Let’s start with what it means to be “sustainable.” According to Wikipedia, when it comes to products, sustainability means they provide environmental benefits and protection “from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.” With that in mind, let’s talk about how we can have a more sustainable period.
We want to start by saying that when it comes to saving the environment, all we can do is our very best. The hard truth is that no action we take is going to single-handedly save the environment. But, we can take small steps in our day-to-day lives to at least help. These 5 tips definitely won’t hurt!
1. Use what you need for your flow
This is a 2-in-1: a health tip and a sustainability tip. If you’re a tampon user, using the right absorbency for your flow can help you limit waste and save you from health risks like TSS. Just paying careful attention to what your body actually needs will ensure every product goes to good use! And the best way to be sustainable is to use what we have.
2. Go organic
Speaking of tampon users (and no matter what period care you use,) it’s time to make the switch to organic cotton. We did a deep dive into whether organic tampons are better for you than regular and the short answer is no. However, they are very much better for the environment so making that switch is still a good idea. The same goes for pads. Our recommendation is to ditch the tampons altogether, but that’s a whole other conversation. 😉
3. When it comes to period underwear, go disposable
Wait… aren’t we saving the environment here? Yep. Did you know that a large percentage of reusable period underwear is made up of synthetic materials like nylon and spandex? Let’s think back to that definition of sustainability that says our products should protect the environment “until final disposal.” Well, those materials take anywhere from 20 to 200 years to break down. So while, yes, reusing is a great way to help out our environment (we aren’t arguing that at all,) those undies won’t break down when you do eventually throw them out. When it comes to period underwear, it’s best to opt for a disposable and biodegradable option. Added bonus: no rigorous washing process!
4. If you love reusables, take notice of their ingredients.
If that last tip broke your heart because you love your reusable pads or undies, try just implementing disposables (and biodegradables, of course) into your routine so you have to buy less reusables. Additionally, it’s possible that not all reusable items contain these synthetic fabrics. Just check ingredients before you buy and watch out for those environmental red flags.
5. Stop flushing period products
Your organic tampon likely isn’t helping anything by going into the sewer system. In order to get those environmental benefits, you need to throw it away. Unfortunately, a lot of organic tampons still come with plastic applicators which present a huge issue in our landfills. If you can’t let go of tampons because wearing a pad sounds like a nightmare, we suggest period underwear where not only the absorbent material, but the whole entire panty is biodegradable.
It’s important to note that running to your cabinet and trashing any and all non-organic products you have wouldn’t exactly be sustainable or helpful for our earth. Instead, implement small steps. Maybe get yourself some biodegradable panties for the next time you run out of tampons or to sleep in instead of buying another pair of reusables. Small steps over time = big changes. We hope your next period helps better the environment a little bit.