Zero Waste Feminine Hygiene
I'm going to jump right in this week!
Stigma be gone... let talk about periods.
Every single woman in the world goes through around 350-450 menstrual periods in her lifetime (source). This means that the average woman creates 300 pounds of "tampon and/or sanitary pad" waste during her lifetime (source). That is a lot of waste and a lot of money.
Supposedly woman spend over $6000 on sanitary products over their lifetime (source). Switching over to waste free options might cost you a bit more up front, but after a span of five years you could be saving twice the amount you invested from the beginning.
Here are your options for switching to a more sustainable approach:
Silicone Menstrual Cup (aka the Diva Cup)
Now you just need to find what works best for you!
After some trial and errors, here are my recommendations, thoughts and advice regarding all three options.
The Silicone Menstrual Cup
This was the first zero waste option that I tried, and although it is very popular among zero waste advocates, I have to say I didn't like it.
Pro's - Very easy to insert, easy to wash at home or in a private bathroom and totally leakproof (it never leaked for me and I have a strong period).
Con's - I found it very uncomfortable to wear and impossible to wash out if you are in a public washroom.
That being said, many woman find their menstrual cups very comfortable to wear, so I would recommend trying one out for at least a week to see if it works with your lifestyle. Here is a guide to finding the right menstrual cup for you.
Cloth pads work great!! Unfortunately, they don't pair well with leggings or tight pants, so I usually just wear them at night or when I work from home.
At Blushing Bluebird Essentials they offer a great starter kit that includes a wet bag (essential for storing used pads until you have the chance to wash them). Made in Canada, these cloth pads would be my top recommendation.
Click here to read about how to use cloth pads when out of the house!
Personally, I LOVE using menstrual undies and my favourite brand is Thinx.
Thinx has a LOT of underwear options to choose from and some work way better than others.
Here are my ratings for the following Thinx Underwear:
The Comfiest = Hi-Wasted (true to regular sizing)
The Best for Workouts = Boyshorts (fit small, so order a size bigger than usual)
The Best for Overnight or Heavy Periods = Super Hi-Wasted (true to regular sizing)
Since I have a very strong period for the first few days of my cycle, I cannot wear these undies alone (even the ones that claim to hold 4 regular tampons worth). For the first few days of my cycle I usually wear the super hi-wasted thinx with a cloth pad or Veeda tampons (without the applicator).
Then when my period gets lighter I can wear any of the Thinx underwear that I previously recommended, as long as I change them twice a day.
I would start with buying at least 6 pairs to start off with, in a few different styles to suit your lifestyle needs.
Thinx even offers a super comfy thong to wear as backup with a tampon.
And if you don't like the underwear, it is super easy to return. When I have had to return a pair due to size or fit, they have sent me a new pair within a few days, at no extra cost (and they let me keep the old pair to give to a friend).
Have any questions about minimizing waste during your period? Please reach out to chat! This is a safe space for females of all ages, shapes and sizes to chat with one another. No judgement here.
Bonus Giveaway: I have 1 free pair of Thinx Boyshorts (size M) to give away. Please comment below if this is your size :)