20 Billion Reasons to Give Up Tampons & Pads -- and What to Try Instead!

tampons and pads

Dread that time of the month? Well, here's some news for you: Mother Earth's not too crazy about it either.

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Not because your usual tampons or pads don't get the job done, but because they're bad for the planet. As in REALLY bad.

Every woman menstruates about 2,470 days in her lifetime -- which adds up to about 7 years. (Thank God it's not 7 years straight.) According to Rochester Institute of Technology, that means nearly 20 BILLION tampons and pads end up in North American landfills every year.

And did you know that one pad contains as much plastic as FOUR plastic bags? And that tampon applicators -- don't get us wrong, best invention ever -- take CENTURIES to biodegrade?

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In recognition of Earth Day 2016, eco-conscious feminine care brand Intimina's launched an online Menstrual Waste Calculator so you can figure out just how many of those 20 billion are thanks to you.

Then, when you're done feeling guilty, it's time to look at what your alternatives are to all those tampons and pads under your bathroom sink:

Menstrual cups: Insert this little flexible cup you-know-where and it collects blood, rather than absorb it. When you're ready, simply empty and rinse it, and you're good to go again. The Lily Cup gives you up to 10 hours of protection, and you can safely sleep with it in. Plus, it lasts for YEARS, so think of the bank you'll save -- not to mention the land waste.

Period panties: Seriously, what could be easier -- we didn't say sexy or cool! -- than period underwear? Every pair of THINX is moisture-wicking, absorbent enough to hold two tampons' worth of fluid, leak-resistant, and anti-microbial. Plus, users swear that it doesn't feel like you're wearing diapers OR like you're, uh, sitting in blood all day. And there are six styles, including a thong.

Sponges: Using a sustainably harvested sea sponge may sound like something out of Portlandia, but they make sense, damn it. Sponges are super-soft, all-natural, safe, and already feel like the inside of your vagina. Wet, carefully insert, then when it's full, simply pull out and disinfect with boiling water and tea tree oil. Did we mention they're compostable?

Reusable cloth pads: Want to do your womanly part to help the planet but don't feel quite ready to try any of the above? Take a baby step in the right direction and buy cloth pads. They don't have the chemical gunk single-use pads have, they're easy to machine wash, and although you'll pay more up front, each pad will last you YEARS.

 

Image via olvius/Shutterstock

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