Pass on pads: Alternatives to traditional feminine protection

You’ve greened your house, your kids and your car. What about your period? There’s no reason you can’t be kind to the Earth (and yourself!) during that time of the month. Give it a try – you may find that you like the green options even better than what you’re used to.

Happy woman wearing green

Traditional feminine protection is easy, but it may not be the best decision for your body or your world. Unless you’re buying organic pads and tampons, your feminine products are probably packed with chemicals. In fact, if you knew all the chemicals they put into those things, you may not be so quick to put them up against your lady bits every month.

Using traditional feminine protection also creates a huge amount of waste. Used feminine products are clogging sewers, littering beaches and piling up in landfills – ew! It’s time to put a stop to that, pronto!

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Green feminine protection is also usually a lot more budget-friendly. Think about how much you pay for a package of your favorite choice of period protection, and multiply that by 12. That’s about how much you spend in just one year, not to mention how much you’ll spend throughout all your reproductive years. Most of the green options are reusable – at least for a while – so that’s one monthly purchase you’ll be able to count out.

There are lots of options available for ladies who want a greener, more environmentally friendly period. No matter your style or preferences, there’s something out there for you.

Menstrual cups

A menstrual cup is just that – a cup. They’re made of silicone, latex or rubber, and they sit inside your vagina to collect the blood that your tampon normally would. They come in two sizes, and can usually be worn for up to 12 hours without being removed, depending on your flow. When you think it may be full (or begin to notice a leak), you simply remove the cup, pour it out, rinse and reinsert. Wash it once a day with soap, and sterilize it by boiling before the start of your next period.

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Menstrual cups take some getting used to, and you may need to try out a few before you find your perfect match. Several brands make menstrual cups and they vary in shape, size and firmness. One will probably set you back about $30-$50, but they last anywhere from 12 months to 10 years, depending on the brand.

If you’re not too jazzed about paying all that cash for something that may or may not work for you, you do have another option. The Reusable Softcup is used through one entire cycle, and then thrown away. Since it’s not a long-term product, it costs on average about $3 – still much cheaper than what you’ll spend each month for other types of disposable protection.

Washable pads

If you’re more of a pad user, you may want to try washable pads. They work just like you’d imagine – place them in your underwear just like you would a disposable pad, but then you wash and wear them again, instead of throwing them away.

Caring for these reusable pads may seem like a lot of work, but it’s really not. Once a pad has been removed, simply rinse it and throw it in the wash. If you’re concerned about staining, soak it for a few hours before you wash it — or buy pads made with dark colors and patterns.

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Washable pads are available in lots of different thicknesses and lengths, and some of them fold or snap around your underwear, while others just sit in place. You’ll find that they’re made of several different materials, and some can be doubled up for heavier flow days.

The cost of washable pads varies drastically, but, since they last for years, you’ll save a ton by going this route. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can even make your own.

More on feminine protection

Don’t miss another practice: How to handle your period
Things that can affect your period flow

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