
For those of you who suffer from vaginismus (vaginal tightness) or simply don’t want to use tampons or menstrual cups then reusable sanitary pads are another good, low waste, alternative. They usually come in packs of 3-5, are brightly coloured or patterned in order to help reduce staining, and can be washed in regular washing machines. A lot of them come with cloth cases to keep and carry them in and poppers to attach them to your underwear, which prevents the accidental and painful sticking of adhesive to skin and hair. Whilst they don’t have as long a life as Menstrual cups they are multiple use and are often made of biodegradable fibres such as bamboo. If you don’t fancy buying these pads then there are very simple pattens online for you to make your own out of scrap fabric.