Ladies, Recycle Your Cycle!

by Julie Yeagley

Sure, it can be a bit of a ‘taboo’ topic, but that won’t stop us from discussing the world of eco-friendly menstruation. The whole idea of ‘going green’ has become a hot topic over the last few years, and many people have adopted eco-friendly practices in their everyday lives. While this is wonderful, we wanted to go a bit further. Below are a few ways (and products) to give old Aunt Flo a green makeover.

A Little Background Info:

Have you ever thought about what type of ingredients are used to make the tampons and pads that you use? Don’t worry, not many people do. As it would turn out, most brands of tampons are made from synthetic materials like rayon. The rayon manufacturing processes in use today are not considered environmentally friendly–they actually use a range of polluting chemicals and heavy metals. Pads are just as concerning as they often contain SAPs or Super Absorbent Powders that help to absorb liquid more effectively, but at a cost. SAPs are made from polymers that are derived from crude oil, which is commonly known as petroleum. That’s not all! To give the tampons their bright white, “clean” color, many companies bleach the fibers using chlorine. While we’re at it, let’s not forget the applicator and packaging of both tampons and pads. Phthalates are used to give applicators that smooth look and feel, and if you haven’t done your research on phthalates yet, you should read this article!

Organic Pads and Tampons

So if you’re not thrilled with this new information, but you’re a little hesitant to leave pads and tampons behind, consider using brands that are honest and upfront about the materials they are using. On Tampax Pearl’s website, they state that rayon “has been used in tampons for more than 25 years.” Is this a legitimate answer as to why they keep using it? We don’t think so. But alas, there is hope! If you’re looking for a safe, eco-friendly alternative, we suggest heading over to Organ(y)c tampons and pads contain no synthetics, no SAPs, and no wood pulp (phew!). They proudly use one ingredient only–100% organic cotton. We approve!

Cloth Pads

Cloth pads are another option that are both environmentally friendly and safe from harmful materials. While reusable, washable pads may not seem appealing at first, the benefits of doing so might just be worth it! There are several brands that make the whole process a lot of fun such as Party In My Pants. They offer a variety of different styles, sizes, and ridiculously fun patterns!

Menstrual Cups

If you’re looking for a way to forgo pads and tampons altogether, a menstrual cup might be just the thing for you. A menstrual cup is a flexible cup or barrier worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Yes, it sounds strange and a little gross, but hear us out. When using a menstrual cup, you simply fold the cup and insert it into your vagina. From there on out, you are good to go for up to 12 hours! Swim and play sports as you please–the cup acts as a tampon with even more protection from leaks. Menstrual cups also help to maintain the correct pH level and beneficial bacteria population in your vagina as they don’t absorb healthy fluids that are necessary for this process as tampons do. There are several menstrual cup brands, such as Diva Cup, that are truly changing the way women think about their cycles. The Diva Cup does not contain any latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, or polyethylene, and it is free of colors and dyes. This eco-friendly brand offers two different models and has an extremely informative website with tons of helpful questions and answers!

Lined Panties

You may have a few select undies in your drawer that you refer to as your “Period Panties”–the old, worn out ones that you only wear when it’s that time of month. If you’re ready for an upgrade, you’re going to want to check out the revolutionary underwear created by Dear Kate. These panties with built-in, breathable liners that protect like pantiliners will ensure that you never have to worry about unwanted stains ever again! The silky-soft, patent-pending fabric used to make each pair of Dear Kates is sweat wicking, stain releasing, and leak-resistant–perfect for those “light” days or to keep you covered during exercise. Toss the Granny panties and treat yourself to one (or more) of the many styles and colors that Dear Kate has to offer…they even have thongs! Brilliant!

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