We're eco-friendly from our organic shampoo right down to our vegan sneakers. But when that time of the month rolls around, we unwittingly become planet crushing nightmares. In North America alone, women add 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons — plus all that packaging — to landfills every year. They may be called "sanitary pads", but there's nothing sanitary about the thought of used, chemical-laced feminine hygiene products polluting our planet. As if getting our periods wasn't punishment enough, now we have to live with the thought that the impact from our monthly visitor lasts a whole lot longer than a month.
So how far should we go to keep our periods from negatively impacting our planet? One simple switch: opt for organic cotton pads and tampons that aren't bleached with chlorine. Seventh Generation has an eco-friendly line of pads and tampons that are chlorine free. That means they're safer for our bodies and for our planet. Think about it: if toxic chemicals are so harmful to our soil, what good could they possibly be doing to our most delicate body parts?
Take it one step further: eliminate as much waste as possible. I have yet to see a public restroom that has sorted recycling for tampon applicators, pad pouches, and paper strips; we're lucky if we even get a brown paper bag to stash our sanitary trash. So go applicator-free with tampons like O.B. It can get a little messy, but we're washing our hands anyway, so why not skip all that excess waste and get right to the point? It's easy to get over the ick factor when we picture the alternative: wastebaskets, and then landfills, overflowing with used applicators. Gross!
Finally, take the ultimate step – if you dare. Switch to a Diva Cup ($33). The silicone cups are reusable for up to 10 years, create no waste, and are making eco-friendly converts left and right. Sure, they're tough to market (no ad exec is going to jump for joy over the idea of showing us emptying our Diva Cups), but just because you haven't seen commercials doesn't mean there aren't plenty of women out there who will never go back to bulky pads and ineffective tampons. Investing in a Diva Cup is investing in our future. We save $400 a year in feminine hygiene expenses (that's enough to take a trip, donate to a green organization or use an I'm Not a Plastic Bag!) and countless dollars in waste disposal.
Just as we've switched from sipping wasteful bottled water to carrying a re-fillable Nalgene, isn't it time to take a better-for-us better-for-the-earth stand when it comes to our cycles? What better way to show we're pro-planet than by putting our bodies on the line for it?
We're all for it, but we see how concepts like the Diva Cup and the absence of mess-free applicators would make any gal a little uncomfortable. So we want to hear your thoughts: how green would you go when it comes to your feminine hygiene choices?