Sustainable Step – Menstruation

The Sustainable Steps series provides quick and easy tips about how to make more sustainable choices in your everyday life.


Periods can create a lot of waste. Pads and tampons are single use items and each one is wrapped in plastic packaging. Over a woman’s lifetime that adds up to a lot of waste. 

Menstruation is not something that people generally talk about, so it is not surprising that many women aren’t aware of the other options that are available to manage their periods. 

Menstrual cups are gaining popularity as a zero waste alternative to the more common pads and tampons. Menstrual cups are made of flexible medical grade silicone and are used in much the same way as a tampon. They are inserted into the vagina where they collect blood and then are removed. They can be cleaned and sterilized and used over and over again.

Another alternative is what is commonly known as period underwear. Period underwear is made with moisture wicking and super absorbent materials and depending on your flow can replace the need for single use pads and tampons.

Perhaps it’s time to consider what other options are available and whether they might be right for you.