When you really think about it, menstrual products create a large amount of waste.
Tampons, pads, liners, menstrual discs, and soiled undergarments end up in landfills. If your period lasts 5 days, and you use 6 tampons or pads a day, you are using 360 per year. That means 360 tampons/applicators or pads along with their wrappers in a landfill. Then there is the cost: it adds up month after month, year after year!
I know you have all been losing sleep over this, so I’m here to help with menstrual alternatives. All are eco and wallet-friendly!
Let me start by saying that when I first heard about “period underwear,” it did not seem enticing. At all.
They cost more than I would typically spend on a pair of underwear, but I justify this investment in two ways:
- First, it is worth it to have comfortable underwear. I deserve expensive underwear. I have been making the effort this year to actually get rid of the old, sad undies in my drawer, silencing the part of my brain declaring, “but they still work,” despite their unraveling elastic, faded colors, minor stains, or general state of looking depressed. There is no pride in keeping a pair of underwear for 10 years. You may be eco-friendly, but every other part of this story is sad.
- Second, I am saving money on pantyliners. No, pantyliners are not breaking the bank, but over time, if I can simply stop buying them, that’s one less expense. And again, less in a landfill.
I signed up for emails from a few different companies to get a code for a discount off my first order. I also get emails about sales!
Reusable Menstrual Discs
I fell in love with menstrual discs when I first tried them! I felt they were easier to use and more comfortable than menstrual cups (you may find the opposite, so give each a try!). Like cups, you can leave them in for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow. This is incredible! However, I felt like I was moving backward on the eco front by using them as opposed to a cup. After all, they are plastic, wrapped in plastic, and sold in a cardboard box. Then I found reusable ones. Sold!
Pro tip: these are slightly egg-shaped. Put the narrower end in first.
Both menstrual cups and reusable discs should be washed in between uses. You can buy special soap to use with them, but the online experts talk about scrubbing with a toothbrush or something to get in the crevices. If you aren’t thorough, I wouldn’t feel good about reusing these, given the bacteria that can linger by simply hand washing them.
I am lazy and run them through the dishwasher (yep) in between uses. My toddler recently asked if she could drink her milk from that little pink cup when I was unloading the dishwasher (hard no). You could also boil them but that seems awful time consuming to me. See above re: lazy.
The ideal number to have is enough to use one during the day and one overnight with enough extras to that you don’t have to run the dishwasher every day or run to the kitchen to grab it. I feel like 4-6 is my ideal. These discs and my one cup came with convenient storage cases/bags as well!
The price may make you stop for a second; $30 seems like a lot.
There are other brands, and they are even more expensive. I add them to my monthly subscribe-and-save order on Amazon and save a few bucks. I am have also been buying one per month and using the leftover tampons/disposable discs I have on hand for overnights. This is another up-front investment. I’m sure they should be replaced periodically, but I fully expect to get a few years’ uses out of each of these.
So there you have it, ladies. Choose which one of these menstrual alternatives feels simplest and give it a go. Take the small steps toward saving money and the environment, one month at a time!