Sustainable switches for a more eco-friendly period

Tasha Heath, BLUEPRINT Circular Economy Officer 14th April 2022

Reduce the waste your period makes by switching to reusable period products. Globally 45 billion menstrual products are disposed of every year. Most of these products contain up to 90% plastic and take over 500 years to break down in landfill, producing harmful CO2 emissions.  

Not only are disposable period products bad for the environment, but they can also be very costly! Did you know people spend an average of £18,450 on disposable period products during their lifetime?  

Here are a few ideas to get you started on your journey to having a more sustainable period: 

Period pants 

Reusable, sustainable and leakproof, this underwear has a built-in pad and can be worn on its own or alongside other products. They come in a variety of sizes, colours, styles and are suitable for all different flows. Heavy flow pants can hold up to 60ml — the equivalent of 12 regular tampons — meaning they’re perfect to wear all day or night without changing! To wash, simply rinse in cold water and then pop them in your washing machine on a 30 degree cycle without softener. Hang to dry and they’re ready to use again. 

reusable period products
With lots of options, find what works for you.

Sanitary pads and liners 

Much like pants, you can get reusable sanitary pads and liners in many different shapes and sizes to fit your body type and flow! Reusable pads are easy to use as they attach to your underwear just like disposable pads. They are generally made from layers of cloth or flannelled material, making them super absorbent and gentle on your skin. Washing them is the same as period pants; rinse in cold water and pop in a 30 degree.  

Menstrual cups 

Made from silicone or rubber, these small cups are folded then inserted like a tampon. They come in different sizes to fit your body and, just like the other reusables, they can hold much more liquid than disposables. Cups can be worn safely for up to eight hours at a time as they hold over 28ml. To clean, just rinse before reinserting then sterilise in boiling water for 5 minutes at the end of your period ready for the next one.  

For more tips on using menstrual cups, check out a range of helpful videos on YouTube

Period cup
Find a cup to complement your body.

Reusable applicators 

1.3 million applicators are thrown away every day in the UK! If you still want to use tampons you can save on waste by using reusable applicators. You can use them with all different sized tampons. Simply rinse and wipe to use again and again!  

Organic pads & tampons

Organic pads and tampons are made from cotton or bamboo fibres which break down significantly quicker than those that contain plastic. Some can even be composted! 100% cotton tampons biodegrade in soil unlike synthetic tampons that contribute to the waste in our landfills and waters.  

Every little swap makes a massive difference. Even if you switch to reusables for one day per cycle, you can reduce the number of products and plastic packaging going to landfill. Decrease your carbon footprint by choosing products that don’t contain plastic.   

You can read more about the BLUEPRINT reusable period product initiative on our campaigns page, and be sure to check out our free reuse and repair webinar for more sustainable tips and trips. 

Reusable pads
Wash then reuse.