Welcome to a new age for this site, well not exactly a new age but i have been doing a lot of research into reproductive and sexual health producs and there’s going to be a lot of that stuff featured in weeks to come, so get ready to learn lots, I hope, and maybe find new ways to work with your body.

Today we’re all about trying to make your period more ethical, sustainable, and better for you. This blog post is going to be pretty long, with reaons why you should make the switch with your products, what you can switch to, and what brands are out there helping you make the switch. Ready?
So what’s wrong with traditional period products?
A lot, is the short answer, the long answer:

1. Plastic
A lot of big brand period products are full of plastic, not only are the packages and applicators for most pads and tampons plastic but they also have plastic in them. A single pad can have three plastic bags worth of plastic in. This means that they won’t biodegrade and end up contributing to the global environmental crisis that is plastic pollution.

2. They’re expensive
The exact numbers from different sources vary but people who have periods can end up spending tens of thousands of pounds on products for them over their lives. It doesn’t help that they’re taxed as a luxury but either way that’s a lot of money, and using different products could help you save in the long run.

3. They’re not good for you
Most big brand sanitary products and fragrances, and contain all sorts of chemicals, and you’re putting those chemicals inside, or against, the most absorbent part of your body. That doesn’t sound like the best idea to me. And if you’re like me you might have had reactions to products before, from mild irritation and itching ,to allergic reactions and quite a lot of pain. Plus there’s evidence to suggest that there could be more long term affects as well. Oh and legally all the chemicals they use do not have to be disclosed on the packaging so you don't even know what you're putting in your body! It's well known you shouldn’t wash your vagina with anything scented or bleached so why are you using scented  pads and bleached tampons for hours/days at a time?

So if you’re reading that thinking “yes I want to change something!” then you’re in luck, there’s a wide range of products out there that are not only better for the environment, but better for you too. I’ve started from most to least environmentally friendly alternative.

photo via anoncrafts

Menstrual Cup
Ok so this seems like a big and scary thing but hear me out! Menstral cups are probably the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way to deal with your periods. They’re a one off lifetime purchase, and you can use them again and again.All you have to do at the end of each period is sterilise it, either by boiling it or using sterilising fluid. That means not spending tens of thousands on disposables, not exposing your body to the chemicals in traditional products, and not putting more waste out into the world. They may be plastic but they’re plastic worth investing in long term.

Some people may be scared to try them, myself included, so it’s probably best to try them when you have one day of your period at home so you can practice taking it in and out and generally using it, and to make sure you have the right size. I’ve heard that they takes a bit of getting used to but the people that I know who have tried them are never looking back.

Mooncup is the most well known menstrual cup on the market but they're a good one! Ethically made, vegan, and a one time purchase that could save you a lot of money. Mooncup have two different sizes, depending on age and whether you've given birth, so you can find one that works for you and they're widely available both online and in stores. Stockists include mooncup themselves, Amazon, Feel Unique, Natures Health Box, Planet Organic, Ethical Superstore, Earthwise Girls, Body Kind and more! 

Ruby Cup
Another wonderful cup, with a get one give one campaign, each cup bought gives a cup to a girl across the world along with education on reproductive health. And they have a 120 day 100% money back guarantee so you can try their cup worry free, if it's not for you then that's ok! All of their cups are certified vegan, and they sell cleaners for them too. Their cups are made in China to European standards so you know they're high quality.

Diva Cup
The Diva Cup is probably the first menstrual cup I ever heard of, they've been making them for twenty years so are oldies in this business. They're designed and made in Canada and are cruelty free, plus they have partners helping to offer healthcare, empowerment, and education to women all over the world. They're available in a range of stockists, in the UK and across the world including Amazon, Ocado, Superdrug, and Biome.

Picture via Jackie Dives

Reusable pads
If a reusable cup seems like a terrifying idea because you’re not even into tampons, but you like the idea of not having to buy more products every month, then reusable pads might be for you. They do what it says on the tin really, they’re pads usually made in cotton that you can attach to your underwear, and once you’re done with them you just put them in the wash and they’re ready to use again. Plus it’s got none of the nasty chemicals that usual pads do.

Instead of your pads contributing to landfill they instead just keep getting reused. And though the idea of having pads with blood you need to wash off seems gross at first it’s definitely something you get used to.

Earthwise Girls
Earthwise girls do a big range of period products but their biggest range is their own reusable pads, with lots of colours and designs, including a range for teens. They even do a make your own kit so you can sew your own reusable pads! Each pack of their pads has a different incentive, their tye dye ones help to plant trees, and some give girls in Kenya their own reusable pads.  Not only are earthwise selling products designed to help the environment their ecological foodprint is made smaller by a whole range of other things in their business such a solar panels so they generate their own electricity, working with local schools and businesses to promote sustainability, and using plastic free packaging.

Lunapads have a big range of pads, made in Canada, they have everything from pad starter kits, thong pads, and panty liners. They work with local Canadian producers to make sustainable fabrics and are very transparent about how their products are made. Plus their One4Her campaign supports access to menstrual hygiene products for girls in Uganda. Oh and they also sell period undies and menstrual cups, indulging period boxers. Oh and their marketing shows lots of diverse real people. Love love it.

Raelbox has a rage of products. from reusable to one use pads, all made with organic cotton farmed in Texas. They're committed to being transparent, environmentally conscious, and do a monthly subscription box. They also do a range of fragrance free, pH balances feminine wash and a few different face masks too!

Minivivi are reusable pads handmade in the UK, with a range of pads all holding more blood than your average disposable pad! Their pads also come with half core so you can get less padding in and use as daily liner. Minivivi also have a range of pottyliners designed for potty training kids who have the occasional accident! You can't buy Minivivi on their own site but stockists include Earthwise GirlsOrganic Bliss,  and their own etsy store.

Glad Rags
Now Glad Rags sell both reusable pads and menstrual cups, they even do a starter kit which contains both (plus a handy little pouch)! They're a US company based in Portland Oregan with a B Corp certification since 2012. Also a women-owned business who are further committed to sustainability by using local bike delivery to receive finished goods from their sewing partners.

Proud Pads
The founder of Proud Pads started off designing sportswear, and has since used her knowledge to design pads that "fit better, perform better, and treat the environment better". For every five pads bought they donate one to a woman in  need in the UK, so that less women have to chose between buying food and buying menstruation products. They currently have a facebook group coined The Bloody Radicals, with people testing their pads and talking about periods (along with other women's issues). Proud Pads haven't actually launched yet but they're looking to launch some time this year, and if you want to help with that dream you can donate here.

Photo via Thinx
Period undies
For those who are worried about any risk of leakage from reusable pads I present to your their close cousin, the period undie. Like reusable pads they absorb your period and all you need to do is put them in the wash and they’re ready to go again, sort of like having the reusable pad built into the inside of your undies. Plus these come in all sorts of different style including thongs! The only downsize is if you have a long and heavy period you will have to invest in quite a few pairs, which isn’t the cheapest, but it’ll still save you money over a lifetime of disposables. And for those with light and intermittent bleeding, like me, these seem like the ideal option because you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable pads all day, and you also don’t have to worry about your undies getting ruined. Or you can wear them with something like a menstrual cup or tampons so you don't have to worry about leaks.

 Thinx are the biggest name in period undies, and have a very diverse collections, from thongs. to leotards, in sizes xxs to 3xl. Each of their sets of underwear can hold a different amount of blood which is clearly stated on their websites so you know exactly what to get for yourself! Their undies are made in a family run factory in Sri Lanka, and each pair helps to give back with their global period education programme. Plus they have versatile humans in their advertising and genderless marketing, all great things. They're not the cheapest option on the market but  they have a 60 day money back guarantee so you don't have to worry about wasting money on something that just doesn't work for you. Oh and they also do organic tampons (more on those below) with a reusable applicator.

Another company with a huge range, including a maternity range, girls range, and swimwear, these guys have been tried and tested and have pretty good reviews.  They're an Australian company with  underwear designed to be worn for periods or incontinence with no other backup, and with technology designed to keep you drier than other brands. A lot of their underwear are made from natural fibre, such as organic bamboo, so they're working at sustainability too.

PantyProp are period undies, made in the USA, they have a big range that are designed for both periods and incontinence, from undies to swimwear to even a men's range they've got it all going on! And they even do a first period kit you can buy for someone in your life having their first period which includes a whole range of products!

Dear Kate
Dear Kate have a range of period panties designed to be worn as a back up to your regular period routine, as an extra form of leak protection, but can also be worn on their own. Dear Kate want you to be able to feel sexy any time of the month, period included. They have a range of bras to match their period undies as well as a range of activewear and dancewear so you're protected from leaks and sweat! And a plus range that runs to 3xl. All made in the USA they're currently only based in the USA but have a Uk shop coming very soon.
A company based in the UK WUKA are pretty new on the period undie scene, they're made of eco friendly beech fibres and replace 100 tampons or pads. Their sizes range from 6 to 20, they're made in china (with washbags made in Nepal) and they offer free shipping to the UK. They're currently still in the pre-order stage but all of their pre-ordered undies will be shipped out late February/early March.

photo via TOTM Organic
Better disposables
Some of you may be reading this list and so far you haven’t seen anything you believe is “for you”, a moon cup isn’t something you’re up for trying, reusables just aren’t for you and period pants are an investment you can’t afford right now. You’re sat here thinking “why can’t I just get a better version of the thing I use right now?!” Well you can do just that, sustainable and ethical versions of disposable pads and tampons that you can try instead.

Introducing organic cotton tampons and pads. These bad boys are plastic free, chemical free, and more breathable than your average Joe tampon or pad. This means less likely hood of an adverse reaction, and less pollution;  they’re biodegradable, and better for you. Plus all of the brands that I’ve featured are ethically made so they’re not exploiting anyone else in the process either. Lovely stuff.

TOTM Organic
TOTM do a whole range of organic tampons and pads, their all 100% certified organic cotton, meaning they're all biodegradable, and their packaging is also biodegradable and plastic free. With every purchase online their donate to endometriosis UK. Apart from organic cotton disposables they're soon releasing their own menstrual cup, plus they do cute totes and badges too.

Natracare were one of the first companies to offer an alternative to traditional period products, over 30 years ago, their pads, panty liners, and tampons are all plastic free, made of certified organic cotton, are certified vegan, and are biodegradable and compostable. Plus they're made ethically in Sweden, wonderful. They're sold all over the world as well so wherever you are, you should be able to get your hands on these. In the Uk you can buy them in pharmacies, Ethical Superstore, Ocado, Amazon, and more.

Grown and made in the USA these organic cotton pads are made for sensitive skin,and they're cruelty free.  I'm pretty sure these guys are only available in the US, but you can get them at Walmart, Home Goods, TJMaxx, and Marshalls among others.

Yoni started with the idea that every person menstruating should know what's between their legs, they want to start talking about periods properly and revolutionise the femcare industry. All of their liners and tampons are 100% organic cotton, that's it, they always list ingredients on packaging and are currently working towards making all of their products organic. They promote fair trade for all with their sustainable supply chain and work with local partners to ensure equality within their work force. Stores all over Europe stock their products, though currently in the UK you can only buy them online.

photo via Manrepeller
Interested in learning more about your period?
Now I'm no expert, so I can't give you all of the facts, but there are plenty of websites and organisations out there providing free information for you about your periods, and reproductive health, so you can learn more about you! As well as organisations helping more people access menstrual products. These include:
- The Womb Room
- Happy Period
- Periods and Politics

So here you have it, a huge range of products and companies for every kind of period. If there are any products or companies I’ve missed that you think are worth a mention then leave them in the comments for me so I can add them in. I hope that this was helpful in some way to you. Share it with your friends and let them know their period doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here's to more sustainable and ethical periods, #breakthetaboo.