Ready to attempt a zero-waste, plastic-free period? We can get behind that. The reality is, sustainable period products can make a world of difference for our, well, world—the trick is figuring out what works best for your body, your needs, and your comfort.
Today, we’re teaching you all about the sustainable menstrual products you need to know to make an educated, informed decision for your waste-free menstrual cycle. The good news? There are tons of options out there that can work for any menstruator—you just need to know where to start.
Why We Stress Sustainable: The Facts Behind Period Products
The harsh reality? Disposable, single-use period products are destroying our planet. No, they’re certainly not the only culprit, but to say they’re not an enormous part of the problem is simply untrue.
Not only are single-use items like tampons and pads filling up our waterways, overflowing our landfills, and harming animals and marine life, but also, the production of the material used to make applicators and back-strips on pads (called low-density polyethylene) contributes to the leading cause of global warming.
The worst part about the impacts of disposal period products is the microplastics they’re made of. They take centuries to biodegrade. That means the period products a menstruator uses will far outlive the life of the menstruator—in other words, your negative impact on the planet could last anywhere from 500-800 years.
This might all sound sort-of negative, but it’s true that single-use, plastic products are majorly contributing to the pollution of the planet. There are steps you can take toward turning this around—and it all starts with the type of product you choose to use to manage your own menstrual cycle.
Sustainable Menstrual Products You Should Know About
Reusable Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are comfortable, seamless alternatives to traditional menstrual methods. Designed to collect blood internally, cups are inserted into your vagina and positioned to form a seal against your cervix. Menstrual cups are incredibly eco-friendly (and *spoiler alert* we sell a phenomenal one) and can help you make your way toward an entirely zero-waste period. They’re also vagina-friendly with no pH issues, have a much lower risk of TSS than tampons, and when inserted correctly, can offer up to 12 hours of comfortable protection. All you need to do is clean and sterilize your cup after you’ve used it, then you can continue using it for life—no need for plastics, packaging, or pollution.
Like menstrual cups, menstrual discs also collect menstrual blood internally. The difference? A disc sits in the vaginal fornix (the widest part of your vagina) whereas a cup is placed in the vaginal canal and forms a seal with your cervix. A disc collects blood like a cup but is kept in place by gravity and positioning. Discs, just like cups, can ensure you have a zero-waste period—they can also be worn for up to 12 hours, hold about 4 tampons worth of fluid (depending on your flow), can be worn during sex, and should be entirely comfortable.
Comfortable, reusable, and zero-waste, period underwear can be an amazing option for menstruators who are looking to keep their period waste-free but aren’t interested in inserting menstrual hygiene products. Our JUNE Period Underwear offers hours of protection by seamlessly absorbing period blood, bladders leaks, sweat, and more.
What do we love about period underwear? First of all, they’re an exceptionally comfortable, non-invasive way to opt for a sustainable period. But we also love that they can be used on their own or in conjunction with another sustainable period product (like a cup or a disc) to offer extra support. The best part? Wearing them overnight is no problem.
If you absolutely love using pads but can’t get on board with how wasteful and harmful the disposal options are, know that you can continue using your beloved pads without hurting the environment.
How? With reusable pads. Reusable pads work really similarly to disposal pads. They secure to your underwear and externally absorb any menstrual fluid, leaks, or sweat externally. The difference? Once you’re done with one for the day, you pop them off, wash them, and reuse them for as long as they last (which is undoubtedly so much longer than a single-use pad).
Reusable Tampon Applicators
Some menstruators might be totally unwilling to part with their tampon application method—we get it. It’s hard to opt-out of something that might work best for your body. Just like with pads, there are more sustainable options out there for tampon users—the reusable tampon applicator.
There are several sustainable applicators on the market that are designed to last a lifetime. All you need to do is insert some of your favorite organic menstrual hygiene products (that are plastic-free) and you’ll be on your way to a more sustainable period. When it’s time to change your tampon, you’ll want to make sure you dispose of your organic tampon properly (AKA, don’t flush it, please). Obviously, if this is your method of choice, it’s not going to be 100% waste-free—but it’s a much better approach than opting for single-use, plastic tampons every time your cycle comes around.
Menstrual Questions? You’re in the Right Place
Reading this blog, establishing awareness about the environmental impact of disposal period products, and educating yourself further are the right first steps toward a waste-free period. What comes next? Picking the product (or products) that work for you! It’s crucial to balance your health and well-being with the planet’s, so if you’re unsure about what works for your body, chat with your healthcare provider to see if they can offer any useful insight.
For other questions though—like period-related inquiries, thoughts on our products, or a friendly pal to bounce ideas off of—we highly recommend you reach out to us at JUNE. Send us an email any time at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.
Interested in other helpful articles, sustainability tips, and menstrual health information? Our blog is here for you. Check back in every week for regular updates that can inform, educate, and provide menstrual insight.