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How To Have Your First Zero Waste Period

by BUST Magazine


Periods. They’re a fact of life. Every month, for about a week, uterus-having folks deal with what Cher Horowitz iconically termed “the crimson wave” – an outpouring of blood that’s been taboo for centuries. It’s also linked to a ton of garbage.

Typically, menstruating folk manage their periods with disposable pads and tampons. These products, containing superabsorbent polymers, single use plastics and unsustainably grown cotton, are a major source of environmental waste. In North America alone, 20 billion pads and tampons go to landfill every year. Even worse, each of those discarded pads and tampons are expected to take at least 500 years to decompose.

Bottom line? Every pad and tampon ever made is still in existence somewhere on this planet. That’s a lot of garbage!

Lots of companies have been tackling this problem – it’s time to get plastic out of periods for good. However, letting go of the Tampax habit you’ve been nurturing since grade school can be hard. We’re here to make it easy.

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Wash And Wear

The easiest way to get started might be to purchase a pair of period undies and try them out overnight or on a lighter day of your cycle. When you are picking out a pair, be sure to look for breathable fabrics (keeps the vulva happier) and a leakproof barrier, so you know your undies can keep Aunt Flow under control. Luna Undies, a line of organic cotton period undies from Lunapads, features a breathable gusset and an additional absorbent insert to help you customize your protection and feel fresh all day.

Get A Cup That Fits You

There are tons of menstrual cups out there now, and it can be hard to find the one that’s right for you. A key thing to consider is cup firmness; a very firm cup can be uncomfortable but also can be the best choice for very active folks or those who experience a cup that slips down. A softer cup can be more comfortable, but also may require more manipulation to place correctly and to prevent leaks. A firmer cup may also be easier for beginners. Try the online quiz at Put A Cup In It to find out what cup works best for you!

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Not Your Mother’s Cloth Pads

Cloth pads might evoke thoughts of Woodstock and the farmer’s market, but there are newer versions with high-tech fabrics that are as comfortable as underwear but bring the heat when it comes to heavy flow.Lunapads’ Performa line features a wicking cotton top layer, an ultra-absorbent core and leakproofing that can take on the heaviest flow, no problem. They’re lab-tested to be three times as absorbent as a comparably-sized disposable.

Remember – when you’re choosing your zero waste period kit, check that the company helping you make their sustainable choice is also practicing sustainability. Do they have low carbon or zero waste manufacturing? Do they use sustainable materials like organic cotton or recycled polyester? Do they hold third-party certifications like B Corp or 1% For The Planet?

Choosing an eco-friendly period is easier than ever – with cloth pads, period underwear and cups coming in tons of variations for every body and every flow. 

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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