45 billion menstrual products are disposed of every year all over the world. Turns out that choosing plastic-free brands for your period is much better for your health. The solution comes in the shape of menstrual cups, period-proof underwear and tampons that are more planet-friendly.
Plastic-free periods is going to have you saving 16,000 single-use menstrual products in your lifetime. An incredibly positive impact for more healthy menstruation!
Now, before we dig into the different brands, we actually need to talk.
About the fact that the global feminine hygiene products market generates $28.7 Billion.
Not surprisingly this money goes to 8 companies – Led By Men. Between them, you will find Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, Edgewell personal care, SCA Care of life, Lil-lets, Johnson & Johnson. Not good. Because since men do not use menstrual products, they were made to make business instead of looking after what was healthy for us.
As little as men know about menstruation, we also have realized that commercial tampons and pads are generally not about having plastic-free periods.
Did you know menstrual products are the 5th most common type of waste washing up on beaches? Overall, 45 billion menstrual products are disposed of every year.
What are these dangerous components of menstruation pads and tampons?
In our research, we found that the impact of these chemicals is huge. Menstrual pads and tampons are non-biodegradable, which results in the release of chemicals in the soils and our bodies. Here’s the deal:
Dioxin: a chemical used to whiten the fibers, potentially carcinogenic and toxic.
Rayon: a very absorbed synthetic finer that favors the accumulation of dioxin
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s): organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature (quick note, VOC’s and phthalates are also found in commercial diapers).
Phthalates: a phthalic acid mainly used as plasticizers, for example, substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.
Using menstrual pads and tampons could have potential effects on your health, from irritation, allergy to, ultimately, it can lead to toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a complication from infection with Staphylococcal or Streptococcal infection.
These products sit right up against your skin, and what’s worse, the skin around your vaginal area is highly permeable, so the absorption of chemicals from tampons serves as a direct route to the bloodstream. Women are exposed to toxins at least 7.5 years of their lives. That is a lot of chemicals to absorb.
THE IMPACT OUR SINGLE-USE MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS HAVE ON OUR PLANET
- Menstrual products are the 5th most common type of waste washing up on beaches
- If you switch to the cup, you’d save up to 500 disposable menstrual products from polluting our planet every year.
- 45 billion menstrual products are disposed of every year
- You will save either 5 menstrual cups or 16,000 single-use menstrual products in your lifetime
Now that we have warned you about the dangers and potential impact on your health, let’s find out what options we have for plastic-free periods so that we contribute to the conservation of our beautiful Mother Earth.
Let’s get started with your to-go guide with the most eco-friendly brands to have healthy plastic-free periods
Sustainable Menstrual Cups
Ruby Cup. For a life-changing period, giving back in education & dignity
Ruby Cup‘s vision of promoting menstrual health in developing countries is one of the main reasons why this brand is widely recognized as the life-changing menstrual cup. With their ‘Buy One, Give One’ program Ruby Cup makes a world of difference providing a sustainable menstrual health solution to all people regardless of their income. But it doesn’t stop there, the work closely with local trained mentors to ensure there is a menstrual health education workshop and sustained support to help women succeed with the switch.
Another reason why you should be considering the switch to Ruby Cup is that it is a healthier, more sustainable and cost-effective alternative to pads and tampons. Made from 100% soft, medical-grade silicone, Ruby’s menstrual cup is safe, comfortable and hygienic – just as it should be!
Price Ruby Cup: from US$32
Read here our interview with Ruby Cup co-founder Julie
AllMatters. Surprisingly comfortable, healthy & smart.
Same as when tampons came out on the market, some of us were not mentally or culturally prepared to start using them. Then it became normal. Using cups is the next step forward when it comes to menstruation hygiene. AllMatters (former Organicup) is an award-winning menstrual cup that guarantees it is as organic as possible. It’s easy to use, comfortable, reliable, economical and eco-friendly. We promise, once you swap to the cup, you will not want to change to the “traditional” methods again.
Now, some of the questions buzzing in your head are: Will it hurt? Will I feel it? Will it smell after cleaning it? WILL IT LEAK?! Here is a detailed guide on how to use a menstrual cup.
Price AllMatters: from US$27
Mooncup®. The award-winning employee-owned original cup.
Mooncup® is the original, soft, medical-grade silicone menstrual cup designed by women as a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads. Tried and trusted since 2002 by millions of users around the world and available in over 50 countries, the Mooncup menstrual cup offers an end to the waste, discomfort and expense of disposable sanitary protection. The Mooncup is made in the UK by an ethical, employee-owned company, truly changing the way things get done.
Price Mooncup: €22.00
There are two major brands that ourgoodBlogger Gabi Goddard compares in this Pretty definitive guide to period-proof underwear, which we slightly summarise below. We have also added a couple more brands worth looking into if period-proof underwear is your thing!
WUKA. Leak-proof reusable period underwear, reducing waste & breaking down taboos.
A complete replacement for disposable pads and tampons, WUKA Period Pants are available in light, medium and heavy flow and a wide range of styles, so you can find the perfect pair for your period. You can even find period-poof swimwear!
WUKA uses the most eco-friendly fabrics possible, including: Tencel (from responsibly managed and FSC certified beech tree forests), organic cotton and recycled nylon (from fishing nets). OEKO-TEK, GOTS, Vegan Society and PETA certified, WUKA underwear is also carbon neutral!
Campaigning about unjust period tax, WUKA is on a mission to break down taboos and reduce waste. Simply wear, wash and reuse!
Price WUKA: From £10 GBP
Modibodi. Fashionable, high tech underwear, made for women.
This Australian brand has a range of period-proof underwear, as well as swimwear and activewear. The materials used in this sustainable period wear brand are organic bamboo and merino wool to create absorbent leak-proof apparel for both flows, periods and incontinence. Their mission is clear: to give sassy, intelligent women more freedom and flexibility at all times of the day (and month).
Price Modibodi: from US$17
She Thinx. Proudly busting taboos.
Thinx is the period-proof underwear brand that comes from the US and it’s exclusively focused on providing a solution for periods. The material used is organic cotton in three layers: the moisture-wicking cotton; the antimicrobial and the leak-resistant linings. The styles are inclusive of any kind of women and discounts for customised sets, whether you like it hiphugger, sport, hi-waist, boy shorts, cheeky, thong or activewear. Thinx mission is to create the most innovative period solutions that empower people and sustain our planet while breaking taboos about menstruation and reproductive health everywhere.
Price Thinx: from US$24
FLUX. For women to love their curves, scars & stretch marks.
FLUX Undies are built-in tech is moisture-wicking, super absorbent, and leak-proof, keeping you covered through periods, sweat, and leaks. It’s also easy changing, with side clasps allowing to take it off without stepping foot off the ground – being also a perfect choice for people with mobility issues, so that you can change it without having to sit down. The plastic-free period-proof undies come in five styles, made for all-sized women of all shapes. And for every pair bought, Flux gives away a pair to a girl in need.
Price Flux: from US$45
Dear Kate. The Most Breathable Period Undies.
Dear Kate superior leak-resistant and stain-fighting Underlux™ technology is made for you to bleed, sweat and not to let anything hold you back. Everything is 100% fabric and 100% breathable meaning you can get on with feeling fabulous. The brand has expanded the technology to yoga pants and leotards so you can feel comfortable even when you are doing the headstand – no matter what day of the month.
The brand has partnered with Days for Girls, to help to shatter the stigmas around menstruation and end the shame and isolation caused by a lack of knowledge and access to menstrual health products. For every purchase over $100, they donate a pair of Dear Kates to a girl in need.
Price Dear Kate: from US$32
Plastic-free menstrual pads
Wear’em Out. The must-have reusable period pads
Wear ‘em out are the reusable period pads every woman needs to get excited about their period again: breathable fabrics, no smell, designed for extreme comfort and with the confidence that it won’t leak! In just a few months customers from all over the world have saved over 1 million single-use menstrual products.
The pads range from the Mini Flo, useful for barely-there bleeds, everyday freshness and even bladder weakness, whatever you’re using a panty liner for. The Medium Flo is like a ‘normal’ disposable, for normal blood loss (and bladder weakness). And the Mega Flo is for those heavier bleeding days or night-time bleeds, and the biggest pad is the Mega-Mega Flo, which does what it says on the packet: it’s designed for post-birth and problematic, heavier than ‘normal’ bleeds, and also, perfect for a confident good nights sleep.
Saathi pads. Biodegradable menstrual pads made of banana fibre.
This Indian-based brand is a biodegradable eco-friendly solution for plastic-free periods. Saathi pads started to solve two huge problems in India, being plastic waste and the absence of a garbage system and the lack of access to women’s to menstrual products. The primary product of these sustainable biodegradable pads is banana-tree fibre. Because it is a locally sourced material that would otherwise go to waste, Saathi also generates new revenue for area banana farmers. Unlike most commercial pads, Saathi’s are not bleached or treated with chemicals like chloroform and styrene, which are suspected carcinogens.
Price Saathi Pads: from Rp 180.00 (India only)
Glad Rags. The celebration of reusables.
Another option for a plastic-free period is a reusable cotton pad and Glad Rags champion period positivity by replacing disgust and disposability with celebration and reusability. Each cotton pad is made of detachable inserts and stiff wings that snap around your pants, without the need of adhesive + it can be washed and used for up to five years. You will also find menstrual cups within Glad Rags’ range. Benefits like cost savings, concern for the environment, and the desire for a more comfortable period.
Price Glad Rags: rags from US$12; menstrual cups from US$35
OHNE. Because you are fantastic and your period too.
Ohne’s mission is to save your vagina with 100% organic tampons. Like us, they are calling bull on tampons made with pesticides and other junk being wrapped like harmless, delightful sweets.
And just because we are 21st-century human with a 21st-century vagina, they bring 21st-century organic tampons delivered straight to your door, ready when you need it. Because they know we are also pretty much done with heading out in our PJ’s at 11 pm to buy them.
The brand is also on a mission to give access to period products and menstrual education to girls in Zambia with the aim to make a lasting change.
Price Ohne: from US$6.50
Flex. Disposable Menstrual disc.
Now something completely different. Flex is a new ‘tampon alternative’ that can last up to 12 hours. A disposable menstrual disc, it’s designed to fit where the cervix and the vaginal canal meet, with no mess and no fuss. While it’s still disposable, it creates 60% less waste than using tampons each month. It’s not as intrusive as a cup and made with medical grade polymer, that’s FDA registered, hypoallergenic, BPA & phthalate free and made without natural rubber latex or silicone.
Price Flex: from US$13 for an average month supply
Freda. Periods, personalised.
Periods are universal, but each one is unique. This is why Freda has chosen to personalise yours with organic and natural period care subscription boxes giving you exactly what you need when you need it. How does it work? First of all, choose from pre-selected Freda boxes or create your own mix of products and absorbencies by choosing the quantity and frequency of delivery.
As an extra bonus, Freda believes that access to period care is a basic human right. That’s why we’ve incorporated a giveback pledge at the core of our business, supporting and empowering women and girls in need. So far they have partnered with Bloody Good Period, The Red Box Project and A Bloody Good Cause.
Price Freda: subscription box from US$2.50 / month
Dame (or D.) The reusable tampon applicator.
Dame (or D.) is the reusable tampon applicator. It’s like convenience without compromise. It fits seamlessly with all standard sized tampons. Dame works just like a normal applicator, made of medical grade MedipreneⓇ. BPA free, built to last, so that each one saves up to 12,000 plastic applicators from entering our oceans. Easy to clean, as it has inbuilt antimicrobial technology keeping Dame applicator hygienic. After use, just rinse, wipe and go. The brand also has its range of organic hypoallergenic, high performing and fully biodegradable tampons (of course synthetic free).
Finally, because the founders of the brand know sustainable periods are a luxury and many women don’t have access to the most basic period products, Dame has donated over 100,000 products to charity partners like Bloody Good Period.
Price Dame: applicator for US$30; tampons (14 pack) for US$4.25; (34 pack) for US$10.35
Callaly. The Tampliner.
Is it a tampon, or a padded liner? Or is it both? the BCorp Certified Callaly takes an innovative approach to shake things up in period land. The Callaly Tampliner combines a high-quality organic tampon with a soft mini-liner that folds in half between your labia, stopping leaks and the need for another (non-biodegradable pad).
The Tampliner is 100% organic and 95% biodegradable – working towards that 100%) – and everything is sent through the post when you need it, in cardboard packaging. Callaly is proof that everything can be redesigned to help us reduce waste – you just need some imagination.
Price Callaly: we checked but they currently are sold out so we will have to double-check that later on!
Do you want more like this? Here is the FREE ebook with 80 tips on how to go Plastic Free. The go-to guide for anyone who is willing to make a difference taking one step at a time.
If you want a smaller guide with just the basics. here are our Top 10 tips to go Zero Waste for beginners.
Is there any other similar brand we forgot to mention here? Comment below and share it with us!
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