Who's got yo' flow? Sustainable menstrual products, save mother earth.

Periods can be messy enough as it is without thinking about the impact of the products we use every month to catch our flow. However thanks to the development of more sustainable menstruation products, now is a better time than ever to find something that’s easier on the environment, our body, and our pockets.

Thanks to their “superior absorbency and leakage protection” tampons and sanitary pads can take years to break down because that is exactly what they have been engineered not to do. Unable to be recycled, pads, tampons, applicators, liners and packaging either require high temperature incineration which releases harmful toxins or ends up in landfill. Sometimes they can end up in our oceans and waterways and often get mistaken by marine animals as food. Even products that claim to be “all cotton” and biodegradable are often made from materials that take up land, water and energy that could be put to other purposes. Therefore whilst tampons and sanitary pads may save us from leaks they certainly aren’t helping the Planet.

In addition to the environmental impact, when you add up the cost of buying supplies every month having your period ain’t cheap (especially when slapped with a luxuries tax – but let’s not even get started on that). Assuming a woman menstruates once a month for around 40 years of her life, periods can set you back around $5000 depending on what products you use and not including pain relief, heat packs, ice cream and chocolate.

So periods might be costing the earth and your pocket, but don’t despair! Many rad companies are coming out with some nifty solutions so that not only are you reducing your period’s environmental footprint but you can also save money as well. How’s that for a win-win! 

For those who want to stick with sanitary pads but without the ongoing cost, washable cloth pads are a great way to go. Although they require washing and are made of cotton which is a rather resource intensive material, they do help reduce menstruation’s contribution to land waste as they only need to be replaced every two to three years.

Along the lines of cloth pads, period panties utilise some genius engineering to collect your flow. Although they can be a little more on the expensive side they are great for light to medium periods and especially useful in the days leading up to or after a period when you don’t want to be caught out and want some protection and peace of mind.

Menstrual cups have been around for a few years now and are starting to gain traction. They are sweet devices that will only set you back $30-$60 once every few years or ten. They replace tampons and collect blood low in the vaginal canal. They provide 12 hours of protection and can be used during even the most strenuous of activities (except for sex).  It’s plastic free and made from 100% healthcare grade silicon or latex so no monthly landfill waste. Once you make the switch you can say goodbye to that sinking feeling when you realise you’re out of tampons or pads because not only do they collect more than a tampon but all you need to do is flush the contents down the toilet and reload for another round of flow. Menstrual cups may seem yucky at first and many experience awkward spills taking the cup out but don’t despair, it takes a few tries to get the hang of it. It also might take a few goes to find one that fits you as they come in different sizes and firmness. Caution with IUDs is also advised as cup removal may accidentally pull on the strings.

Periods can be expensive for the environment and our pocket but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to products such as the menstruation cup and period-proof underwear periods can go back to just shedding blood rather than draining our hard earned cash and contributing to landfill.