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How To Be More Environmentally Sustainable: Period Edition

Menstruating comes with a lot of downsides. From cramps to mood swings, all the way to period cravings – the consequences of menstruation can be a huge pain in the butt. A specific consequence that should garner some attention is how environmentally damaging it can be. With all the extra plastic and waste that is generated through disposable period products, there should be more emphasis on alternative environmentally friendly options. Here is a list of four environmentally sustainable period products and tips that will hopefully make the worst time of the month a little bit more eco-friendly.

1. Reusable Pads

I’ve been using pads for an incredibly long time and to me, nothing beats how comfortable they are. Nevertheless, constantly having to change and throw them away makes me feel guilty as to how much excess waste it creates. With reusable pads, we can help mitigate all of that extra trash! There are many reusable pads you can get that aren’t super bulky or noticeable, and they even come in fun colors and patterns. After wearing the reusable pad, you throw it in the wash and put on a fresh new reusable one for all your period uses. They are even handy to carry with you in a purse/bag or stash in your car for emergency use and comfort.

2. Period Underwear

A great alternative to (or even another option to mix in with) reusable pads is period panties. This option both eliminates excess waste from standard pads and also mitigates some of the bulky and diaper-like feelings that pads come with. It may seem or feel a bit strange at first not to have any lining or pads when you’re menstruating, but period panties are built to absorb liquid and feel like normal underwear!

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3. Menstrual Cups

Ah, yes – the menstrual cup. I remember feeling terrified of sticking a small, plastic cup inside my body. However, from friends I have who have tried this option, they absolutely stand by it. Other than being eco-friendly, menstrual cups also tend to hold more liquid than the average tampon (depending on the type of cup you get, of course). Thus, menstrual cups are a great alternative for all the folks out there who love to use tampons. As an additional note, make sure to properly wash and take care of your menstrual cups to prevent infection or other health risks! Here is a link to the benefits, health details, and other important information about menstrual cups and how they should be properly cared for and used.

4. Plastic-Free Products

If you’re looking at the above alternatives and not seeing any that seem appealing to you, a great option in helping mitigate environmental waste and further damage is through plastic-free or biodegradable disposable period products. This could be as simple as looking for tampons without plastic applicators or finding biodegradable tampons and/or pads the next time you shop for menstrual products at the store or online. Simply looking for more environmentally sustainable options and putting in the effort to do some light research is part of the fight for a more sustainable way of menstruating.

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One important thing to remember is that the move towards being environmentally sustainable is an ongoing process. It’s okay if we haven’t thought about the repercussions of menstrual product waste before, and it’s okay to start making the move towards trying to be more eco-friendly now. Now is the time where we can truly start finding more ways to live more sustainably, and how we can figure out ways to mold and transform our world into a better, more environmentally sustainable place.

Catalina is currently a third-year English major at University of California, Davis. Her interests include watching Studio Ghibli movies, reading fantasy novels, listening to Broadway musicals, and cooking with her family. After graduation, Catalina would like to become a high school English teacher and share her love of storytelling with her future students. :)
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