Climate change is one of the biggest concerns of our generation. Here at Rosie, we’re all about doing our bit to make a difference; whether that means using a keepcup, starting up a school compost, or swapping cling wrap for beeswax wraps.
But there may be one area that you haven’t paid much attention to – your period.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but disposable sanitary products (like pads and tampons) have a massive impact on our environment. In fact, as many as 1 billion pads and 700 million tampons contribute to landfill in Australia and New Zealand every year and, to make matters worse, pads can take up to 300 years to break down.
While those stats are pretty frightening, never fear – we’ve gone and hunted down the best sanitary options that won’t cost the earth! Bonus – a lot of these options will save you money in the long run! Considering a box of tampons cost $10 a month, which is $120 a year, which amounts to $1,200 a decade (!!!), a one-off spend of about $30 on a menstrual cup that will last you 8 years seems like a pretty good choice. Because being an eco-warrior doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank!
They may sound a little iffy at first, but hear us out.
Period undies are not like regular undies; these ones from Aussie brand Modibodi can hold up to 2 tampons worth of blood, while the triple layer design ensures you feel fresh and dry. There’s a range of absorbencies available, from super light to heavy/overnight, so there’s a product for every stage of your cycle. If you like your undies to be bright, striped or polka-dotted, check out their newly launched Red range. They’re so cute, you might just forget you’re even on your period!
A pair will set you back about $22, or you can buy in bulk and save some dough. Still need convincing? Modibodi offer a 10% discount for students!
These cone-shaped creations are perfect for reducing impact on the environment!
Basically, you fold the cup (there are different folding techniques out there, so feel free to experiment and find what works best for you – just make sure you wash your hands first) and insert it, much like you would a tampon. Once inserted, the cup opens and forms a seal on the vaginal walls to catch menstrual fluid. It can stay in place for up to 8 hours before it needs to be removed, then simply empty, clean and re-insert!
These little gems are completely reusable and, with proper cleaning and care, can last for up to 10 years. To get the most bang for your buck, look for a cup made from silicone. Cups also vary in firmness, size, shape and capacity, so you might want to shop around a bit before purchasing.
Read more: Rosie’s calling on state and territory Education and Health Ministers to provide free menstrual products in school bathrooms, so that every student can navigate their school years with dignity + respect.
Are you with us? Sign our petition & show your support!
Pelvi Cup offer a product specifically designed for teens, so it’s perfect for those who are just starting out. Plus, at $34.95, it’s one of the more affordable options (larger cups can cost up to $50). A quick word of caution – using menstrual cups can be a little uncomfortable at first, especially if you’re relatively new to your flow. It’s important to try and relax when inserting and removing your cup and, like most things, practice makes perfect!
But, if a menstrual cup is not the right fit for you, don’t stress! There are plenty of other sustainable options out there!
These are a great option if you’re new to your period and are a little intimidated by menstrual cups.
These reusable pads are made from certified organic cotton with no synthetic dyes or bleach, so they’re nice and gentle on your sensitive parts. There are a variety of sizes available, depending on where you’re at in your cycle, plus they come in a wide range of adorable patterns. Price varies according to size, plus there are also bundle options available.
The best part? Hannahpad offers discounts for all students! Head here for deets.
While these are all fantastic ways of reducing your environmental impact, don’t stress if they don’t quite fit your lifestyle. Periods are incredibly personal, and what works for one person may not for another. The good news is, if period underwear and menstrual cups aren’t your jam, there are still plenty of ways to reduce your impact on the environment. Every little bit counts, whether that means cycling to school or uni, shopping local or reducing your meat intake.
Sarah is a sociology graduate and freelance writing living in Melbourne. She is fascinated by issues of gender, sexuality and psychology. She can often be found reading, listening to music and watching Broad City.