Having a zero waste period can seem pretty daunting at the beginning. I had a lot of questions before I started, like “Will it be as comfortable as using tampons?” and “Do these products really work?”
Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve now transitioned over to a fully zero waste period! In this article I’ll be spilling all the beans about the products I use and how I care for them, giving you my tips, and just sharing what it’s really like using re-usable menstrual products instead of single-use.
There’s a video to watch, or if you prefer you can read the blog post below. Let’s go ahead and jump into it!
Watch the video
Why go zero waste with your period?
First things first, let’s talk about why you might want to go zero waste with your period products.
Reason number one: it’s more environmentally friendly. A lot of single-use period products are complicated to recycle after they are used because they are contaminated. So a lot of them end up in landfills where they can take a long time to decompose.
These days, there are some more eco-friendly and biodegradable single-use products out there. But at the end of the day, using re-usable products that don’t need to be thrown away is the most earth-friendly option.
Reason number two: it’s better for you. A lot of single-use menstrual products like tampons and pads contain chemicals like bleach so that the cotton is white, and these toxins can get released into your body and have negative effects.
Again, there are some better single-use products out there like organic and all-natural options. All of the re-usable products I’m going to show you today are safe to use which personally really puts my mind at ease.
Reason number three: it saves money. Period products are expensive! When I think back to how much I was spending on tampons every month, it’s definitely a lot more than I’ve spent in total on the zero waste products I now use.
And now I don’t need to spend any more money! So even though some of the products are a bit more of an investment upfront, over time they will definitely be more budget-friendly.
My zero waste period routine
With that out of the way, now let’s take a look at the products I use.
Quick note, I became a partner with a few of these brands after using and loving their products, and some of the links below are affiliate links. You can learn more about how I work with brands in my disclaimer. Thank you for your support!
First is a menstrual cup. The one I use is from OrganiCup and I’ve been using it for about two years. At the time when I purchased they had two sizes, one for women who haven’t given birth and one for women who have, and I have the first one. This retails for $28 USD on their website, so it’s really not too expensive.
I’m not going to lie, using one of these does take some getting used to. Once I got the hang of it, I found it works great and I actually now prefer it to using tampons. I’m not going to sugar coat it – it can be a little messy, and you are going to get real up close and personal with your period! So you definitely want to make sure you’re close to a sink when you change it if possible. If not, using a bit of tissue paper works fine until you can wash your hands.
If I’m being fully honest, that was kind of the one drawback I’ve experienced with it: having to change it in a bathroom stall when I was at work was really awkward, but you kind of just figure out how to do it. It also came with a little drawstring bag so it’s really easy to store it when I’m not using it or just throw it in my bag and go.
To keep it clean, while I’m using it I rinse it in cold water every time I change it. Then when my cycle’s over, I boil it in water for 10 minutes to sanitize it. So it’s really easy to care for and so far it’s lasted me such a long time, and I don’t think I’m anywhere near needing a new one!
Next, I have some re-usable pads. These ones are from Hannah Pad which is a Canadian company (hooray!) I purchased the starter set which came with two larger overnight pads, three regular sized ones, and two small ones.
The small ones I use either at the very start or end of my period when my flow is really light. The regular sized ones I use in combination with my cup on heavier days. Then the large ones I wear while I sleep. I sometimes sleep with menstrual cup on heavier days, but it can get a little uncomfortable if I’m wearing it constantly several days in a row, so after the first one or two days I’ll take a break and just wear these overnight, and they work really well.
They have a clasp which you can use to secure them to your panties and the smaller ones also have some rubber on the back so that they won’t slide around. I honestly so prefer using these to disposable pads. These are way softer, they feel much more leakproof, and I’m so much more comfortable especially at night wearing these. I can wear them all day and even do my workout and they don’t get uncomfortable at all. So while these were more expensive at $127.99 for the bundle, they were a really great investment!
Cleaning wise, these actually turned out a lot better than expected! I thought they would get all stained but as you can see in the video, the ones I’ve been using still look pretty much new. So what I do is after I use them, I soak them in cold water for a few hours or overnight if possible.
Then I use a stain remover bar on them. The one I use is from Soap Works and I got from our local Bulk Barn (you can also purchase them online here). It works really well – all I do is work this into the stains and then fold up the pad and let them sit for a while. Then I’ll rinse and repeat as needed until the stains have really loosened up. After that I throw the pads in the washing machine on the regular cycle with cold water, and they come out super clean!
To store them, I just have a glass jar I bought from the dollar store which I keep on a shelf In our bathroom. I also have a smaller jar which is where I keep my cup as well.
Finally, the last product I use is period panties. I got a set of three of these from Knix, another Canadian brand. But there are lots of options out there. These are just great for days when my flow is a little bit lighter; I can wear these with my cup and not worry about having any leaks, or even just on their own as they do hold quite a bit of liquid. They’re super comfortable and low-profile, and to clean them I just do the same thing: rinse and soak them in cold water before throwing them in the wash.
So that is it for my zero waste period routine! I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Also if you have any questions about having a zero waste period that I didn’t cover, leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer those for you.
Thanks for reading!