8 Sustainable Swaps for a Zero Waste Period

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliated; we may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. We only ever add brands & products we truly believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands who are making the world a better place!

how to have a zero waste period

The ability to wear white pants with mindless ease, complete control over emotional fluctuations, and unbridled physical comfort are just a few of the sacrifices women are prepared to make a week out of each month. Our commitment to sustainability is not one of them.

In conventional period care the option to be eco-conscious has not always been available, so it’s no wonder that most of us end up just going with the flow. Unfortunately, from manufacturing to end of life, traditional pads and tampons come at too great of an environmental cost to ignore.

Thanks to the brilliant brands behind the market’s most eco-friendly period products,

maintaining a zero-waste lifestyle even on our periods is no longer out of reach. With modern design and innovative materials, we find a future that sheds us of our dependency on daily disposables. These products also promote an approach to period care that emphasizes wellness and livability.

To say it simply, this is not your mother’s period.


Typically made with non-organic cotton and single-use plastic, the manufacturing of these products require an energy and water intensive process. A single pad can be made of up to 90% plastic and tampon applicators are made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The most harmful part of traditional period care comes after use. Designed to be disposable, a staggering amount of pads and tampons are discarded each year, and either sit for centuries in a landfill expelling chemicals or find their way into our sewer systems, contributing to the rising problem of plastics in our oceans. On top of that, pads and tampons come individually wrapped adding to the overuse of plastic packaging.


是时候停止循环和欢迎的时代a zero-waste period! Limiting our dependency on conventional cotton and single-use plastics are always going to be a win when it comes to caring for the environment in our purchases. Finding a product that lasts and doesn’t cause overcrowding in our landfills or harm to our oceans takes our efforts to the next level. Menstrual cups, reusable pads, and reusable period underwear are all accessible sustainable swaps that eliminate the need to constantly throw away and rebuy. These products are not only designed to fit your body comfortably, but also your lifestyle, with no-leak protection no matter how you move throughout the day and without having to have harsh chemicals near your most sensitive parts.

Better for your budget, body, and planet. PERIOD.


1)The EarthHero Collection

The eco-friendly online marketplace earns their name as planetary protectors with a variety of sustainable menstrual products. A standout on the site are theSaalt Silicone Menstrual Cups. Made from 100% medical-grade silicon, these menstrual cups are completely chemical-free and not only offer 12 hours of protection, but an easy-to-use alternative to single use pads and tampons that will last you years. A follow-up favorite from EarthHero are theSmarliners Organic Reusable Pads and Liners. TheseGOTS certifiedproducts are made from organic cotton without the use of any plastic or toxic adhesives commonly found in their disposable counterparts. Just use, launder, and reuse!

Not ready to go reusable, but still want to make a change? Check out theirTampon Tribe Organic Cotton Tampons, Pads, and Liners. EarthHero understands that when it comes to period care, it’s not always a one product fits all formula, and while these are disposable they make great strides in reducing their carbon footprint by using only organic cotton free from harmful chemicals. Tampon Tribe, a female-owned business, is also dedicated to giving back with their initiative that donates a pack to those in need for every pack sold.

2)The Cora Diskby Cora

Achieving high marks in both their environmental and social actions, CORA is a certified B-Corp company that spotted the need for women around the world to feel empowered by having a safe and sustainable period. The Cora Disc is equipped for your heavy or light days and can hold the equivalent of 5-7 regular tampons. Made to fit most bodies with their easy insertion/removal design, this reusable menstrual disc is meant to last up to 10 years.

Emphasizing convenience and care, the ultra-soft silicon disc also self-empties when you use the bathroom without you having to remove the product.

The “barely there” feeling allows you to wear your disc comfortably during sex, exercising, swimming, or however you move throughout your day.

3)The Lily Cupby Intimina

As one of the smallest reusable menstrual cups on the market, the Lily Cup is said to be the perfect starter for those who are new to the reusable cup game or have a higher cervix. Intimina, a Swedish brand who provide a range of feminine hygiene products, created the Lily Cup to roll as thin as a tampon for simple insertion. With up to 8 hours of protection, this sustainable period solution provides all day comfortable coverage with a no spill rim and easy to remove stem.

The Lily Cup is made from 100% medical grade silicone and comes in two sizes dependent on your flow and pelvic floor strength.

4)Organic Cotton Reusable Padsby Rael

Reusable and washable period pads are the perfect replacement for your daily disposables. Have a waste-free period with a product that is not only plastic-free and made from organic cotton, but can also be used up to 120 times. With reliable leak protection provided by their 5 layers of absorbent organic cotton, users experience the breathable comfort of a chemical free period product. The Rael reusable pads come in petite, regular, large, and overnight sizes to fit your needs, and their wrap wings with fastened snaps secure the pad in place for additional security.

5)Period Underwearfrom Thinx

Although they already top nearly every “best of” list (includingour own!)THINX时期内衣还是的好处ars repeating. Available in a variety of styles and absorbency levels, THINX products provide a zero-waste alternative to pads and tampons with their multiple absorbent layers of fabric that can be washed and reused. OEKO-TEX certified materials make up a pair of THINX underwear that are comfortable, absorbent, and washable. Initial fears about the feeling of wearing period underwear have been dispelled by a plethora of positive reviews from satisfied pad and tampon converts.

6)Reusable Tampon Applicatorfrom Dame

For lifelong tampon users, the switch to something else may seem like a daunting feat. Dame is here to support your sustainable journey whenever you are in it, and provide the best options along the way. The reusable tampon applicator allows you to enjoy the comfort and convenience of a tampon applicator without the plastic waste. Built for every size tampon and with self-sanitizing technology, this reusable alternative can be used up to 12,000 times, saving that many single-use applicators from potentially ending up in our oceans. A safe swap that you need only rinse, dry, and go.

Consider pairing with Dame’sOrganic Cotton Tamponsfor the complete eco-option.

7)Lena Cup

Made in the USA, the Lena Cup is another reusable silicone menstrual cup on the market receiving high praise. With the traditional bell shape, this cup is designed to sit comfortably to collect your flow. The product comes in two sizes - small or large - and also has an option for those with sensitive anatomies.

Trusted as a quality cup for first time users, 90% of Lena customers never go back to pad or tampons. Intended for the active, wear your Luna Cup all day and even overnight with stress-free leak protection up to 12 hours. Each Lena Cup also comes with its own cotton storage bag for secure and easy transport.

8)Disposable Bagsfrom FabLittleBag

Big changes don’t happen overnight, and we recognize that habits are hard to break especially when it’s something as personal as period care. Even if reusable products aren’t right for you, there are still movements to be made in protecting the planet against the problems caused by pads and tampons. FabLittleBag exists to protect rivers, oceans and beaches from the pollution caused by flushed period products by providing sustainably sourced sanitary disposal bags. Instead of flushing your pads or tampons, discard your used products in a safe and discreet way.

FabLittleBags are made of plants, recycled plastics, and vegan glue, and remind us that even the little efforts make a big difference!

About the Author

Julia Grinberg is a writer based in Philadelphia, PA. She is a blog contributor for the vegan shoe brand Sylven New York, and the upcycled leather accessories brand Hyer Goods. When she is not writing on the topic of sustainable fashion, she is crafting short stories for various outlets and is currently working on a collection of creative nonfiction essays.



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