Zero-Waste Period – An Easy Guide to Reducing Waste
Zero-Waste Period – An Easy Guide to Reducing Waste
Starting your zero-waste period journey can be daunting. But the fact that you’re willing to learn how to help reduce annual wastage is deserving of praise.
Did you know that, on average, a woman disposes of 250 to 300 pounds of period supplies such as tampons and pads every year? This number can be greatly reduced by making a simple switch to using zero waste options.
When it comes to menstrual products, the market is flooded with a wide variety of options. It’s only natural that you’d feel intimidated in the beginning. In this article, I’m going to walk you through some of the best reusable options available and guide you to have safe, comfortable, and healthy periods.
Why Switch to Reusable Period Supplies?
The main argument for using reusable period products is that they help save the environment. But how?
It is estimated that a woman can throw out between 5,000 and 15,000 menstrual products on average during their lifetime. This represents roughly 0.5% of your personal garbage load. For a single disposable pad to fully decompose, it takes over 500 years. Considering all this, it’s no wonder so many women are trying to make the change to more sustainable period products.
With concerns like global warming and scarcity on the rise, it is high time we start minimizing the production and consumption of disposables as much as possible. Not only do such products pollute the environment but they also end up in landfills or the ocean and stay there for years.
By switching to reusable products, you as an individual can greatly reduce your impact on the environment. Being the nurturers and caregivers that we are, we also need to prove our mettle and become better caretakers of this planet we call home. To this end, we at Phia have started doing our bit to help the environment.
What Are Your Options?
Based on my own personal experience as well as the popular vote, following are some of the best reusable menstrual products in terms of both comfort and convenience.
In fact, I have judged them more strongly based on their ease of use than the environmental factor — there’s no such thing as too much comfort when it comes to our periods.
Reusable pads are quite similar to traditional disposable pads. You attach them to your underwear but with a fastener. There are two kinds of reusable pads, one that comes with an absorbent pad over a washable base layer and one that’s just a single piece of fabric.
I think it’s much safer to go with reusable pads rather than disposable ones. The regulations surrounding what materials are allowed in the manufacturing of all female hygiene products are quite shoddy. And traditional pads often contain various chemicals, fragrances, and bleaches or dyes, which makes using them on a regular basis not such a good idea for your delicate parts.
Menstrual underwear, or period panties as they’re also called, are worn just like regular underwear. They’re designed to absorb menstrual blood and usually have absorbent padding sewn directly onto the undergarment’s crotch area. So you don’t need to attach anything else to them. However, those of us with heavy flows may have to experiment a bit more with period panties and include a reusable pad as an additional measure.
Period panties are available in a variety of different materials and sizes. Both period underwear and reusable pads can be washed in your washing machine, making them quite convenient. However, make sure that you don’t set a hot wash because that could cause stains to set in. An 86° F (30° C) wash should be sufficient.
If stains do set in, don’t worry. Some coloring doesn’t mean the fabric isn’t clean, but if stains still concern you, it’s probably best you avoid white or any light colors.
Zero-Waste Period Cup
A period cup, or a menstrual cup, is a small, flexible rubber cup that can be inserted into your vagina. This cup doesn’t absorb any of the menstrual fluids but collects it. Menstrual cups have become increasingly popular today, owing to a litany of conveniences they provide.
Typically made of medical-grade silicone material, period cups come in different shapes and sizes. You will find extensive guides and how-tos about using period cups on the internet. From picking the right size to different folds you can use to insert it, there is no dearth of information.
Although menstrual cups can take some getting used to, they reduce your annual waste significantly, are free from harmful chemicals, and sometimes actually help alleviate menstrual cramps.
But wait, the benefits don’t stop there. Menstrual cups also have a life of 10 years. Imagine the time and money you can save not having to purchase period products for 10 years. More power to women indeed.
Phia Cup – The Modern Menstrual Cup
Transitioning to a new menstrual product and period routine can be unsettling. The Phia Cup has been designed to make this transition much easier and hassle-free.
It’s made from high-quality medical-grade silicone, free of all chemicals, and toxins. The designer of Phia Cup, Sophia Peterson, aimed to make the cup’s usage as similar to tampons as possible so that tampon users would find it easier to make the switch.
Its tapered shape, thin triangle areas around the sides, and a flat base with a handle make the folding, inserting, and removal process significantly easier and ensure a leak-proof period.
Click here to pre-order your Phia Cup today!
Zero-Waste Period Routine
To help you get started with your eco-friendly period routine, here are some tips you can follow:
1. You Might Experience Leakage
The first few times you use a menstrual cup, you might experience some leakage because of improper placement or removal. It happens to everyone initially, so don’t worry about it. With some practice, usually after two or three period cycles, you’ll get the hang of it.
2. Try Different Folds
Period cups can be inserted using various folds and you may have to experiment a little to find the right one for you. Once inserted, check for the “pop" sound to ensure that the suction has been created around the rim. Ideally, you should not be able to feel the cup inside you at all. And if you do feel uncomfortable, try pushing or pulling it higher or lower to find a more comfortable position for the cup.
3. Remove the Cup in the Shower
When you’re removing the cup, do it in the shower or over the toilet. There may be some overflow or spillage and it’s better to avoid any messes.
4. Use Boiling Water to Sanitize Your Cup
A quick way to sanitize your cup is using boiling water. After you’ve thoroughly washed your cup with warm water and soap, leave it in boiling water for a few minutes. But make sure it does not stay at the bottom of the pan.
5. Other Tips
If you’re traveling, you can visit our blog for tips on how to comfortably get through your period while you’re on the road.
Your period, your choice. Period. Thankfully a lot of the social stigma around menstruation and period has died over the past few decades, but in some places, it still lingers on. Pay no mind to it. How you choose to care for yourself during a time as important as your period is entirely up to you — nobody else has a say in the matter.
Your menstrual cycle is a wonderful and natural process. And switching to reusable or zero-waste period products will only help us create a more sustainable future while also empowering women.