Sustainability 101 – Sustainable Periods

The environmental impact of periods

At the moment, for most of us our periods are not all that sustainable.  Here are some not so fun facts:

  • Did you know that the average woman will get through 11,000 tampons and sanitary towels in her lifetime?  
  • Each pack of sanitary towels can contain the equivalent amount of plastic as 4 plastic carrier bags
  • A year’s worth of disposable period products leave a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg CO2 equivalents
  • Most tampons contain chemicals such as dioxin, chlorine and rayon. Once they go to landfill, these chemicals get soaked up by the earth and are released as pollution into groundwater and air (not to mention that before that they are rather close to your most sensitive parts!).
Sustainable periods

Having more sustainable periods

Periods are in many ways a big pain in our lady parts. And that’s before you even get to thinking about the environmental impact of the products that just make our lives that much easier. But given how many of us ladies there are, it is something we must tackle. Thankfully, there are lots of proactive and clever people working on alternatives! I’m going to take you through some of the options I’ve tried and love as well as some other potential options out there. Ideally, we would all use entirely reusable products – the longer life cycle reduces the impact of production, packaging etc thereby making our periods more sustainable. However, sometimes the practicality of something that is disposable is a necessity. And there are more environmentally friendly options even if they aren’t perfect from an environmental perspective.

Modibodi susainable periods
Modibodi Classic Bikini

Modibodi Sustainable Period Underwear

This underwear is amazing!  Modibodi have developed a range of period-proof underwear which can absorb up to 4 tampons worth and for me can entirely replace tampons and towels.  The underwear comes in different shapes, sizes and styles to fit every body and flow.

How it works:

  • Quickly wicks away moisture, fights bacteria and stops smells, so you stay dry and fresh
  • Safely absorbs fluid and locks it away (2.5-20mls depending on the flow you go with)
  • Bottom layer provides extra waterproof protection, so you’re super secure and sassy as always

Menstrual cups

Not something I’ve tried personally but may suit someone with heavier flow who is nervous about relying on one pair of undies for a whole day.

The OrganiCup looks like a great option.  Key facts:

  • OrganiCup holds up to 3 tampons worth and can be worn for up to 12 hours. Forget about your period during the day and night.
  • Made of 100% soft medical-grade silicone. No BPA, no latex, no dye.
  • Last years, not hours. No constant waste and no monthly purchases.
OrganiCup sustainable periods
LittleLamb cloth towel sustainable periods
LittleLamb Cloth Sanitary Pad

Reusable sanitary towels

Again, these are great for those that want the flexibility of being able to change them during the day.  There are a variety of reusable sanitary pads out there but this one from LittleLamb (they started with baby products!) has a layer of super absorbent bamboo that when combined with a layer of clever micro fleece, quickly wicks away moisture, leaving you feeling fresher for longer.

Did I mention that all these reusable options are also much cheaper than disposables?

Organic cotton disposables

If you still want or need to go down the disposable route then the best option is organic cotton.  I’ve bought some of these products off the shelf in the States but came across Callaly in my research.  Boxes include organic cotton products which are gentle on your body and the planet with all products free from dioxins, dyes, pesticides and fragrances.  The tampliner was also invented by a gynaecologist to make periods easier.

Callaly sustainable periods
Callaly box

That’s all for now team, let me know if you’ve tried any of the above and what your favourite is in the comments! 

Leanne xx 

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