Save the Oceans with Plastic-Free Menstrual Products

November 6, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Reusable cloth pads and natural rubber menstrual cups can help

Fortunately humanity is starting to wake up to the dangers of plastic pollution. Many of us are moving away from plastic water bottles, plastic bags, plastic utensils, and even plastic diapers.

But what most women haven’t realized is how much plastic is in our period products.

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.

Despite the warning against it millions pads and tampons get flushed down the toilet everyday. According to City to Sea, flushed feminine products are a major cause of back-ups that cause our sewer systems to overflow into rivers and oceans.

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.

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 inexpensive, non-toxic, natural and sustainable options:

Natural Rubber Menstrual Cups like The Keeper:

Organic Cotton or Hemp Washable Pads:

Or, make your own cloth pads, it’s easy: