Greening your period
If you’re a guy, you may want to take this opportunity to clean under your fingernails or pick up a motorcycle magazine. This information is NOT for you. It’s for the ladies who realize how many feminine hygiene products they send to the landfill every year in dealing with their monthly visit from Mother Nature. We need to stop the madness!
I know, this is a personal topic, but it needs to be addressed. Over your lifetime, the amount of discarded pads, tampons and pantie liners can really add up. Plus, most are made out of synthetic materials that aren’t exactly good for the environment (or you). Tampons would probably be ranked the least harmful to the Earth (made of cotton and wrapped in cardboard), but there are even better ways to deal with your monthly friend.
More than 10 years ago, I was lamenting about this waste issue and searching for a more earth-friendly period solution when I discovered the website for The Keeper, a reusable menstrual cup. I was a little hesitant – it seemed kind of messy, although I knew girls who used tampons without applicators. It couldn’t be any messier than that, right?
There are more brands out there now, but at the time The Keeper was the only game in town. It really didn’t take much getting used to. Whether you like it or not, your period is unpleasant no matter what. With The Keeper, you really only have to tend to it twice a day unless you have a ridiculous flow. It’s actually much cleaner than pads because it’s all inside like a tampon. But, unlike a tampon, it can’t give you TSS and doesn’t need to be thrown away. They even have a version made of medical grade silicon in case you’re allergic to rubber/latex.
This product also eliminates those embarrassing trips to the grocery store JUST for pads. (I hate that… there’s always a cute boy in line with whom you have to avoid eye contact!)
I generally wear a pantie liner with The Keeper, and I have found that Whole Foods carries organic cotton varieties. I will say this – last year I experienced some truly abominable cramps, and because of them, it was hard to remove The Keeper. Whenever I would bear down on my muscles to help it out, it was like someone was running over my abdomen with a truck. These have since subsided, and so I am using it again. This is something to consider if your cramps are particularly terrible.
Now let’s consider the cost. The Keeper costs $37 including shipping and handling and has a life expectancy of “at least 10 years”!!!!! Compare that to how much you spend on regular feminine products in just one year, and that’s quite impressive!
If you can’t use The Keeper and are still interested in greening your period, at least consider switching to all organic cotton pads, tampons and pantie liners. It won’t cut down on the waste, but it will be better for your body. To cut down on the wastefulness of pads, check out these websites for GladRags and Luna Pads, washable, reusable menstrual pads. You can even buy creative and colorful cloth pads on Etsy! So many cool products out there! Although I’m not sure I’m quite ready for sea sponge tampons!