Green Your Period

Green Your Period

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Close to twenty billion pads, tampons, and applicators enter North American landfills yearly. The mind-boggling technology of waste is only one in a sequence of significant environmental impacts created by female hygiene merchandise. Is it attainable to inexperienced your interval?

Editor’s be aware: This put up incorporates affiliate hyperlinks, which helps fund our Recycling Directory, probably the most complete in North America.

Low Flow

Each technique of birth control has its personal set of environmental issues, however some can cut back and even remove menstruation. If you utilize contraception, selecting such a technique might take away you from the 26 percent of the world’s inhabitants who want to make use of some form of interval product each month.


For most Americans, disposable pads and tampons are the default. Pads comprise cotton and plastics, primarily LDPE, which produces extra greenhouse gases than different plastics when it degrades. Tampons are additionally produced from cotton, with applicators produced from both plastic or a nonrecyclable coated cardboard. Cotton is usually unsustainably produced and each pads and tampons have been proven to release toxic chemicals used as fertilizer or in processing.

The environmental impression of pads and tampons will be decreased by shopping for organic pads and utilizing non-applicator tampons. But disposables will at all times generate extra waste than different strategies.


Many girls as we speak are eliminating waste by returning to reusable cloth pads. Nontoxic throughout put on, natural cotton or bamboo pads are additionally much less damaging to provide than standard cotton. DIY pads are straightforward to make from outdated clothes or cloth remnants. They do, in fact, must be washed, so there may be loads of water use of their life cycle, however these reuse-savvy pads can be utilized for many years.

Absorbent underwear is the newest innovation in female hygiene. There are a number of manufacturers of period panties, produced from a wide range of supplies. The best-known, Thinx, claims to switch using two tampons with every put on. Like pads, they should be washed with chilly water. Air-drying preserves the antimicrobial cloth and saves power. Because they’re so new, there may be not loads of details about how lengthy they final or whether or not the material is recyclable or biodegradable.


The menstrual cup is often produced from medical-grade silicone, which isn’t recyclable, however is absolutely degradable. Cups ought to be washed with an oil-free cleaning soap after every use and boiled a minimum of as soon as per cycle. Manufacturers suggest changing the cup yearly, however customers declare to have used a cup for as much as 10 years with out issues. Because of its lengthy lifespan and small measurement, the menstrual cup generates the least waste of any interval product.


Sea sponges — the identical ones used for bathing — are an natural different to tampons, however one to contemplate with warning.

Renewable (if harvested correctly) and biodegradable, sponges can be utilized for as much as six months, however there are considerations about their security and hygiene. In the Eighties, FDA tests discovered “important threat” of an infection on account of contaminants. Although preparation strategies might have improved because the ’80s, the FDA has not revisited its resolution since 1995.

Editor’s be aware: This article was initially printed on September 28, 2018, and was up to date in April 2024.