What makes periods bad for the environment?
According to the UN, we only have about 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. And while that fact can sometimes be enough to make us feel like curling up into a ball, there's a lot of work to be done.
Thankfully, there are lots of things we can do daily to help our beautiful home planet. A little can go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint. One of the small, easy things we can do is cut out single use plastics. While there’s been lots of buzz about ditching everyday items like plastic straws, grocery bags, water bottles and coffee cups, we seem to have missed something. What we don’t often talk about is the plastic waste from disposable period products. And there’s a lot of it. Let’s break down some numbers.
The average amount of days someone will menstruate in their lifetime is 2400. And a single menstruator typically uses 15,000+ disposable period products during that time. According to National Geographic, that adds up to 5,800,000,000 tampons used in the United States in 2018 alone.
Disposable menstrual products have been filling up landfills since Kotex created the first menstrual pad in 1921. This is pretty jarring, considering most pads contain polyethylene plastic on the sticky part of the pad. And most tampons contain a whole bunch of harmful chemicals like chlorine, rayon and dioxin. When these chemicals sit in landfills, they eventually get soaked up by the Earth and cause water and air pollution.
How to make your period eco-friendly
It’s easy! You can make your period eco-friendly the same way you make most things eco-friendly: by swapping out disposable plastic period products with reusable ones. Here are some products to make your period better for the environment.
Leakproof, absorbent period undies are a great thing to have if you want to tackle your period and climate change. Knix’s Leakproof Underwear have a built-in liner that absorbs up to 3 tsps of blood and can be worn and machine-washed over and over and over and over again. Instead of wearing a liner or pad on light days, you can just wear these undies solo. If you have an extra heavy flow, these can still be worn to replace a pad/liner while wearing a tampon (or cup, more on that soon).
Wearing period underwear during your cycle is a great way to cut out single-use plastics and reduce waste. On top of that, they’re also completely toxic chemical free. We’re committed to being super transparent when it comes to our products, so check out any product page to see what materials Knix uses. Our period underwear consists of 86% cotton, 10% spandex and 4% carbon. If you’d like more detail (knowledge is power!) you can read more here.
Cups might seem a little scary at first but Earth will love you for using one. Instead of using all those individually wrapped (and chemical filled) tampons, cups are made of high quality healthcare grade silicone. Not only does that make them super safe and reusable, but incredibly comfortable and flexible as well! If you’re intimidated by the cup, that’s totally normal. It might take a little practice to insert, but once you get it you’re set for life.
For many, tampons have always been their tried and true method of period protection. If this is you, you’re in luck! Brands like Lola, o.b, and L.Organic all have tampons made from 100% organic cotton. The best part? These options either have no plastic applicator, or applicators made from non-toxic or plant-based materials. Research which option is best for you and your body, all while knowing that you’re doing your part to eliminate plastic waste from your period!
Period Tracker Apps
Period and health apps like Clue and Flo are great for predicting exactly when your period is coming to town and how long it’s going to last. And while there are multiple uses for these apps (birth control, pregnancy planning etc), they can also be used as a tool to help you be more environmentally conscious. Being sure of exactly when things are happening in your cycle will cut out the guessing game. Not knowing sometimes leads you to wear period products too early or late just to be safe. We’ve all had moments where we’ve worn a pad or tampon “just in case” when we didn’t need to. The more we can cut out single-use period products from landfills, the better!
Have any other tips or tricks? Send us a DM and let us know how you make your period plastic free!