5 Sustainable Period Products to Try This Year

In honor of Earth Day, I want to share my favorite sustainable period products that are better for our precious planet, our bank accounts, AND our bodies.

Experts say the average menstruating woman uses 16,800 pads and tampons throughout their lifetime. This is not cheap or great for the planet! Check out this Huffington Post article that sums up exactly how much a period costs over a lifetime (just over $18,000!) factoring in costs of birth control, hygiene products, Midol, etc.). Also, the millions of pads and tampons end up in our landfills and oceans along with their wrappers, applicators, and packaging.

So, what are the alternatives to handling the inevitable period? Here are some of my favorites:

menstrual cups

Menstrual cups have been around since the 1930s but seem to be gaining popularity right about now. If you’ve never heard of or seen one, they are small, bendy cups generally made of silicone and are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual fluid.

I’ll admit, the learning curve for using one was steep for me (I cried after the first trial because I couldn’t get it out!). But, after two cycles, I was able to insert and remove the cup with no problems! I love that I can keep it inserted for up to 12 hours (without worrying about toxic shock syndrome), which makes traveling on my period so much easier.

I paid $29.99 for my cup (a fair price for a product that will last me years) and only had to recycle a small cardboard box along with the little instruction pamphlet. Even before my first use, I was patting myself on the back for reducing my waste.

They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and levels of firmness. I love the DivaCup, but there are tons of popular brands including the Lunette, Moon Cup, and Lena Cup. The options are seriously overwhelming and I recommend using this quiz to help you find the best one for you!

period underwear

I know this might sound gross or weird, but period panties are THE BEST. Although I use a DivaCup, sometimes leakage occurs. With the highly-engineered period panties, I don’t have to worry about wearing what feels like a diaper or staining my favorite pants. They are comfortable, cute, and seriously work. Different brands have a wide variety of styles, absorbency levels, colors, and prices. Of course, these are a bigger investment than cotton undies from your drug store, but they can fully replace the need for pads and pantyliners and save you from ruining your cute cheeky panties.

Some awesome options are Thinx (with this link, we both get $10 credit!), Dear Kate, and Harebrained (fun and quirky designs).

Honest, these two products are the only thing I use these days, but I have a few other recommendations if these don't strike your fancy.

menstrual discs

I have yet to try these, but they intrigue me. They are flexible discs that rest just below the cervix to catch your flow. They are disposable, but can be worn for up to 12 hours without TSS risk. This sure beats changing (and throwing away) a pad or tampon every 2-4 hours. I’ve heard they can even be worn during sex and they can reduce cramps. Whattttt.

The two most common brands are Flex and SoftDisc.

reusable pads

Cloth pads are another product I have never used but am curious about. After a bit of research, I found that they are affordable and come in cute designs and a variety of sizes. Like menstrual cups, they have been around since the 1930s – so why aren’t they more popular?

My opinion is that we have been told over and over that periods are inconvenient and gross, which encourages us to reach for disposable, convenient products. There is less money to be made in sustainable options like washable pads and pantyliners and the big corporations make us believe we need the fresh, white pads instead.

The reality is that the menstrual cycle is not dirty or something to be afraid of. Yes, it can be messy at times but that is what washing machines are made for. Plus, many pads and pantyliners are full of chemicals and adhesives and other things our vaginas do not need. I am thinking of ordering some washable pads myself and giving them a shot. The top brands I found are GladRags, Lunapads, and Sckoon Organic Pads.

organic pads and tampons

If you’re still feeling that regular pads and/or tampons are your best friends, I highly suggest switching over to organic brands (Seventh Generation and This is L. sold at Target are popular and affordable). Although these still need to be thrown away, the fact that they are organic means their materials were not sprayed with pesticides. Yup, most of the cotton used to make period products is sprayed with pesticides, which then come in contact with the vagina, the most absorbent part of a woman’s body. By choosing organic, you’re avoiding these harmful chemicals and giving Mother Earth a small break from them, too.

If you’re into subscription boxes and treating yourself , there are several companies that will deliver organic pads and tampons straight to your door. Ellebox, Lola, and Cora come first to my mind!

I always carry a few of these in my purse or while traveling just in case a friend is in need or I encounter some sudden emergency situation.


Transitioning to more sustainable products can take a long time. They are more expensive up front and require adjustments with your routine and your body. But each step forward gets us a bit closer to a healthier planet and happier period.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you tried any of these products? Or any that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below!

With love,

Jenna Bee

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission if you make a purchase through those links. Please note that I choose to be brand ambassadors for companies that I personally use and wholeheartedly believe in.

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Hi, I'm happy you're here!

I'm Jenna - a nutritionist, cookbook author, recipe creator, kitchen manager for a preschool, gardener, book worm, and animal lover.

I believe the true path to feeling well is less about bio-hacks and more about basic everyday elements.

Welcome to my corner of the internet.

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