It’s week 5 already! How has the challenge been going for you? What changes have you made in your home and lifestyle this year so far to reduce your waste and impact on our Earth?
This week we’re going to look at reusable menstrual products. Obviously this is what we’re passionate about 🙂 I know when I was first making the switch I did TONS of reading and research before I switched over. I read blogs and reviews, talked to friends and looked over message boards. There are just so many options out there!! We’ll help break it down for you.
That’s A LOT of trash and a lot of money! Most environmental experts agree that the plastics involved with these products will never decompose. Which means our great great great granddaughters are still going to have the waste from the disposable menstrual products we use today.
Not to mention to chemicals that are in disposable products and some of the health ramifications that can come from exposure to those chemicals. Treehugger.com has some great information here on the chemical components and possible side effects of disposable options.
Compare all that with the fact that a single Keeper or Moon Cup costs $35 and you’ll only use 3 or 4 in your entire life. They’re small enough to stick in your pocket, super easy to travel with, don’t contain dioxin or bleach, are more discreet than a rattling plastic or paper wrapper and you’re reducing a TON of waste.
The Keeper Cup is our original cup made of natural gum rubber. The Moon Cup is made of medical-grade silicone. You’ll want the size A if you’ve given birth vaginally and the size B if you haven’t. Once you get use to using them you won’t feel them at all and they’re super easy to care for. Check out our FAQs or order one here!
However, we realize that cups aren’t for everyone and you may not want to use a cup all the time. We know some women tend to use cups on their heavy days and switch to cloth pads for lighter days. Some women choose cloth pads when they want something cute- you can get some really fun colors, patterns and characters in cloth pads!
Cloth pads are a great option and a “full stash” will cost around $150 and last for 5-10 years. Still a HUGE cost savings over disposables and many cloth pads can be composted when you’re done using them. Glad Rags were really the pioneers in brining cloth pads mainstream. If you peruse their website you’ll find research, articles, comparisons, and more of a wide variety of reusable menstrual products.
There are dozens of brands of cloth pads out there and Party in My Pants will even send you a free liner to try here.
A lot of people are intimidated by the laundry associated with cloth pads. You can just toss them in with your other laundry. I usually add mine in to my darks or along with my towels. Every brand has their own suggestions for how to store dirty pads based on the materials the pads are made out of so make sure to check with your individual brand as to if they suggest soaking or a dry storage method before washing.
If you’re crafty Keeper of the Home has a great tutorial on making your own cloth pads here.
Another option are sea sponges. Our friends at Jade and Pearl sell sustainably harvested, totally renewable sea sponges that can be reused for 3-6 months. They’re super soft, easy to care for and are another chemical-free option. Women are always surprised by how absorbent they are and they can be used during intercourse unlike a cup.
No matter what you choose to use switching to reusable menstrual products takes the hassle out of your period and saves your a ton of money. I actually even find I enjoy having my period more now and find that I can read my body a lot better since switching to a cup. Think about it- for the next 5-10 years you’ll never have to run to the store again to pick up pads and tampons. You can keep them in your purse and won’t have any more embarrassing moments when you start early and have to borrow from someone else. Plus you’ll save hundreds of dollars and drastically reduce your impact on the Earth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olivia lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and 4 year old son. She enjoys spending time in the mountains, studying about essential oils, natural remedies and herbs, as well as upcycling/ DIY projects. Olivia’s family made the move last year towards becoming a Zero Waste household. They have gotten down to one bathroom sized trashcan a month of garbage but hope to be totally Zero Waste by the end of 2015.
Like this? Check out the rest of our Waste Less and Be Green in 2015 series for more tips!