Our periods are as unique as we are, so we will all find that certain period products are better suited to our bodies. It’s all about choosing an option that is most comfortable and convenient for us, and switching whenever we feel the need. If you’re looking to explore period products and how we can make more sustainable choices when it comes to your favourite kind of product, then we’ve got you covered!
We’ll cover everything from pads, to tampons, to reusable period pants and menstrual cups and what sustainable choices we can make to stay comfortable while helping our planet at the same time.
Did you know that in some countries, pads are the only option? As late as 2015, not a single tampon was produced inside China for example. So it’s no surprise that pads are the most popular period product on the market. 63% of the global population use pads with wings.
They’re a great product in terms of comfort and ease of use. Simply pop them inside your underwear and you’re good to go. They normally need changing every 4 to 8 hours depending on your flow.
However, a lot of pads are made from 90% plastic and come in plastic packaging which means that these can be a really wasteful product. Luckily, there are better, more eco-friendly alternatives.
Flo creates bamboo pads that are made from 100% organic materials that come in compostable wrappers - we love to see it!
Liners are much the same as pads but a lot less absorbent. Some people choose to use these at the very start or end of their period, or if they’ve got a particularly heavy flow and are using a tampon.
They can also be a way of protecting your pants from stains if you have times within your cycle where you have a heavy discharge.
Much like pads, they’re plastic heavy, but in just the same way they’re also available in more sustainable varieties such as 100% organic liners that are hypoallergenic and plastic-free.
Love pads and liners but hate waste? Reusable period pants look and feel like normal underwear but they’re just a lot more absorbent.
2-3 times a day, you change your period pants and pop them in the wash and that’s it. You can even get your hands on swimwear!
After use, try swilling your pants in the sink before popping them in a cool wash in the washing machine. Cooler washes mean they last longer which is great for the environment.
Check out your local eco-shops for their reusable period pant offerings.
Just like period pants these are a fabric alternative to liners and pads. This time, they often come with a popper so that you can secure these to your usual underwear.
They’ve got the same eco-credentials as period pants and need to be cared for in much the same way.
Both are great options if you’re particularly sensitive to chemicals as they often come in bamboo or cotton which tends to be hypoallergenic.
Probably the least known option on this list is interlabial pads. They’re absorbent, reusable pads that are worn externally but held into place by your labia, think of them like a tampon and pad hybrid.
Often leaf-shaped, interlabial pads are not inserted inside your vaginal opening but sit close to this within your outer labia. They may seem strange at first but are a great addition to pads, tampons, or menstrual cups for anyone with a heavy flow.
They help prevent “channelling” where your flow might leak from the front or back of a pad as they slow the flow down.
Like reusable pads and pants, they can be washed and used again and again.
Interlabial pads are also used in lieu of panty-liners for discharge and light incontinence.
In some cultures, tampons are frowned upon due to the tampons and virginity myth. Rooted in 1930s tampon commercials, which were only marketed to married women, some communities still view tampons as a way of losing your virginity. Remember, your use of tampons and your sex life are completely separate things.
Tampons are great if you don’t want a visible panty-line or if you do a lot of activities like gymnastics or swimming.
Tampons also get a bad rep when it comes to the environment, as applicator tampons are, you guessed it, plastic heavy.
Again, eco saviour Flo, has created sustainable tampons that are made from 100% organic cotton.
Want to make a big impact on your waste? Menstrual cups are a great alternative to tampons and can last around 10 years.
Rather than absorbing blood like a tampon, they collect it. Every 10-12 hours you can simply empty the cup in your sink or toilet and give it a quick wash and pop it back in. Then, between periods, you can sterilise your cup for a more thorough wash.
Menstrual cups are also a fabulous way of saving money in the long run, as you only need to purchase a cup a few times in your lifetime.
Feeling like you know your period product pros and cons?
We’ve covered the most popular period products on the market, from pads to tampons and how you can make more sustainable choices during your period. We’ve introduced you to reusable options, total alternatives like cups, as well as some super convenient organic and plastic-free tampons and pads. We’ve even covered interlabial pads and how to use them.
Feeling ready to make a sustainable period switch? Whether it’s simply a switch to plastic-free tampons and or you want to try something like period pants, we love to see it!