Go Green: Your Guide to a More Eco-Friendly and Wallet-Friendly Period

tampons and period products with money
Photo by Gabrielle Rocha Rios for Unsplash

When you really think about it, menstrual products create a large amount of waste.

tampons and period products with money
Photo by Gabrielle Rocha Rios for Unsplash

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!

Replace Pads/Pantyliners

Period/Leakproof Underwear

CORA period underwear
©️ Amazon

Let me start by saying that when I first heard about “period underwear,” it did not seem enticing. At all.

I will admit that after trying them, I have never used them for my period with nothing else. I use them in place of a pantyliner, but they also work for mild incontinence. In general, my pelvic floor is “good enough,” but when I exercise I am pushing my limits (specifically anything that includes jumping). I have also found that during my period, it is beneficial to be wearing a pair of these versus just a liner if I am exercising, as all of that exertion can lead to more leakage in general.  I went to Pelvic Floor PT, and you should too. However, I recommend actually doing the recommended exercises consistently for the best results. Read about another writer’s experience here

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!

treat yo self GIF from Parks and Rec

Reusable Pads

There are many options for reusable pads out there. I don’t use pads, and at this point, the leakproof underwear are meeting my needs. But there are a ton of options out there! Google your way to a greener planet and a greener wallet!

Replace Tampons

Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups are placed inside the vagina to catch the blood. They are often emptied every time you use the bathroom, but they don’t have to, depending on your flow.  They are made of silicone and are reusable but should be washed in between uses. Here is a previous MMB post that discusses them. If you are new to menstrual cups, I recommend heading over here.

Reusable Menstrual Discs

Intimina menstrual disc
©️ Amazon

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! 


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