Green periods. These are not green dots at the end of a sentence. We are talking about menstruation. Green or eco-friendly periods are a movement to have a more sustainable and healthier period.
Periods have gone green. Products for menstruation now include reusable items and items that are made from organic cotton.
Using reusable period products has financial benefits and environmental benefits.
Organic period products positively impact the health of people who menstruate and the environment.
Environmentally friendly products are beneficial two-fold by protecting people’s health and the environment. Here’s all you need to know to have an eco-friendly period.
Eco-friendly period products
Products offered to manage monthly menstruation are at the center of this effort. Before the new green products became available, the choice was sanitary napkins, pads, or tampons. There are a plethora of items available in each of these two groups. However, the impact of these products on health and the environment was not a consideration until recently.
Period products are moving forward with new items addressing environmental and health concerns.
Reusable products minimize waste. Disposable tampons and pads end up in landfills, waterways, and beaches. Switching to reusable products can appear costly in the forefront, but in the long run, you’ll save money. Some reusable items are:
- Menstrual cup.
- Period underwear.
- Reusable pads.
- Reusable sponges.
Other options focus more on the consumer’s health. Tampons and pads are made of cotton, rayon, or a combination of these two. The material can contain pesticides and other chemicals that can be harmful to a person. Products that claim to be better for the person’s health are now available. Such products are:
- Organic tampons and pads.
- Non-chlorine bleached cotton tampons and pads.
- Unscented pads.
Why should you have an eco-friendly period?
Maybe you’ve been at this for years, and you’ve got your favorite products and routine down to a science. Perhaps you’re new to this scene and are overwhelmed by all the information coming at you. Whatever reason has you asking why you should have an eco-friendly period, let us give you some motivation.
Give your pocketbook a break
Disposable pads and tampons can cost $160-240 per year. That’s quite a bit of money over the lifetime of a menstruator. Reusable products can be $10-$60 for one product. How many reusable products a person uses and how long they last differ for everyone. It is hard to estimate an annual cost. In the long run, reusable products are cheaper, and those of us with periods are in this for the long haul.
Take it from Tahsha. She’s been using a menstrual cup and says it has saved her about $100. She’s been able to use one cup for over two years. Now that’s sustainability.
It’s simple; reusable products produce less waste. Approximately 5 to 15 thousand pads and tampons are used by menstruators during their lifetime. Billions of these disposable menstrual products put in landfills yearly are not biodegradable. That means they’ll be around long after we are. Using reusable period products eliminates excess waste and non-biodegradable products in our landfills. The manufacturing process also contributes to a negative environmental effect with emissions and other waste.
Protect your health
Disposable period products can contain herbicides and pesticides. They can also include the carcinogen: Dioxin. The FDA has stated that the amount is nominal and will not be harmful. However, scientists have noted that though the amount of dioxin in a single disposable product is minimal, constant exposure can result in an accumulation of exposure resulting in adverse health effects. Disposable products can also cause allergic reactions and skin irritations. Organic cotton disposable products minimize the risk of these conditions.
Lexi uses organic cotton menstrual products and notices that her menstrual cramps are less severe. “When I switched back to ‘regular’ products, my cramps were noticeably worse, so I went back to the organic cotton products.”
Traditional tampons carry the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), vaginal ulcers, and alterations in the mucosa of the vagina. Using tampons that do not contain chemicals and have not gone through the process of bleaching by chlorine can reduce the risk of these side effects.
Tahsha and Lexi both recommend trying reusable or organic menstrual products. Sure, cups may have a learning curve, but they are well worth it Tasha clarified - urging others to keep at it. Your body and your wallet will be happy you did.
Period products are no longer limited to disposable tampons and pads. The options available to people with periods have expanded to include eco-friendly and organic products. Menstruators can have a healthier period with satisfaction knowing they have positively impacted the environment and their health. With a selection of reusable tampons and pads and organic cotton disposable pads and tampons, the opportunity exists for all menstruators to have a healthy, environmentally friendly period.
- Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. Tampon Effects on Vaginal Health.
- GirlsHealth.gov. Pads and Other Ways to Take Care of Your Period.
- Green Periods. Learn More.
- Harvard Medical School. How to Choose Period Products.
- University of Missouri – Kansas City. 5 Reasons Why You Should Try Reusable Menstrual Pads.
Show all references
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Facts on Tampons – And How to Use Them Safely.