This week, I’m delighted to be publishing a guest post by the lovely Jackie Bolen of ReusableMenstrualCup.com, who is an expert on all things related to eco-friendly periods. I wrote a post a few weeks back on how to use a menstrual cup; this week, Jackie will follow that up by discussing the most recent eco-friendly period innovations. Over to you, Jackie!
A couple decades ago, the main options for period products were pads or tampons. The good news for us today is that there’s now a huge array of options available. Many of them are eco-friendly, more affordable, and also healthier for our bodies.
I’ll give you a run-down of what’s new in the world of eco-friendly period products, including cheaper menstrual cups, menstrual cups for teens, an option for period sex, premium cloth pads and organic tampons.
Cheaper Menstrual Cups
Even just a few years ago, there weren’t many options for menstrual cups, and a few brands dominated the market. They included the first modern-day menstrual cup, the Keeper, along with the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, and MoonCup.
The good news is that all these menstrual cups are top-quality, and work well for most people. The bad news is that they are also quite expensive, coming in at around $30 USD. If it’s your first time trying a menstrual cup, and you’re not sure that you’re going to like it, or that it won’t leak, that can be a lot of money.
The good news is that are now more than 100 menstrual cups you can find on Amazon today. Some of the very cheap ones for $5-10 should be avoided. They are not made from medical grade materials, and they’re so flimsy that they often don’t work that well.
There are, however, plenty of good options in the $15-25 range, including the Lena Cup, Eva Cup, Super Jennie, and the Meluna Cup. They are all made from top-quality materials, and are the same as something like the Diva Cup in terms of quality. They’re just cheaper.
In particular, I love the Lena Cup. It has some excellent reviews on Amazon and one of the highest overall ratings among all menstrual cups. Most people find it’s very easy to insert and remove, and also that it doesn’t leak.
Menstrual Cups for Teens
When menstrual cups first came onto the market, most companies only offered them in two sizes: small and large. The small is usually for people who haven’t given birth vaginally, or those under 30. The large is for people over 30, or those who’ve given birth vaginally.
These days, there is a massive range of sizes and styles available. In particular, we love that there are now some menstrual cups for teens available. These cups are smaller, shorter, and often a bit softer than regular menstrual cups.
Two options that teens might consider are the Lily Cup One for Teens, and the FemmyCycle Teen (Petite).
A Reusable Period Sex Option
If you wanted to have non-messy period sex, your best option for a lot of years was the Instead Soft Cup, or the updated version of this product, the Flex Disc. Most people find that these work well, but the thing I don’t love about them is that they’re disposable.
The good news is that Intimina (maker of the Lily Cup) has come out with the Ziggy Menstrual Cup. In terms of function and design, it’s very similar to the Soft Cup, but it’s made from medical grade silicone. This means that it’s reusable for at least a few years. How long it lasts depends on how well you take care of it.
Finally, a company has made a reusable period sex option! People have been waiting decades for this.
Premium Cloth Menstrual Pads
A few years ago, most of the reusable cloth pads you could find on Amazon were cheaply made in China. These pads are still around, and while some of them work reasonably well, many of them are pretty terrible. Think shifting around, leaking, etc.
These days, there are a few companies coming out with premium cloth pads that have added features such as being handmade or made from organic cotton. They generally have a much better design and higher overall quality so just work better.
In particular, I love Blushing Bluebird Pads (made in Canada) from organic cotton, and Tree Hugger Cloth Pads who plant a tree for each pad sold. Hesta also makes a nice range of organic pads that you may want to consider.
Tampons have been around for decades. Organic ones have been around almost as long, but they’ve only become more well-known in the last few years.
The reason why you might make the switch to organic tampons is that regular tampons contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals in them. They come from the pesticides used to grow the cotton, as well as the bleaching agents from the manufacturing process.
The worst part about this is that companies (in most countries) aren’t required to disclose what’s in these products. In the USA, for example, tampons (and disposable pads) are considered to be medical devices by the FDA and companies therefore don’t have to list the materials.
Hopefully the legislation surrounding this will change, but in the meantime, it makes sense to switch to an organic option. There’s a new brand of organic tampons available every few months, so keep your eyes open! Check reviews on Amazon to help you find the best ones; quality and usability vary considerably.
Consider Making the Switch to Eco-Friendly Period Products Today
If you’re looking to green up your period, consider making the switch to a menstrual cup, reusable cloth pads, the Ziggy Cup or organic tampons. There really is an option for just about everybody to help the environment, save a ton of money, and have a healthier period experience.
About the Author
Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging friend of the Earth who can most often be found on top of a mountain, paddling the rivers, or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. She hopes that a reusable period product will one day be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world. You can find her at Reusable Menstrual Cups.