Menstruation can be an emotional, painful and messy experience.
What the average person who menstruates might not realize is how much single-use plastic waste is involved. Tampons, pads, panty liners and their packaging all contain plastic. Pads alone are around 90 per cent plastic.
This waste amounts to the average user throwing away 125 to 150 kg of menstruation-related products in their lifetime. This plastic waste can end up in a landfill or in oceans, rivers and beaches.
The Canadian government recently announced a federal ban on single use plastic products. Regulations will be finalized by the end of 2021.
Environmental groups like A Greener Future are asking the government to include menstrual products in its ban.
Today, there are several environmentally-friendly period alternatives available. These include reusable pads, reusable tampon applicators, period underwear and menstrual cups.
These more sustainable options will help cut down on the amount of plastic ending up in the environment. They will also help prepare you for the plastic-ban legislation.
Knix, a Toronto-based brand, creates menstrual underwear and other alternatives to plastic-based period products. This leak-proof underwear provides protection from blood, pee and sweat. They are absorbent, comfortable and machine-washable.
They also offer a teen line of leakproof panties called Knixteen. The products are discreetly packaged in a reusable zippered pouch.
The Canadian company is also known for their campaigns promoting diversity and body positivity.
The Diva Cup is a Canadian-made, eco-friendly product designed for comfort and flexibility. The Kitchener-based company designed a menstrual cup that can be inserted during menstruation. The cup can be worn for 12 hours, then washed and reused.
The Diva Cup is cost-effective. It only needs to be replaced once a year which can help save money on tampons and pads. The cup is also BPA-free with no added chemicals, plastics or dyes.
Diva Cups can be found at your local pharmacy or online.
F Wrap is an Ottawa-based company that makes reusable cloth pads that are better for your health and the environment.
The cloth pads are natural and chemical free, creating less waste. The F Wrap can save you money since it can replace disposable pads or tampons.
A range of absorbency options are available. Just throw them in the wash after use, and they are ready to use again. If cared for properly, the reusable pads can last for years.
Leak-free clothing is an eco-friendly alternative to standard menstrual products. DearKates leak-free garments can be purchased for normal wear or to use while working out.
The activewear will protect you from leaks and stains so you can sweat through your workout.
The brand said they believe women are invincible and help empower women through their technology-based clothing.
Organic tampons are another eco-friendly alternative.
The brand Easy makes 100 per cent organic certified period products. The tampons, pads and liners are all made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton.
The products are also biodegradable. They are free from plastic chlorine bleach, latex, parabens and perfumes, which are standard in non-organic tampons.
Reusable Tampon Applicator
Although tampon applicators are only used for a few seconds, plastic takes a long time to degrade. It can take up to 500 years for a single-use plastic applicator to decompose.
Many tampon applicators are flushed down the toilet and end up on beaches or in oceans.
Thinx created a reusable tampon applicator called re.t.a. to help curb this issue. re.t.a can be used with applicator-free tampons of all absorbency sizes.
Since the applicator is reusable, you aren’t putting plastic waste into the environment every time you use a tampon.
The applicator should be cleaned and disinfected between storing and use.