The green girl’s guide to surfing the crimson wave
The menstruation market is getting greener. And with scary stats about how many period products are thrown away every year (100 billion) and how long they will take to degrade in landfills (50 years), it’s kind of late.
Eco-pioneers KeepCup launched the original reusable menstrual cup back in 2002, but it took over a decade, some savvy taboo-breaking marketing and the maturing of the millennial eco brigade for the message to go mainstream.
Other brands since have launched their own environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional tampons and sanitary towels, including ‘period panties’ (nice one, THINX) and ‘reusable applicators’ (good one, DAME).
Find it all a bit gross? Though it’s tempting to say ‘get over it’, it’s understandable given that is still (somehow) society’s general message — but it’s a real blot on one’s otherwise squeaky green sheet. The average women throws away 250-300 lbs of period-related rubbish in a lifetime and that’s before you even start on the ‘bin or flush’ debate. (Spoiler: It’s not a debate — definitely bin.)
Just trial one of these eco period products — for the health of your body, bank balance, and planet…
Upsides: FAIR SQUARED's eco credentials are impressive; where to begin... the cup is made from 100% certified Fair Trade natural latex from Sri Lanka (which is a renewable material, free from plastic, silicone, BPA, PVC, phthalates and bleach — and it's biodegradable!), the company uses recycled packaging wherever possible, the storage bag is made from organic and fair trade cotton, and it's all manufactured in a carbon neutral factory in Germany.
Downsides: They're a slightly peculiar colour, though MoonCup's clear silicone has its own set of issues and PinkCup's are so unavoidably PINK.
Upsides: These are kind of trail-blazing; comfortable, un-ugly pants that don't require any other sanitary protection?! And they actually do what they say on the nattily branded packaging.
Downsides: The concept takes some getting used to and £25-ish seems a fair amount to fork for one pair of pants, but then you're good.
Upsides: Let's just take a moment to appreciate their tagline 'Bleed Red, Think Green'... Ok, now that's done, there are loads of great things about it, even though it's in prototype stage (but taking orders, with delivery estimated for October). It's the first of its kind and opens up the eco-period market to women who aren't willing to ditch the tampon — plus it's clean, smooth and easy to use.
Downsides: It still requires tampons, but they are organic, biodegradable and free from bleach, rayon, pesticides and fragrances
Upsides: For any of those serial binners in your life (especially those who cite public embarrassment as an excuse), it saves sanitary products from going down the toilette.
Downsides: They still need to be disposed of somehow.
Upsides: A relative bargain and pretty simple to use.
Downsides: A little behind the the savvy branding of the US market, UK stockists are yet to give them a cool makeover. Bit less pretty, no less effective.
Upsides: You can do almost anything (you'd usually do when you're not on your period) while wearing it; swim, workout, have sex. (Yeh, yeh, what? Game-changer.)
Downsides: It's similar to but not as environmentally-friendly as a menstrual cup as you do still have to trash it, but it creates less waste than standard alternatives.