Reducing your carbon footprint during menstruation can be most effectively done by replacing disposable sanitary products with reusable ones. Our guide to eco-friendly menstruation is from menstrual panties to menstrual cups.
What eco-friendly menstrual supplies exist?
There are already several types of sanitary products on the market that make menstruation more eco-friendly because they are reusable. Let’s break them down.
Period panties have a similar design to regular panties. At first glance, you can’t tell them apart. However, menstrual panties have a special layer (sometimes even layers) that traps menstrual blood. The frequency of changing the panties depends on their materials and the strength of the menstrual period. However, the panties should hold menstrual blood to the extent normal for one to two tampons.
Menstrual panties are very comfortable and practical. Their disadvantage is the need to wash off the blood with cold water after using them. Only after washing off the blood can they be put in the washing machine. Some companies even produce period swimwear.
A menstrual cup can save up to 2,500 disposable pads or tampons. The cup is usually funnel-shaped and made of silicone. It is inserted in a similar way to a tampon. Once inserted, the cup creates a vacuum and then collects menstrual blood. The insertion time depends on the strength of your period, but it is usually recommended to pull it out after 4-6 hours.
The disadvantage of the menstrual cup is the need to sterilize it ideally after each use.
An eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads is reusable menstrual pads. These work in the same way as disposable pads. You attach them to your underwear and the pad absorbs menstrual blood. After use, you rinse, wash and dry it. Once dry, you can use it again.
Why aren’t disposable menstrual products eco-friendly?
Conventional menstrual pads contain a significant amount of plastic. According to one estimate, they contain up to 90% plastic.
Such a menstrual pad can take 500 to 800 years to decompose. During this process, they become microplastics, or pieces of plastic less than 5 millimeters in size. If these items don’t make it to the landfill, they can end up in the oceans
In addition, some standard feminine hygiene products may contain chemicals that disrupt hormones. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals include phthalates and parabens.