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26th Feb 2024

‘I tried three different sustainable menstrual products – here’s what I think’

Anna Martin

'I tried three different sustainable menstrual products - this is what I think'

Periods. They produce a lot of inconvenience and waste

In fact, plastic menstrual products generate more than 200,000 tons of waste per year. 

On top of this, a lot of menstrual hygiene products are made up of plastic and are non-biodegradable, taking approximately 500 to 800 years to decompose.

So, if you’re looking to reduce the impact your period has on the environment, there a products out there that you can make the switch to.

I decided to give three a try myself and here are my honest opinions.

Period underwear

'I tried three different sustainable menstrual products - this is what I think'
Credit: Penneys

Anyone who menstruates has ruined a pair of good pair of underwear so this just felt like a way to cheat the system.

The main difference between these knickers and your everyday ones is they have a highly absorbent material in the crotch area to collect the blood without leaks – in theory anyway.

I picked up a pack in Penneys and decided to put them to the test starting off easy.

My period started late in the evening and as usual, it was the calm before the storm, so I felt safe ditching a night-time pad in favour of my new pants.

I woke up the next morning with no leaks and no uncomfortable dampness like I thought there would be so it was time for phase two.

Now my mistake was wearing the light flow pair and trusting that it was still early days, the real trouble was miles off.

Honestly, a heavy flow pair probably would have been fine and thankfully I was at home and able to change but the comfort factor makes up for it.

Menstrual cup

'I tried three different sustainable menstrual products - this is what I think'
Credit: Getty

This one was the most intimidating of the three as when compared to traditional pads and tampons, this thing was in a league of its own.

Honestly, the choices were overwhelming so I decided to just go for the one I’ve heard the most about, the Diva Cup.

After boiling it to sanitise before the first use it was time to try it out and let me tell you, this one’s a learning curve.

It took a few attempts to get it in a position where I both couldn’t feel it and it wouldn’t hurt so maybe don’t try this for the first time if you’re in a hurry.

The surprising thing is, once it was in the right place I barely remembered it was there, and taking it out wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I had to use my thumb and index finger to reach inside and pinch the base, which breaks the seal, to remove the cup which was messy but I hopped straight to the shower and was grand.

Reusable tampon applicator

'I tried three different sustainable menstrual products - this is what I think'
Credit: Lil-lets

This one was probably the one I’d heard about the least before trying which made me the most intrigued.

The Lil-lets applicator looked like one of the disposable ones we’re used to seeing in their bright shades of plastic except slightly bigger and it comes with a lid.

To use it, you just put an applicator-less tampon in and insert it in the usual fashion.

Whilst I would say that it did feel initially a bit uncomfortable, I did get used to its design fairly quickly and any initial discomfort disappeared.

As with all things, it takes a little practice at first but quickly becomes second nature.

If you want to add a few extra green points, use organic tampons.