Menstrual Products Are the Fifth Most Common Plastic Polluting the Ocean

Here are three easy ways to keep your period plastic free:

Fortunately humanity is waking up to the dangers of plastic pollution. Many of us are moving away from plastic water bottles, straws, grocery bags, utensils, cups, takeout containers and even plastic diapers.

Tampons and menstrual pads might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about the “plastic problem,” but according to a recent report by the European Commission, they are the fifth most common type of plastic waste washing up on beaches.

When the UK’s Marine Conservation Society did its annual beach clean-up in 2016, it found 20 period products per 100 meters of shoreline.

Despite warnings against it, millions pads and tampons get flushed down the toilet everyday, which causes our sewer systems to backup and overflow into rivers and oceans.

The average menstrual pad contains the equivalent of four plastic grocery bags, according to the non-profit organization City to Sea:

Most tampons contain plastic too, in addition to their plastic applicators.

If they don’t end up in the ocean, they end up in a landfill, where they will take over 500 years to decompose.

More than 45 billion tampons and pads are used globally per year, resulting in 7 million pounds of plastic waste per year, according to Change to Green.

In addition to being toxic to our environment, these products are toxic to our bodies.

“Many sanitary products contain dangerous chemicals such as bleach and dioxins which are known as human carcinogens,” says No More Taboo, an organization dedicated to improving access to non-toxic reusable sanitary products worldwide.

“There are currently no regulations over what feminine hygiene companies can put into their products and, therefore, consumers do not know what chemicals they are putting into their body.”

And here’s the kicker. If you think you’ve already solved your part of the problem by buying a Diva Cup or similar silicone menstrual cup, think again.

Silicone, not-to-be confused with the naturally occurring mineral silicon, is just another form of plastic, and is likely just as toxic.

Not to worry. There are non-toxic, sustainable alternatives:

1. Natural Rubber Menstrual Cups like The Keeper:

2.  Organic Cotton or Hemp Washable Pads:

3. Make your own own pads out of old clothing. It’s easy: