How to make your period more eco-friendly

Menstruation shouldn’t be so difficult for the planet, too.

tampons in water
Reducing your plastic consumption could start with nixing your tampon's plastic applicator.Josefin via Unsplash

Periods can be a pain—the cramps, the bloating, the ruined underwear—but what can make that time of the month even more frustrating? Thinking about the amount of waste associated with many traditional menstrual products. If you're looking to decrease the number of pads, tampons, and panty-liners you throw away, consider this list of eco-friendly products.

Evawear period panties

Evawear period panties

Just undies!Amazon

Imagine just slipping on a pair of underwear at the start of your period and not having to worry about carrying around extra pads and tampons. Well, with these period panties from Evawear, you can do just that. Each pair holds 20ml of fluid, or about as much as two super tampons can handle. The design includes super soft moisture-wicking fabric and a leak-proof barrier so you don’t have to worry about any spillage. They are machine washable.

Divacup

Divacup

The tried and true.Amazon

There are many menstrual cups on the market—different shapes, sizes, designs—but the tried-and-true cup that made menstrual cups mainstream is none other than the Divacup. Made from silicone, the Divacup can be worn for up to 12 hours. This model holds up to 30ml of fluid—that’s three super tampons. The cup cannot be felt when inserted properly and the brand promises to provide leak-free protection. The Divacup can be used over and over again with correct sanitation, and completely eliminates waste from tampons and pads.

Ziggy cup

Ziggy cup

Mess-free period sex.Amazon

You’ve probably heard about menstrual cups, but what about menstrual discs? There are quite a few disposable menstrual discs on the market, but the Ziggy Cup is made from medical grade silicone and is made to be reused. Unlike menstrual cups, which sit fairly low in the vagina, the Ziggy Cup sits just under the cervix and is tucked behind the pubic bone. Because of where this cup sits in the vagina, you can have vaginal intercourse while the Ziggy Cup is inserted, which is definitely a perk. This cup can also be worn for up to 12 hours and can hold a whopping 76ml of fluid! The double-edged rim prevents leaks and the super-soft silicone is perfect for sensitive bodies.

Wegreeco cloth pads

Wegreeco cloth pads

Super soft, reusable pads.Amazon

If you’re not a tampon user, but still want to cut down on waste, then check out these reusable cloth pads from Wegreeco. These are an easy way to transition from traditional pads to something more environmentally friendly. These pads are super absorbent, soft, and breathable, with bamboo charcoal fabric on the inside, a microfiber absorbent layer underneath, and a waterproof outside to prevent leakage. They come in multiple sizes and fun colors as well. After use, just give them a rinse in cold water and then toss them into the washing machine.

Sea sponge tampons

Sea sponge tampons

The original tampon.Amazon

People love this. Sea sponge tampons are fairly straight-forward: they come from the Mediterranean, they have been shaped to fit the vagina, and are quite literally made to absorb liquid. These even have an attached string for easy and clean removal. Sanitation is, of course, a priority with these: make sure you sanitize completely before using since they do come from the sea. If taken care of properly, they last up to six months. You may want to consult your OB-gyn before taking this on.

O.B. non-applicator tampons

O.B. non-applicator tampons

Tampons only. No plastic.Amazon

If you really can’t bear the thought of using anything other than tampons during your period (or you’ve tried other options, but still prefer your go-to) you still have an environmentally friendly option: non-applicator tampons, like these from o.b. They’ve been selling environmentally friendly tampons for about 50 years so they know a thing or two about helping our environment. These are quite simply the tampons without the single-use plastic applicator. Just use your fingers to insert the tampon all the way and you’re good to go.