De-plasticizing my life: switching to re-usable menstrual products

Some of you might remember my posts about plastic in the ocean and your closet and my quest to decrease my plastic consumption for my health and the environment, or as I am calling it, de-plasticizing my life.

One of my first steps was starting to buy more natural fiber clothing and reduce the amount of polyester in my wardrobe. So far, its going pretty well. In the time since my post, I’ve got a wool/cashmere blend sweater, a couple of 100% cotton tops, a cotton/linen top and a linen-blend dress. All of these except the dress were from thrift stores. Cheap + used = Awesome! I also got some tin lunchboxes to replace my plastic ones.

So, while I will continue to work on reducing polyester clothing ever so slowly, what else can I do? Looking around at the waste bins in my house, I realized a big amount of waste comes from the bathroom. It kind of explodes every month. Men, look away if talk of menstrual products makes you uncomfortable. That’s right. My next culprit in my de-plasticizing quest is disposable menstrual products.

I have always found disposables, both pads and tampons, incredibly irritating and I hate using them every month. Once I started to feel guilty every time I threw one away and found out about all the chemicals in these products, I decided it was time to change to re-usable menstrual products: cloth pads and menstrual cups. I also got some re-usable cloth face wipes to use instead of disposable cotton balls.

Re-usable cotton cloth facial pads from New Moon Pads. Love all the cute patterns and they are super-soft.

I started out trying two cloth pads from New Moon Pads and I have to tell you – I LOVE them! I will never go back and I quickly bought more. Here’s why:

  • They reduce waste and its good for the environment. Disposable menstrual products are wasteful and 1 woman can contribute 16,800 pads/tampons to a landfill in a lifetime.
  • Its healthier. Disposables are super absorbent which means they also absorb all the good moisture, too. Disposables also contain toxic chemicals, such as dioxin (a carcinogen) and questionable ingredients like “fragrance.”
  • Cloth pads are extremely soft, durable, absorbent and COMFORTABLE. No sticky glue, no chafing and no weird fragrances. They are usually made of soft fabrics like cotton, bamboo or flannel. Plus, they come in lots of cute colours and patterns.
  • They are durable. Cloth pads and menstrual cups can last up to 10 years.
  • Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours. That’s 12 hours of not changing anything or throwing anything away. Yep, that even means they can even be worn overnight, TSS risk-free. Its quite a freeing feeling and really great if you’re lazy.
  • Re-usable products save money in the long-run. It is a high upfront cost (about $12-15 per pad or $40 for a cup), but when compared to buying disposables over a year or a lifetime, re-usables come out ahead. According to Lunapads, over 5 years of use, you could save $200 by switching. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can even make cloth pads yourself.
  • If you care about animals like I do, by buying re-usable products, you will not be supporting cruel animal-testing with your dollar that brands like Always, Stayfree and Carefresh conduct.
New Moon Cloth pads (sizes: 3 ‘Moon Light’ on the left and 2 ‘New Moon’on the right) and top:  the Lunette cup. My favourite? The cats, of course.

For more information regarding the dangers in disposable menstrual products and other feminine care products, please read this excellent and well-researched article: A Question for Women’s Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants.

Lunette cup: a little strange at first, but awesome after practice! It comes with a cute little pouch.

Honestly, I wish I’d tried these years ago! I found these cloth pads to be WAY more absorbent than regular disposables and I was overall very impressed. A couple of years ago, I bought a Lunette cup, tried it with little success and never touched it again. I finally got to around using it again. Its really amazing once you get the hang of it. And no, if its in properly, you cannot feel it. I even went on a bike ride my second full trial day using it and it was totally fine.

If you are unsure, I recommend just getting one or two cloth pads and trying it out. See how it goes. I think you, too, will find it much more comfortable and may become a convert like me! Many women find their periods are lighter and less painful when they switch to re-usable products. Yes, I had my doubts about that but I can honestly say I noticed a difference since switching to re-usables: my period was lighter, shorter and less painful. 

This youtube channel has amazing information about basically any and every question you might have about cups and cloth pads. There are videos on how to wash cloth pads, choosing a brand, how to stow them around in your bag, how they compare to disposables as well as lots of information about cups. If you decide to make the change, I highly recommend you check out her channel.

There is tons of information on the internet about these products, just do a google search! Here is an excellent review of New Moon Pads if you are interested in them. Next, I will be trying some from Tree Hugger.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments as well, I’m happy to answer about my own experiences. Do you use re-usable menstrual products? Have you heard of them before? Let me know.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of the products discussed here and have not been given any discount or free trial items for mentioning them here. This is 100% purely my own satisfaction shining through!

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