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The monthly struggle – environmentally friendly period products

Issue #08

This one is for all the people who know the struggle of getting their period. We all know that getting our sanitary products like tampons and pads is expensive and those products aren’t the best for the environment. But still, they are a necessity that we have to get every month. So today, I am here to give you some alternatives for pads and tampons that aren’t too hard on our wallets and can help us save the planet.  

One person with a period is using on average 11,000 disposable period products during their lifetime. Not only does this generate a lot of waste, the life-cycle of these products is also incredibly destructive. These products are often made for cotton, and cotton requires 3 liters of water just to grow one little bud. In total, tampons and pads, along with the packaging and individual wrapping generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste every year, a lot of which is plastic. The plastic then lands in landfills, the oceans, rivers and on beaches.  

Luckily, there are some alternatives that won’t harm the environment as much while still being suitable for a student budget. I will present you my top three: 

The first one is one most of you have probably heard of: the menstrual cup. 

A menstrual cup is a small cup often made from silicone. Silicone is a greener alternative to plastic and cotton, since it is made from sand and slowly goes back to its original state when it degrades.  

After being inserted, a menstrual cup sits just below the cervix and collects any blood that is lost for up to twelve hours. You can swim and work out while wearing it and it actually has less leakage than tampons. It also reduces some risks for your health, for example the risk of bacterial infections and Toxic Shock Syndrome.   

The good news is, menstrual cups are also much cheaper than tampons and pads in the long run. It costs around 20 euros and it is recommended to buy a new one once a year, however it can also be used for longer.  

The next alternative is period-proof underwear. This underwear, mostly made from cotton and spandex, replaces tampons and pads. They are constructed to look and feel like usual underwear, but are made with four layers: one for softness, one against odours and bacteria, one to absorb and one to keep moisture. They can be worn for around eight hours, depending on the flow, and are comfortable and leak-proof.  

One panty costs around 25 euros and can be used for about two to five years if they are regularly washed by hand with cold water. While 25 euros for one panty sounds like a lot, in the long run this alternative is actually cheaper than using tampons or pads.  

The last alternative are reusable and washable pads. They are made of cloth, are more comfortable than disposable pads since they aren’t made from plastic and come in fun colours and patterns. They are typically made with wings to prevent leaking, and need to be changed one to six times a day, depending on the flow.  

Reusable pads last up to five years, sometimes longer, and can be bought in packs. One pad usually costs around five euros, so this alternative is once again cheaper than regular pads if they are used for a while.  

So, whether you prefer tampons or pads, there are alternatives that can save you money and also help the environment! And if these options aren’t for you, there are also organic tampons and pads. However, these are often more expensive than the normal ones, but still a good alternative.  

#StayGreen 🌎🌿

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