Feminine Hygiene Products
According to Organic Cup, it is said that women throw away around 330 pounds of one time use feminine hygiene products in her lifetime. That number is shocking mainly because as periods come and go we do not think of the environmental footprint it leaves. How a woman handles her period is very personal, and we hope to showcase some environmentally friendly ways to aid you in your period.
That time of the month for women has been a controversial topic for many years, but a new caveat of this topic has been looking at it in terms of sustainability. There seems to forever be a stigma around discussing ways to deal with periods even though at one time or another we have all taken a health class. Traditional options are mainly tampons and pads, but more sustainable options have been becoming more popular as of late. We aim to do our part in reducing the stigma around periods by providing ways to deal with periods in a way that helps Mother Earth.
Seeing as many of the period products are made up of plastic and other harmful chemicals that hurt the environment, that is not environmentally friendly. Not to mention that all of those chemicals are harmful to the body as well. With that being said, there are many different options for women that they may not necessarily know about that are safer for them as well as more sustainable.
These products have derived inspiration from traditional menstrual products, but are made out of materials free of plastics yet offer similar benefits as those traditional products. One option is the menstrual cup which looks exactly what it sounds like as it is a silicone cup. Another option, which is not as known, are reusable pads. This article aims to provide the much needed education about different sustainable menstrual products.
The menstrual cup is a type of menstrual product. They come in packs of one, however, there are different sizes that you can buy for different stages of your period. The first cup is larger for those days of heavier flow and the smaller one is meant for the end of your period. It comes with a bag, so the product is very discrete. You use the product by folding it into a c-shape which is similar to the size of a tampon. The cup is made out of silicone instead of on-time use plastics which makes the cup reusable.
Once you are done with the cup, you wash it out with soap and cold water. It seems very simple at a first glance, but it would be naive to not address the fears that are associated with the menstrual cup. There are three initial fears of using the cup: one being the size of the cup, another concerning how often the cup should be changed, and how to safely clean the cup.
The size of the cup is one problem that girls often view as the main reason why they would not consider switching to this type of menstrual product. I can personally say that I agree with that statement, however, it was because I did not know how to properly use it. You start by folding the cup in half essentially. After folding the cup into the c-shape it becomes around the size of a tampon. You figure that you really are just folding the cup to half of its size. The main difference is that this product is better for the environment and better for you.
Now that I have addressed the most prominent concern it is only right to go over the second: the cleaning process. I was shocked when I learned that the cup should be changed about the same amount as a tampon. This means that it should be changed every couple of hours. When the time is up, you wash it under water in between uses. After your period, you can clean the menstrual cup with soap and water. Another option that many girls find helpful in their cleaning process is menstrual cup cleaner. It is specifically designed to be rough on germs, but not harmful to the body.
You really only need to get one as these cups last a long time, but over time some choose to get another to replace it after they feel that cup’s time is up. No matter the amount of cups you end of buying, it is imperative to sanitize them. You do this by putting it in boiling water for twenty minutes. This sanitizes the cup and can be done at any time. If I still have not convinced you to try a new period product, another great option of how to have a green period is by using reusable pads.
Reusable pads are a great option for those who do not prefer the cup or tampons. It is the same size as a traditional pad, but the difference is that it lasts you nearly the entire day. The best part of this all is that they are made from charcoal, bamboo, and cotton. These are all sustainable materials with no chemicals at all being stuck in your body. Just like the cup, there are alleged problems with the pad though. The two main concerns when drawing attention to the idea of a reusable pads are the smell and how to wash it.
In terms of the smell, there is not any scent when using these particular pads throughout the day. This alleviates a problem that many women struggle with when using one-time use menstrual products. I found this surprising, but you do have to be diligent about keeping up with cleaning. It is very important to clean your reusable pads after use to ensure that there continues to be no smell and that there are no germs.
In between uses, simply run the pad under cold water until the water runs clear. To clean the pad after a period, simply put the pad in a mason jar with detergent or some sort of soap for a week. Another option is to put it in a washer, but be sure to use cold water because hot water will make unwanted smells stay.
Switching to a more sustainable option for your period is not as much of a change overall as it may seem at first glance. These particular products mirror that of a traditional pad or tampon in size as well as in the amount of time they can be used without issue. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The fears and concerns this switch brings are completely understandable, but are not nearly as daunting once the positive and negatives are weighed.
Periods are something that will not go away, so it is crucial that we consider more environmentally conscious ways to handle them. Like anything, it comes down to being educated about what you are using and what you feel most comfortable with. However, they are something very personal for a woman, so we hope that we have inspired you to try changing up your traditional period ways for a new one. Impact Everything offers the feminine hygiene products mentioned above that we hope you will try which are all linked throughout the pictures and the article.
By: Caira Reilly