None of us has a vendetta against the environment, but if we aren’t actively making choices to reduce our carbon footprint and become more sustainable, the environment can suffer.
You might recycle cans, paper, and plastic around the house, but have you ever considered the amount of waste associated with your monthly period? If not, it’s okay. Scientists have, and the ecological impact of our disposable period care is harming the planet.
We can all do our part to make our periods just a little more sustainable, and the benefit won’t just be to the environment; it will save you money, too.
Here’s what you should know about the impact of your period care products and what you can do to reduce waste every month.
What’s a Carbon Footprint, and Why Does It Matter?
Your carbon footprint is the measure of the greenhouse gasses you are responsible for through your actions. This can be calculated by the products you buy that aren’t recyclable or sustainable, the kind of transportation you use, and even the food you eat.
A carbon footprint is an excellent way to measure your impact on the environment, and it’s a good reference point to figure out where you can improve. You can calculate your carbon footprint here.
Period Products and Waste
Those of us who have periods can find our carbon footprint higher than friends and family members who do not have periods. This is because the amount of feminine product waste we use over a lifetime of having our periods correlates to a much higher carbon footprint.
It’s just one week out of a month, right? How bad can it be? Let’s look at the numbers.
How Many Periods You’ll Have
The average woman will have approximately 450 periods throughout her menstruating life. That’s close to forty years of having periods!
How Many Disposable Products You’ll Use
Different estimates are floating around the internet, but the general assumption is that you’ll use close to 8,000-17,000 disposable pads and tampons in your menstruating lifetime.
That amounts to roughly 400 pounds of solid waste that will end up in a landfill. Unfortunately, most commercial pads and tampons are made with plastics that can take up to 800 years to decompose.
Even though tampons and pads are small items, the sheer amount of them used and the fact that they are not recyclable products make feminine product waste a massive burden on the planet.
The Cost of Your Period
Your period costs you money, too. It’s estimated you’ll spend close to $6,000 on period care products throughout your lifetime. If you choose to swap out a few of your disposables for reusable products, you’ll drastically reduce that amount and do your wallet some good, too.
How To Make Your Period Eco-Friendly
Thankfully, you don’t have to keep piling up pads in a landfill. Numerous options for period care products allow you to take a more environmentally friendly approach to your monthly cycle.
If the thought of reusable period care makes you cringe, it’s okay to start small. We promise, once you’re done reading this, you’ll realize reusable period care is actually a great idea you’ll probably want to try.
However, before you dive into reusable pads or period panties, you can simply try upgrading your tampons and pads to versions that contain more biodegradable ingredients.
Rael’s pads and tampons are crafted from 100% organic Texas cotton and made with ingredients like plant-based plastic applicators that are a better environmental choice than plastics that do not biodegrade.
If you’ve never considered a reusable period product, it can be intimidating, but we promise, they’re entirely safe and not in any way gross. Plus, reusable period care products can seriously lower your carbon footprint and help make your period much more sustainable.
Here’s what you need to know about the different types of reusable period care products available, so you can decide which one works best for you.
Reusable Period Care Options
Period panties are just what they sound like; panties you wear on your period to help catch your flow. They are made just like your regular underwear, but with the addition of an absorbent core that can protect you from leaks if you’re wearing a pad or tampon or if you’re having a lighter day.
Period underwear, like the kind available from Rael, has a waterproof backing that prevents you from experiencing an embarrassing situation. They can help keep you dry and protected overnight, too.
Possibly the best feature of period panties-they is super comfortable. You’ll probably find yourself reaching for them even when you aren’t on your period.
Period panties are reusable for years with proper care, and Rael’s period panties can absorb as much as three tampons. If you aren’t ready to try reusable period panties but would still like to give them a try, Rael’s disposable period panties can help you get an idea of how they work and whether or not the reusable kind is for you.
Pro tip: Period panties are great for overnight protection, used with or without the addition of a tampon or pad.
The Menstrual Cup
You’ve probably got at least one friend raving about the cup, and we couldn’t agree with them more. The menstrual cup is the ultimate in hassle-free period care.
The menstrual cup is a small, flexible, silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina like a tampon. The cup is open on one end, which allows it to catch your flow. The cup can be worn for up to twelve hours before it ever needs to be changed. Just imagine not spending so much time in the bathroom during your period.
The menstrual cup is reusable every month for up to ten years with proper care. Rael’s menstrual cups are available in three different sizes for every stage and age of womanhood. You can get a comfortable fit and enjoy a stress-free, zero-waste period every month by using the menstrual cup.
Reusable Pads and Liners
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: let’s talk about those reusable pads and liners.
Reusable pads and liners work just like disposable pads and liners. They are placed in your underwear and catch your flow for several hours before they need to be changed. However, reusable pads and liners are made from material that can be washed and reused.
You probably get a little sketched out by thinking of how to change or clean a reusable pad or liner, but it’s really super simple.
- Changing a reusable. You’ll want to invest in a small, sealable, waterproof bag to keep in your desk or purse. When it’s time to change your reusable pad or liner, simply take the soiled pad and place it securely in the waterproof bag until you get home. Place a clean reusable pad in your underwear.
Cleaning a reusable. Reusable pads and liners go in your washer and dryer just like your favorite shirt. It’s best to wash them right away to avoid stains. Your washing machine is completely capable of sanitizing your laundry without leaving any traces of dirt or grime, so you don’t need to worry that your reusable pads might somehow leave residue in your washing machine.
When it’s time to use them again, they’re ready to go.
Reusable pads and liners from Rael can be reused up to 120 times with proper care. If you’re wondering if the water and detergent you use to clean your reusable pads make them less environmentally friendly, it doesn’t. A reusable pad still has a much lower carbon footprint than a reusable pad.
Whether you want to make your period fully sustainable or just want to reduce your carbon footprint and switch to better disposable care products, Rael has you covered. Our products aren’t just environmentally friendly; they’re also safe for your body.
We don’t include harsh chemicals or harmful toxins in our products that could irritate your skin or disrupt your hormones. With Rael, you get safe, holistic products gentle on your body and keep the planet in mind.
Sources:The Ultimate Guide to Feminine Hygiene | Duquesne University School of Nursing