We need to talk about periods. Healthy, zero waste periods. Menstrual supplies have won our hearts for being real life savers in times of total distress. So much that we tend to forget that they are solely made out of plastic – think applicators, packaging, pads. Here’s how we keep it under control with 3 simple items.
Moreover, conventional tampons and pads are pretty toxic, laced with artificial colours, bleaching agents, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene and propylene glycol (PEG). These toxic additives have been linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects and infertility. Time to switch things up.
When it comes to menstruation, women will go a long way to make them comfortable and easy. A lot of our peers have admitted that they don’t want to try sustainable alternatives because they have the reputation of being not only unpractical but unhygienic.
We wanted to totally debunk that myth by trying them out ourselves. We partnered with Cyclo, a spanish brand that makes a whole range of sustainable items for women who want to feel good during their periods with safe alternatives. A basic right, right? Here are the items you need for a totally zero waste and non toxic period.
Menstrual cups are all the hype and they’re not as difficult or disgusting as you think. First of all, we need to stop considering our own blood as dirty. Menstruation is a actually pretty cool, even if it feels sweaty and bloated. It allows us to end a cycle, to start anew every month.
First let’s talk about the 2.5 million tampons that are used by women each day. They clog up sewers (because most people still throw them in the toilet *gasp*) and they are a real environmental threat because they take a very long time to degrade, ending up in our oceans. They are coated with harmful chemicals that disrupt your hormones and pollute your yoni. Plus, they cost a lot of money each month. Our alternative: the menstrual cup
So the cup sent over to us by Cyclo was a really great fit. Much better than what I had tried before. It didn’t hurt, it was easy to insert and withdraw. You must boil your cup for 5 minutes at the beginning of your period so you’re sure no germs are on it. We have discovered that cups are not a guarantee against Toxic Shock Syndrome, a very rare condition where bacteria gets stuck between the tampon/cup and your vagina walls. Make sure you empty and wash your cup every 4-5 hours.
Did you know that one pack of conventional menstrual pads contain 4 carrier bag of plastic? So much for refusing them in stores.
We tried Cyclo’s organic cotton pads with a bit of aprehension though. We had no idea how it would feel. I usually use Natracare biodegradable pads which are a good intermediate option – along with organic tampons. Still, waste is waste and sometimes these “biodegradable” items aren’t what they seem.
I was surprised to note that cotton pads are a dream to sleep with and live with. They have a small clip so they dont fall off. They don’t leak, because the fabric is thick and they are lined with a special material (that does not touch your body parts). In the morning I washed them with cold water to get most of the blood out and then put them in the washer. I loved that you don’t get this sweaty feeling that often happens with conventional pads. It was all super soft and I felt no blood at all. I had three pads which was enough for my (short) zero waste period. You might need a few more if you have a heavier flow.
Elise from Cyclo was kind enough to sneak in some organic tea for menstrual pains. Since I have a copper IUD (I know not good but will remove soon) I get bad cramps before my period. Now, I have found ways to alleviate it using CBD balms and essential oils. My favorite thing to rant about is how hydration is the key to having less pains and aches around menstruation, so this tea really came in handy.
Its made from natural rooibos with calendula, hibiscus, fennel and rose hip, all of which are herbs that help calm cramps. It has anti-inflammatory properties and regulating for your cycle. Plants are real life savers when it comes to aches and pains. We really felt the difference after sipping on this tea for a day.
Ask any questions you like about our zero waste period in the comments, we’ll be glad to talk to you guys.