Like our blog? You’ll love our period underwear.
There are so many ways our habits impact the planet, from plastic shopping bags to harmful chemicals in the air. It's great to see all the ways people (just like you!) are taking actionable steps to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Did you know that disposable period products can also have a serious impact on the environment? It's true. The good news is that there are plenty of reusable menstrual products that can help lower your household's level of waste. Let's talk eco period options for your teen or tween:
Menstrual waste is on the rise
It’s estimated that people who menstruate will have, on average, 450 periods in their lifetime. Multiple that with all the period products each person uses per period, and again by every person who menstruates, that equals a whole lot of plastic waste! Pads, tampons, liners and their packaging aren’t biodegradable, meaning they all add up to waste accumulation. Just one person can throw away approximately 11,000 pads and tampons in their lifetime!
It’s also estimated that each year, over 45 billion period products are thrown into the garbage. Here’s an example: Emily Turner, a writer for Refinery29, estimates she will have about 396 periods in her lifetime. She has a heavy flow, and goes through about 30 tampons and pads each cycle. This means that in her lifetime, Emily will be responsible for almost 12,000 disposables. Emily’s period sounds very similar to most, so it’s easy to see how our menstrual waste can build up over time. Emily writes that 20 billion disposable menstrual products end up in landfills in North America alone!
Do tampons decompose?
Sure, tampons and decompose...in 800 years! The biggest issue here is plastic applicators. Plastic tampon applicators are made from low-density polyethylene, which can take centuries (like, eight of them) to biodegrade. Unfortunately, it’s still not possible to recycle tampon applicators, so single-use plastic applicators end up in landfills without any hope of decomposing in our lifetime. Long story short: no, they do not decompose.
Reusable tampon applicators
Reusable tampon applicators are one solution to a more eco period. If tampons are your menstrual product of choice but you want to try more sustainable period products, consider purchasing a reusable applicator. If your teen is still learning about how all this tampon biz works, check out our guide on how to insert a tampon.
Disposable pads vs. reusable pads
Pads run into the same issue as tampons due to the presence of polyethylene, which makes them hard to break down. It’s estimated that one pad is the equivalent of four plastic shopping bags when it comes to its plastic waste.
There are a few other issues with disposable pads. The adhesives used to keep your pad attached to your undies also aren’t biodegradable, so your pads are going to sit in landfill for hundreds of years. Even organic cotton pads aren’t super beneficial for the environment. While they won’t last as long in a landfill compared to non-organic pads, it’s still human waste and this has a negative environmental impact. Of course, also remember sanitary pads or tampons should never be flushed down the toilet, as they will pollute our oceans.
For those who typically prefer disposable pads as their period product of choice, consider introducing your teen to reusable pads. A reusable menstrual pad, also known as cloth sanitary pads or CSPs, are from absorbent fabrics and can be washed and reused, allowing for a more eco-friendly period than a disposable pad.
Another eco-friendly period option is a menstrual cup. Menstrual cups are reusable period products that typically hold way more blood than tampons and pads, and can be worn for longer periods of time. Check out how to use a menstrual cup for more info.
Kt's period underwear is a great choice for eco-friendly feminine hygiene products! Worn just like regular underwear, period underwear holds way more blood than a tampon or pad alone, (our medium absorbency can hold up to three tampons worth of blood, while our super absorbency holds about nine to 12 tampons worth of blood!)
They can even be paired with your teen's other favourite eco period products (such as menstrual cups) on heavier flow days. Kt's period underwear is also quite moisture wicking, which is great if your teen needs a pair of "sweating underwear" AKA underwear to absorb their sweat.
Kt's period underwear is moisture wicking, odor-crushing, and comes in all kinds of sizes and styles. The best part? Period underwear can be washed and reused, making it a green choice for period care.
The cost on our planet and your wallet
The average person will spend upwards of $2,000, just on tampons! This is based on tampons being changed every six hours on average. I don't know about you, but I can think of about a million other things I'd rather spend two grand on.
The point is, periods can have a serious impact on the environment and your wallet. Switching to reusable pads, reusable applicators, menstrual cups, and/or period underwear are all small, actionable changes we can make to reduce our level of waste, while also supporting our kids to feel more comfortable on their period.
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