My dear friend Lizzie had posted an article on social media not too long ago that stated that menstrual products are the fifth most common plastic polluting the ocean. The FIFTH! While I already knew and know the effect plastic is having on the oceans and the environment, it really got me going to making more changes. Not just the plastic applicator, but the overall excessive use and creating more harmful waste. According to the non profit organization City to Sea, "the average menstrual pad contains the equivalent of four plastic grocery bags." This is pretty alarming no doubt. In addition to adding more waste to the landfill, we are spending a considerable amount on tampons and pads. But it's not only the waste and cost that are issues, we also should be informed of what is being put into and onto our bodies. Cotton is one of the TOP crops that is chemically treated. So being conscious of the fact that we have poisonous chemicals that are going into our most sensitive and vulnerable parts of our bodies.
Let's make our world environmentally clean and safe.
And not this.
You've no doubtedly seen other recent articles, like this one about whales being washed up to shore that have died as a result of hundreds of pounds of plastic found in their bellies. It's heartbreaking, but we mustn't just put the blame or point the finger at other countries and other people if they are occuring over seas or remote areas. It's happening everywhere as our trash is traveling. Making its way into streams, rivers and oceans, plastic and trash is destroying eco systems, marine life and our environment. We have overstayed our welcome in recycling as we are out of control and it's imperative to take ownership and responsibility. We must continue to recycle for sure, but more importantly, reduse our waste. How can we as women be more considerate and mindful during that time of the month?
We can do better for our bodies, and we can do better for the environment and our pocketbook, too.
Here are a few options you might want to consider:
1. Try a menstrual cup -
These may not be for everyone, but they are certainly on the rise in popularity among teens and adults alike. Once inserted it is able to catch everything not by absorption like tampons, but by keeping it trapped inside its cup and not stripping away the bodie's natural moisture. Not all cups are created equal nor a one size fits all. There are a few things that you should keep in mind when finding the right one for you. As women, we are all designed differently. Watch below for what a menstrual cup is and how it works.
Take this quiz to find the right cup for you. Putacupinit.com who gave you this video and youtube channel under the same name is the perfect resource center for you for all things cup and period related.
2. Eco-friendly pads -
Yes, this is a thing. Pretty much like cloth diapers were huge years ago, and similarly being used today but not as much, cloth pads are rising in popularity. Now, you might think it's gross or unsanitary, but it really isn't if you think about it. You simply rinse them out and then throw them in the washing machine just like you would for your underwear. You wear and wash those, right? There are different types of pads that you can choose from. There are thicker pads for your heavier and moderate days, as well as your every day liners. You can readily find them on Amazon like these here, or if you would like to support small businesses on Etsy, you can find many available like these or these here. I encourage you to shop around and see what you think would work best for you. Personally I like all of the cute fabrics to choose from. Again, choosing organic cotton that is touching your skin would be the best option.
3. Eco-friendly pads DIY -
Spending a few dollars like $30 - $40 on a cup (which will last you a really long time!) or around the same amount for pads is a pretty darn good investment. But if you are even a novice at sewing and have some adorable vintage fabric laying around - I do! then sewing your own pads are even an option, too. And there is something that is satisfying to making your own and completing your own DIY projects.
This gal on youtube has some really great, easy to follow tutorials on making your own pads - how to sew them, what materials to use, and how to keep them clean.
You can also DIY regular panty liners that are great for every day use and to use along with your menstrual cup for added piece of mind during heavy days. There are several Youtube tutorials on creating cloth pads using more or less absorbing materials as well as snap closures, plain, or however big or small you would like them to be. Find a tutorial too on making a pattern on your own.
4. Period panties -
If a cup or reusable pads aren't your thing, then you can always consider period panties. They are unobtrusive pads that are a part of the garment. I know that THINX offers several styles of period panties that include boyshorts, hip-hugger, cheeky, high-waist, sport, and even thong. Simply wear as you would your traditional panties, rinse out, and launder as usual.
With a little bit of care and commitment to being consciously aware, we can all partake to lessening our carbon footprint and make the world a better place to live.