Let’s face it, period products are overpriced and wasteful. Despite being a necessity for half of the population, period products are viewed and priced as a luxury. The high price of tampons and pads means not all people who menstruate will be able to afford them, also known as period poverty. Unfortunately, over half of the people who menstruate were not able to afford period products at some time in the previous year. Alongside the cost, tampons and pads are nonreusable products that negatively impact the environment. Period products contain plastic, meaning they will take between 500 and 800 years to decompose in a landfill. The way we treat periods is flawed. Specifically in the United States, we need to address the limited access and environmental impact of menstruation products. People who menstruate should not be constrained to purchasing overpriced and unsustainable products.
There are many reusable period products alternative to pads, tampons, and liners. Washable fabric pads are an easy alternative to a typical on time use pad. Many companies sell reusable pads in multiple sizes that will last for years. Some companies that sell reusable pads are GladRags, Period Aisle, Rael, and Ruby Love. Fabric pads feel more comfortable, too. Similarly, period underwear is another popular sustainable option for its light and natural feeling. Menstrual products can be bulky and uncomfortable, but leak-proof underwear doesn’t cause any discomfort. Instead of tampons, menstrual cups are a different, longer-lasting option. Menstrual cups can be daunting but they catch more period blood than regular tampons and can last all day without being changed. Companies like June, MeLuna, Nixit, Lumma, and Intima sell menstrual cups and discs in different shapes and sizes to fit any body type. Tampons will always have to be removed within a few hours (or risk toxic shock syndrome) but menstrual cups hold a larger volume and aren’t dangerous to a person’s health. Reusable period products are more expensive up front, but it is a one-time payment rather than spending thousands over the years. If those who can afford to switch to reusable products, the environmental impact of menstruation will decrease too. Switching to sustainable menstrual products is beneficial financially and environmentally.
Reusable period products aren’t accessible to everyone because of their high cost, but there are other options. Tampons and pads contain plastics and chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment. Now, many companies offer products that are free from dyes, toxins, and plastics. The prices are comparable to other one-time use items but contain healthier contents. Top, Lola, and Veeda are all highly rated companies that sell natural menstrual products.
In thirty-five states in the U.S., period products are taxed as a luxury despite being a necessity. If someone has no way of caring for their period, they cannot go outside without the fear of bleeding through their clothing. Period products need to be available to everyone who menstruates, no matter their income. More attention needs to be directed to how period poverty is affecting half of the population. If reusable products were more easily available, people wouldn’t have to spend so much money on menstruation while helping the environment.