Your Guide To a Zero Waste Period

by Cath

Deciding how you want to turn your period more zero waste can be scary.

There are a couple of options available but how do you know what is best for you? I’ll be laying out all the options for you to help you with your decision. But first of all, let’s get a few things out of the way.

These alternatives are more expensive but cheaper in the long term

These reusable options can be more expensive. They are cheaper in the long term but not everyone can choose to buy this more expensive item even though it pays out in the long run. The cheaper option of them is the menstrual pads, there are second-hand options available and if you’re crafty, you can make your reusable pads – perhaps with fabric that you already have.

If you can’t afford these items, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to reduce waste while saving money.

Don’t be ashamed of your period

All of these options do make you more in contact with your period.

It might be weird at first seeing and being in contact with your menstrual blood with these zero waste period alternatives.

There’s just this message that we should be ashamed of our periods, right?

Even we tell ourselves this story: menstruation is gross. It saddens me how menstruation is still such a taboo.

Menstruation isn’t gross, it’s actually wonderful to think that female bodies are preparing every month for an event but since the event doesn’t occur they just get rid of everything they prepared.

Kinda like setting up the table for a dinner party and then no one arrives and you just have to put it all away.

Hopefully, these reusable products can have a positive impact on how you see your period.

One other reason to use zero waste period options is the environmental impact.

Waste generated by disposable feminine hygiene products

The amount of waste generated by a woman using disposable menstrual products is huge. We’ve asked convenience and we got it. The problem is that it comes at the expense of the planet.

Count how many tampons and/or menstrual pads you use every month.

Then multiply that for the number of women in your country. Obviously not everyone uses the same quantity of disposable feminine hygiene products. Some use more, some use less. We’re doing a rough estimate just to understand the depth of the problem.

None of these disposable items are recycled.

Every single one of them is going to the landfill.

It’s scary, isn’t it?

Zero waste options

There are a couple of substitutions you can make in this department so you can have a lower waste period. I’ll start with the menstrual cup as I find it the most convenient and it’s slowly gaining popularity.

Menstrual cup

A menstrual cup is a small cup that can be inserted in the vagina and will collect blood throughout the day not letting any of it escape. Similar to the tampon, after inserting you won’t feel the sensation of blood coming out.

I will talk about other alternatives but to be very straight with you, the menstrual cup is my personal preference. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of the menstrual cup.

I honestly forget that it’s there. Sometimes I lay in bed to go to sleep and only then I realize that I forgot to remove the cup. This is how comfortable it feels to me. Even with tampons that I already found comfortable, I never had this feeling of freedom.

This is one of the zero waste switches that I did that don’t weigh on me.

I don’t need to think that this is better for the environment to do it. It’s easy, it’s comfortable, can’t go back anymore!

It also made traveling so much carefree. I don’t mind when my period comes when I’m traveling, that’s how this menstrual cup makes me feel, I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying that using a menstrual cup changed my life.

Price: 20$+, I love my Lunette menstrual cup but research the best option for you.

Reusable menstrual pads

reusable menstrual pads
Reusable pads work very similarly to disposable menstrual pads with the exception that they’re made with cotton fabric and have an absorbent layer. They can be reused for years.

They’re way more comfortable than disposable pads and there are a bunch of people making them online. I love how you can find these pads with so many different themes, personalized to your taste which certainly will encourage you to use reusable menstrual pads.

You do have to wash them, but I just put them in my regular wash, that way I’m not wasting water to wash them separately. Soak them in cold water (save the water wasted while waiting for the shower to heat up) until you’re ready to wash the reusable pads to prevent staining.

Places to find menstrual pads online:

Price: 20-25$/pack of five, you can even buy just one to see how it works out for you. Buying used will lower the price significantly.

Period panties

Period panties are basically panties that have an absorbent layer to pick up menstrual blood. Similar to reusable pads but they have the advantage of not worrying about placement.

You just put your period panties and you’re good to go.

I can’t talk much about them because I honestly haven’t tried them out.

I do know if they deliver what they promise, they’re the best thing ever, I’m a bit curious about trying them out. Reusable or disposable pads can fall out of place so it’s always nice to have a fully integrated solution that works.

Here are some brands I’ve heard good things about:

Sophie Hines also sells period panties kit to sew your own period panties, I bet it would be such a fun project to take on, it’s on my to-do list.

Price: 30$+ each, definitely the pricier option.

What should I do with all my disposable pads and tampons?

There are plenty of charities that need these feminine hygiene products. Here in Portugal I’ve decided to donate to an association that helps women that suffered domestic violence – APAV.

Are you ready to start having a zero waste period?

Check the one that resonates with you and contact them to see if they accept these products.

Hopefully, you’re less scared of diving into these options now that you’ve understood the difference between each one of them.

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