3 Natural Period Products // Low Waste Alternatives

A period is a pretty natural thing, if not one of the most natural things that happen to us and it is a thing a lot of people go through. What is not natural and a massive waste is the period products, like disposable tampons and pads that are the most commonly used. These products that are so commonly used are so hurtful not only to the environment because of the massive waste of plastic and materials but also to the user because, if not bought organically, the company does not by law have to state what kinds of toxins and ingredients that are in their products.

These most common used period products are:
  • filled with and packaged in plastic (in 1 disposable pad there is as much plastic as in 4 plastic bags!!)
  • disposable, can only be used once
  • filled with chemicals and toxins
  • a waste of money
  • hurtful to the environment

I was so tired of this sight: 

So, what are the alternatives?
There are actually a few more products to use for a natural period than I initially though before diving into the research. The first alternative I ever heard of, which is probably the most used alternative, is the menstrual cup. I was so tired of pads and I did not feel comfortable with tampons because of how toxic they were so I decided to find cup online and order it. What was the worst that could happen? 

The menstrual cup:
I bought the OrganiCup in the size A (because I have not given birth) and at my first period since buying the cup I was excited and a bit nervous. Could I make it work? And I think I was so worried about not making it work that my body tensed up and month after month I had no luck with inserting it. Because of the many failed attempts I threw the cup into my closet and forgot all about it. Well, not exactly, because month after month, period after period I would think of my cup some place in my closet laughing at me because I was not able to figure it out. One day, I had had enough of the laughter inside my head and I said to myself, no way am I just giving up. 

So I started slowly by figuring out what worked for me (in the shower):
  • The position that made it the easiest for me to insert: standing up with the knees slightly bent
  • The fold of the cup that made it the easiest for me to insert: folding it in half
  • The length of the bottom that made it the most comfortable when inserted: cut in half
  • The position that made it the easiest for me to take it out: sitting on the toilet 

Other tips that helped with the insertion:
  • Making sure to relax my jaw as it is connected to the lower body. Tense jaw equals a tense vagina.
  • Use the other hand that does not insert the cup to lightly spread the outer labia.
  • Take a deep breath and insert the cup on the exhale.
  • The cup should not be 'shoved up' as high as a tampon. It should just go inside the vaginal canal.
  • When inserted the cup should have an oval or round shape for it to be inserted correctly.
  • For the cup to be inserted correctly pull the cup slightly by the bottom; if there is some resistance it means that there has been created a vacuum. 

The menstrual cup can be changed every 8-12 hours. On my heavy day I only have to change the cup once in those 8-12 hours whereas on all the other days I can wait up to 10-12 hours to change it. This means that I insert it in the morning before going out, I can wait to empty it when I get home.

When it needs to be emptied, I sit on the toilet, slowly move it out by pinching the bottom of the cup and start wiggling it out. Then I empty the blood into the toilet, wash the cup under water (I do not use soap) and then it is ready to be inserted again. Am I a place where it is not possible to wash the cup (which I have yet to try), just empty the cup as you would and dry it off with some toilet paper and then insert it again.

When my period has ended I boil the cup in a small pot (only used for this purpose) for about 5-7 minutes, let it dry and it is ready for the next month. 

I have worn the cup for a couple of periods now and I have yet to experience any leakage but I do think that the time I took off my period in the shower to figure it out helped a lot with getting better at using it so I would highly recommend that.

The cup can last up to 10, if not more, years! So this is definitely worth the money in the long run, not that I think the cup is super expensive.

There are a few options:
and more with a quick search on the internet.

Reusable pads:
I did not know of reusable pads until recently and I was so intrigued that I ordered a pack of three to try. Because I do not use the cup at night (yet) I love the option to just pop a pad on to my underwear without waste and I am good to go. These pads come in many different sizes and shapes - I got mine from a Danish site. But they are to find on Amazon or through a quick internet search. I have also heard great things about the Hannah Pad

How to use the pads:
Before using them, give them a quick wash in the machine - the instructions for my pads said to wash them at 40 degrees C and then hang them out to dry. So that's what I did. Follow the instructions for your pads. 

Then when it was time to use them I just pop one on to my underwear and then that is it. Because I only use them at night I do not need as many as you would if you only want to wear them throughout your period. When I have worn a pair I rinse them under cold running water and place them in a small tub of (also cold) water for a few hours. Then I squeeze out the water and hang them to dry.

I use the pads two times throughout my period before washing all of them in the machine (with some of my clothing - and they did not get stained or smell of blood) at the end after my period has ended. Let them dry and they are ready for the next period.

If you are on the go and you use the pads have a bag with you with some pads you can change with but also have a bag for pads that has been used. Then when you get home you can put them in some water and rinse them afterwards.

Because it is blood and the fabrics of my pads are so light the pads will be stained slightly although completely clean.

These are very light pads so I would say that I can wear them during a whole night (where I don't bleed so much) or for a few hours (maybe only one) during a heavy day, I do not use them on heavy days because I have the cup. And almost a full day on a very light day. 

If the reusable pads are something for you then I suggest at your next period to track how many pads you use and how strong they are so you know roughly what you need to go for and how many you need.

Thinx Underwear:
Which is such a cool invention if you are more into pads than tampons because they are underwear and a pad in one. How freaking cool? These I have yet to try but I wanted to mention them because I have heard that they are worth it. I mean, think about it, when you are about to go on your period you just use your thinx underwear and then when the blood starts flowing there are no worries because you are already wearing the 'pads'.

These I haven't tried but I would love to because it would be so easy to just wear them during the nights of my period. There are many different shapes and all of them have 4 layers of protection to make sure you stay dry and leak free during your period. You can read more about how they work right here.

How many you need and how much time you can wear them for depends on what shape you get and how much you bleed. Every shape of underwear states how much they can hold in terms of tampons and if they are for light or heavy days.

After use, you rinse them under cold water, cold wash them on laundry day or just when your period has ended and hang them up to dry. Then they are as good as new and ready for your next period.

The benefits of these alternatives:
These are the alternatives I know of, have looked into and tried (except for the underwear). I am so happy that my period finally aligns with my values of minimizing my waste and the plastic I put into the world- which I would like to be none. A period with reusable products is definitely a great step on the way to a waste free and sustainable world because

All of these (amazing) alternatives are:
  • They are all easy to use. Once you get the hang of the cup it will be even easier than tampons.
  • Less expensive because you do not need to constantly buy new products. 
  • Better for the environment as they are not disposable. 
  • Better for your body as they do not contain toxic ingredients, GMO or pesticides.
  • Reusable. 
  • Last a long time, if some of them not forever. 

Of course every new products takes a bit of time to get used to but these products are definitely worth checking out as they have so many benefits! Thank you so much for reading, if you have any questions then please leave them down below and I will give you my best answer!