The Monthlies – Period wear and more
Periods. The struggle for women is real. But so too are the benefits and beauty of what our bodies can do. Although each women is on their own cycle journey; we are bound together by the commonality of our experiences, the uniqueness of our biology to conceive and reproduce.
The market is flooded with feminine hygiene products that serve to confuse and lure us to purchase products with bright funky packaging or cleaver wording. But the fact of the matter is, to help stem the flow we are hugely resource intensive. The majority of us rely on disposable products that are stored somewhere in the earth rotting away trying desperately to breakdown.
We have become accustomed to using single use disposable items in the western world; much to the detriment of the planet.
Disposable Tampons, Sanitary Pads & Panty Liners
Tampons are made from cotton and designed to be used once and then disposed. They usually come individually wrapped in plastic or in a small package to keep them hygienic.
Disposable Sanitary Pads and panty liners are usually made up of a variety of layers. These layers are usually cotton, wood pulp and plastic. They are designed for single use. Some pads and liners have incorporated biodegradable components; but still have plastic components.
Shockingly, pads can take between 500-800 years to decompose.
The alarming thing is that some women choose to wear liners every day. This may be a product of marketing, and the stigma related to vaginal discharge. In most instances, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal and is a regular occurrence. We need to breakdown these social stigmas through conversation and normalising the power in what our bodies can do.
The environmental impact of the waste generated by disposable feminine hygiene products is immense.
Apart from disposables, there are other options……
Reusable Sanitary Pads
Are made from a variety of materials, which are placed on the inside of your underwear to catch the flow. They can be washed and reused. Most are made from cotton, hemp or bamboo. They usually have wings with a clip to secure around your underwear.
They are cost effective, generate much less waste and come in many attractive patterns.
I prefer using reusable sanitary pads during lighter flow days.
The Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cups are usually made from medical grade silicone and are reusable. The cup is inserted into the vagina to catch the blood flow. Once full it is emptied out, washed and reused. Most cups can last many years.
They can conveniently be worn in the water, and are comfortably worn during high activity.
They are cost effective and generate much less waste.
I truly think this is one of the best inventions ever. It is so easy to use and convenient in so many ways.
Period underwear is underwear with layers built into absorb fluid. They are washable and reused. They are usually made from synthetic materials, however their reusability still makes it a more sustainable alterative over disposables.
I enjoy wearing period underwear, as they look just like normal underwear; and come in many different cuts and designs. They are very durable and have stood the test of time.
I aim to make products available on AlternativeMe that are plastic free, unless the positive impact outweighs the negatives; and where no other product can match this impact.
More specifically, I refer to the Juju menstrual cup as an amazing device which when paired with a pair of period underwear; is all that I use every month to feel comfortably powerful and free.
I am not suggesting that we need to abandon all disposable feminine hygiene products. However I strongly believe that we need to be open and explore alternative avenues to potentially come across a more sustainable solution or combination of solutions that will suit our personal needs.
Join me in making that time of the month, easy on the wallet and planet.
A side note:
I did come across an interesting alternative; however it is not recommended nor endorsed by the medical profession. I still found it an interesting read:
You can read about Sammy’s enlightening experience with the menstrual sea sponge here.