Tampon and Pad Alternatives – Environmentally Friendly Period Products

The Best Tampon and Pad Alternatives At A Quick Glance


With so much shame and embarrassing stigmas surrounding periods, it remains to be one of the topics still buried under the rug even in this day and age. It’s so strange that with something affecting woman every month throughout her lifetime, it still isn’t discussed openly. I’m sure if men had it, everyone would be required to take a whole period 101 class in high school and college where you could learn all about it and how it affects each person differently.

How often do women get their periods?

Women get their periods once a month which calculates out to about 2,280 days on their period with 451.3 periods per her lifetime.

Obviously, factors will change the number to this depending on the number of kids you have and the birth control method you use. This 451 period number corresponds to 34.7 years of menstrual activity, considering a woman gets an average of 13 cycles per year.

How many tampons and pads do women typically go through in their lifetime?

With this amount of bleeding women go through more than about 11,000 tampons or pads over the course of their lifetime.


Can Tampons and Pads Harm Women?

If you answered no to this in your head, we have some major problems. Pads and tampons are not required by law to have ANYTHING in their products be approved by the FDA. Why? Since they aren’t considered medical devices and it isn’t something you swallow to put in your body, it’s just a product. The irony that since it is being put physically into your body through your vagina vs. your mouth, the FDA doesn’t feel the need to regulate the products.

Besides toxic shock syndrome pads and tampons contain nonbiodegradable and potentially toxic plastic. Other synthetic materials you might not think of are even in tampons like glue (tampon cords are glued vs. being woven in) and other petrochemical additives.

Additionally, bleached and nonorganic cotton, rayon, wood pulp, wool, or a combination of these materials are used to make the pad or tampon itself and have nonorganic cotton and rayon. They are also known to contain pesticides and herbicides a few, in particular, is diuron dioxin. Diuron is a chemical that the United States Environmental Protection Agency has dubbed carcinogens and dioxins, a toxin that the World Health Organization has linked to an alarming immune system suppression, reproductive problems, and cancer.


Are Tampons And Pads Bad For The Environment?

In the year 2019, it should be common sense to everyone that climate change is a severe problem that is affecting our planet, and thus, in turn, is going to affect our future humans. With something so daunting over the human race, everyone should be looking into small changes and alternatives that can help save our planet.

End Up In Landfills

A small thing women can do is be aware of their carbon footprint as it refers to their feminine hygiene products. Did you know that tampon applicators are NOT recyclable since they come into contact with human waste and thus are added to our landfills?

An estimated amount of over 100 billion menstrual hygiene products are worldwide disposed of annually. North America alone contributes about 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons, and tampon applicators. Since plastic is used in all of these products, it takes about 500 to 800 years for them to decompose. Some countries are trying to combat the problem of landfills by using the burning method; however, when tampons or pads are burned, they release toxic fumes, including carbon dioxide which is in turn even worse for the planet and directly affects climate change.

End Up In Our Water

Just like the straw epidemic, our tampon applicators are turning up in our waterways and beaches worldwide. This harms wildlife and affects ocean life. Back in 2015, 27,938 used tampons and applicators were found on beaches around the world every single day. Yes, you read that right, 27,938 tampons and applicators every single day and I wonder how much that number has changed in the years since then. Overall this is the 5th most common type of waste contributing to the global pollution problem.

Tampons + Pads = Much Environmental Harm

So yes, tampons and pads are beyond harmful to our environment. Something that takes so much fossil fuel to make and takes centuries to break down doesn’t seem like something women should continue to be using so freely and carelessly.

A $6 billion industry is continually getting away with 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually as reported by the United Nations Environment Program.


How Can We Help Fix The Problem For the Environment and Our Bodies?

There are a few simple and easy switches you can make to your feminine hygiene routine that will not only better the environment, but it will better your overall health.

Stop Flushing Tampons + Applicators

First off, stop flushing your hygiene products down the toilet. They do not break down in the water like toilet paper, and they cause clogging in the sewer pipes which leads to overflow, and the wastewater eventually makes its way to our streams, creeks, oceans, and rivers.

For you sickos that feel it’s proper just to lay your tampons and pads anywhere you feel, stop. It’s gross and doing this leads to spreading possible disease and pathogens because of the bodily waste they contain. You’re not an animal you’re a human, clean up after yourself and think of others.

Use Reusable Menstrual Products

Using reusable menstrual products is one of the critical things to help the environment and your body. Women’s bodies go through so much throughout their lifetime, and in this day and age, you shouldn’t be putting harmful toxic products into it. These products can cause several life-threating side effects, including cancer. Why take the risk when there are so many alternatives out there!

Listen I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I never use tampons or pads. I do use tampons when I go to the gym or anytime I workout. I can’t run with a pad; it’s just a no go for me for so many reasons. However, when I am not at the gym or working out, I have found a product that has been a real game-changer for me.

Since I have endometriosis, I have never really been a fan of tampons but like the freeness of it, ladies you know what I’m talking about. Tampons irritate my ovaries more, but pads always feel like a diaper to me. With clothing as tight as it is nowadays wearing a pad looks like I have the biggest over puffed out vagina in the whole state of Wisconsin. I am a small girl, and there’s just no other way around it, you will see if I’m wearing a pad if I wear any type of tight jeans or yoga pant.

This is where the genius of reusable pads comes into play. My favorite brand I have found is the Soft Washable Charcoal Bamboo Menstrual Pad by Highoh.

These cloth pads last about 3 to 4 years and are hygienic, reusable, recyclable and environmentally friendly. After 4 years you can recycle them and they are 100% biodegradable.

Unlike other reusable pads, these are made out of natural bamboo charcoal fiber material that only decomposes any micro-organisms present on the pad or in the air around it. Why does this matter? Well, the 2 layers of all-natural bamboo charcoal fiber (plus an additional waterproof layer) keep you clean, dry and hygienic all day every day. This prevents leakage and gets rid of any odor that will surround your vagina and the space around you. After all, it is blood that collects on top of pads and old blood smells; there’s just no other cute way to word that. Having a charcoal odor eliminator is a lifesaver not only for you and your nose but for other nostrils around you. Charcoal also helps eliminate harmful bacteria on the surface of the pad.

These pads are not bleached with chlorine dioxide or a long list of harmful and bio-accumulative byproducts like dioxin that other products are made with. This has been proven to help cramps with your period and doesn’t irritate your vagina during a time in which it already feels like it’s trying to kill you.

Those like me with endometriosis most likely get cramps so severe during their period it hurts to poop and they have to call into work. Cramps are bad in general but endometriosis takes it to another level. Since using these my cramps have significantly decreased and as I said before, I only wear tampons now when I work out.

Sign Petitions 

In 2017 Rep. Grace Meng made a petition for all tampon companies to fully disclose waht they put in their hygiene products called the Products Right To Know Act. Women have the right to know not only what is in each period product but how it is made. This petition is still in circulation to this day.

Ella Daish has also started a petition on change.org asking that all companies stop using plastic in period products for women. Eliminating plastic will help our environment, wildlife, and our overall health. If you wish to sign the petition you can do so here! It is pretty close to getting its finally end goal of 200,000!

Now that you know the ins and outs if periods and how they affects a woman’s overall life, let’s take a look at some great tampon and pad alternatives.


Variety 10 Pack Reusable Pad 

This 10 pack is great because the pads themselves come in different sizes. As women know, each underwear is a different size and each type of pants or short requires a ceratin panty to be worn with it. Nothing is worse than trying to shove an oversized pad onto a tiny sized panty.

Each layer is made out of charcoal bamboo much like the other reusable pads we went over. Each pad is secured with a button on the bottom of your underwear so you don’t have to worry about a button going in your vagina.

The pads themselves can be folded down into an envelope shape so they fit nice and small in purses or clutches.

Reviews Have Said:

  • I use cloth diapers on my kids I’m surprised it took me so long to use cloth period products on myself! These are very absorbent.
  • Tried these for the multiples sizes in the pack and I don’t see myself going back to disposable pads every agian…these were so comfortable.
  • So in love with these after the first time I used them.

Reusable Period Cup 

Many people have probably seen the Lena Menstrual Cup but don’t know much about it.

How To Use It-Using this is a lot less scary than what you might be guessing in your head. Looking at it is a bit intimidating and it shouldn’t be. You insert it just like you insert a tampon. 

What’s great about this cup is that you can wear it for up to 12 hours without having to worry about toxic shock syndrome. It comes with two different products- one for heavy flow days and one for light flow days.

This is a great option for those who workout especially runners, dancers, gymnasts, and MMA.

This product is 100% FDA approved and uses US medical-grade silicone and dyes.

Reviews Have Said:

  • Can’t feel this at all
  • Love the curved lip at the top, ladies you will love these.
  • A few periods with this cup and I have seen a great improvement with my period pain.

Tampax Menstrual Cups Starter Kit

If you are new to tampon and pad alternatives than you might feel more comfortable using an alternative made from a company you’ve been with for years.

Tampax is one of the biggest names when women think of tampons and even they have come up with a period alternative product.

Much like the other cup Tampax gives you two cups for heavy and light days. The soft curve shape is great for making your bladder feel comfortable all day long.

Once people have the cup experience they don’t ever want to go back to standard pads and tampons.

Reviews Have Said:

  • Great for those who don’t have time to change tampon or pads every few hours, with this you can go 12+ hours
  • I have tried 6 different menstrual cups before I finally fell in love with this one
  • Inserting this cup gets easier with time

FemmyCycle Menstrual Cup

The FemmyCycle Menstrual Cup was designed for all types of women. It has an easily removable ring and comes in a few different purchasing packs.

You can buy a variety pack or if you know your cervix you can get the cup that correlates to you. 

No latex, BPA or animal products are in this product which is great for your body and those that are vegan.

This is made from 100% soft medical grade silicone. 

Reviews Have Said:

  • Have been using this for 2 years and haven’t looked back
  • Great for heavy flow
  • Use these with a tilted cervix and have had no leaks

Always Discreet Underwear 

Okay, I get it these aren’t the most attractive things to be wearing and I’m sure anyone under the age of 30 is instantly thinking I’m an idiot. Before you totally throw me and my blog under the bus just keep reading.

While these aren’t the sexiest things to be wearing they are safe for your body and will help save the planet. We didn’t ask to get our periods every month but we can change the future of our planet every month.

These bad boys are cotton which means they are 100% biodegradable and won’t take up space in our landfills. While these aren’t attractive in the slightest they are comfy AF, so if anything else they can be a great alternative to wear at night in bed.

Most reusable underwear is meant to be paired with pads and tampons and there aren’t many out there that are meant to be worn solely on their own. These are underwear and a pad in one so you don’t need to pair it with pads or tampons. 

These have an order lock technology which means you will smell fresh while wearing them and you won’t have any type of funk or ordor.

Reviews Have Said:

  • Super comfortable
  • Use them at night for my periods, sleep great
  • Work better than 2 pads at a time

Final Thoughts

Tampons and pads are not only harmful to the body but are extremely detrimental to the environment. Tampons can cause much irritation, and with a topic that is so taboo, it can be challenging to open up and talk about it. Women oftentimes don’t have a resource to look into for period questions, concerns or a place to discuss period product alternatives. All women should realize there is a solution to period pain, and it isn’t the norm to have painful periods especially if the pain is being caused by feminine hygiene products themselves.

Thankfully companies have started to really take time and have developed tampon and pad alternatives so that women can live comfortably. They have developed menstrual products that help women get through that dreaded week that hits once every month by providing them with earth friendly products.

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