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Sustainable Period Products: How to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint

Options of sustainable period products including a Menstrual cup and organic pad against a orange and pink wavy pattern.

Are you looking for sustainable period products that will reduce your carbon footprint? Look no further! In this article, we’re giving you the lowdown on the eco-friendly alternatives to traditional period products.

At TOTM, sustainability is at the core of our brand, and we understand the importance of finding products that align with your values. Our goal is to provide you with practical and useful info about sustainable period options that not only benefit the environment but also prioritise your comfort and convenience.

From reusable menstrual cups to organic cotton pads and tampons, we will discuss the pros and cons of each option, giving you all the details to help make an informed decision. We will also address common concerns and misconceptions surrounding sustainable period products.

First things first, the environmental impact of traditional period products

The environmental impact of traditional period products is significant. These products often contain plastic and synthetic materials that cannot be recycled. They end up in landfills or oceans, polluting the environment and harming wildlife. The manufacturing process of these products also requires high levels of energy and resources, contributing to climate change. In fact, alongside plastic, these products contain conventional cotton which is farmed using pesticides and herbicides. According to the Soil Association, cotton production is responsible for approximately 12% of the total greenhouse gas emissions globally.

On average, we use around 11,000 tampons or pads in a lifetime. If the period products you use are mainly filled with plastic, they can take up to 500 years to decompose after use. Not to mention that plastic cannot offer the same breathability as natural materials like organic cotton. Plastic can impact your comfort and cause irritation when combined with fragrance, dyes, and chlorine bleach – ingredients that are often found in conventional products.

Understanding sustainable period products

Sustainable period products are alternatives to traditional menstrual products that are designed to minimise environmental impact. They are made from natural, biodegradable, or reusable materials that can be recycled or composted after use. By choosing sustainable period products, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the planet.

Benefits of using sustainable period products

Besides being environmentally friendly, sustainable period products offer extra benefits. They are often more comfortable and convenient to use, as they are designed to fit the body and are made of high-quality ingredients/materials.

Sustainable period products can also help reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection associated with the use of tampons. Sustainable period products are free from synthetic materials and chemicals that can irritate or harm our bodies. It’s important to note that TSS is a risk with all tampons, therefore you still need to regularly change your tampon  every 4-6 hours and clean your hands before inserting or removing your it.

Your options – organic cotton tampons and pads, menstrual cups, period underwear

There are several types of sustainable period products available in the market. Each has its pros and cons, and choosing the right one depends on personal preferences, lifestyle, and budget.

Organic cotton tampons and pads

Organic cotton tampons and pads are made from 100% organic cotton that is grown sustainably without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. They are free from fragrances, dyes, and other harmful chemicals that can cause irritation or allergies. Organic cotton tampons and pads are often biodegradable and compostable, making them the perfect alternative to traditional disposable products.

However, not all organic cotton tampons and pads are made equal. To make the right choice for you, be sure to read the ingredients. If you’re looking for tampons and pads made with certified organic cotton from core to cover, check out our range here.

Menstrual cups

Menstrual cups are reusable menstrual products made from medical-grade materials like silicone or TPE. To use a cup, you insert it into your vagina to collect your flow. They can be worn for up to 12 hours, depending on how heavy your flow is, and can last for several years with proper care. Menstrual cups are eco-friendly, cost-effective, and comfortable to wear.

However, if you’re new to menstrual cups they can be tricky to insert and remove. It can take a bit of practise and time to get used to them. We always recommend trying your cup for the first time from the comfort of your own home. Relax and try out different folds to find out that feels comfortable and secure. If you can’t get on with cups, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself. There are many reasons why it just might not be the right product for you. Your comfort should always come first as a priority.

Period underwear

Period underwear is designed to absorb menstrual blood without the need for tampons or pads. They come in a range of shapes, styles, and colours to suit individuals needs and preferences. Period underwear includes an absorbent layer of materials in the gusset which could include organic cotton, hemp, wool or PUL depending on the brand. As a menstrual product, period underwear is comfortable and gives a sense of freedom that you may not get with disposables.

However, period underwear needs to be changed frequently – especially if you have a heavier flow. There are often limited choices available for those with a heavy period but that doesn’t mean you can’t swap them on your heavy days for an organic cotton tampon. You could even use it alongside a tampon for extra security. When switching to period underwear, you need to remember that you’ll need a good few pairs to cover your period.

How to choose the right sustainable period product for you

Choosing the right sustainable period product depends on several factors, such as your flow, lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences. To find the best option for you, consider the following:

  • How heavy is your flow?
  • How often do you need to change your product?
  • Are you comfortable with inserting the products or would you rather external options?
  • Do you prefer organic cotton or reusable products?
  • What is your budget?

You can also try different options to see which one works best for you.

Common misconceptions

There are several misconceptions surrounding sustainable period products. Here are some common myths that we’ve heard as a period care brand in this space:

  • Sustainable period products are not safe – False.

Safety is always a priority when manufacturing these products. In fact, a good range of organic tampons and pads will use high-quality ingredients over synthetic materials and additives. With reusables, these are again designed to be safely reused. If in doubt, look at the product ingredients, certifications, and online reviews.

  • Sustainable period products do not perform was well – False.

Organic cotton tampons and pads comply with industry standard absorbency guidelines. Just be cautious when using conventional pads as these often contain SAP, a chemical that enhances absorbency. As SAP is not used in a quality organic cotton pads, if you have a heavier flow you may need to go for a higher absorbency.

  • Sustainable period products are uncomfortable – False.

Sustainable period products are designed to be comfortable. In fact, sustainable products are often praised for how comfortable they are due to the quality of the ingredients and materials used.

Ready to break the cycle and switch to sustainable period products?

If you’re keen to give organic a go, try our period kit for £2 or try our zero-waste menstrual cup.

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