On average women will use around 11,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime, with tampons and sanitary pads producing around 100 billion pieces of waste every year. Over 27,000 used tampons and applicators are found on beaches around the world every day, and pads, which contain approximately 90% plastic, take centuries to biodegrade. Thankfully there are lots of eco-friendly products now on the market so by making a few swaps, you can have a more sustainable period and save yourself some £££ in the process.

Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups are one of the most sustainable period products you can buy. Not only are they reusable, holding up to three times the amount of fluid than one tampon; they’re designed to last for years, so you’ll save some serious cash; and they’re made from medical-grade silicone, so they’re gentler on your body than traditional disposable sanitary products. There are loads of different cups on the market. Brands like Mooncup, BeYou and Lily Cup, come in different sizes and use suction to stay in place. As well as coming in two sizes, the Saalt cup also comes in two levels of firmness so you can find a fit that suits you. Or there’s nixit, which is a one-size circular cup that you tuck in rather than relying on suction to stay in place.

Reusable Tampons and Pads

There’s a hell of a lot of plastic in tampons and pads – there are nine applicators for every kilometre of beach in the UK and one disposable pad can take up to 800 years to biodegrade. Now thanks to innovative new brands, you can still use tampons and pads and be conscious about the environment. DAME has created the world’s first reusable tampon applicator, made from medical grade Mediprene. It works with all sizes of tampons and you just have to rinse it after use. If you prefer pads, Wear ‘Em Out sells reusable ones in a range of sizes. They’re leak-resistant and moisture-wicking, and come with a washbag to use on the go so you can store fresh ones and rinsed ones easily.

Eco-friendly Subscriptions

Given that a period is something you’re gonna have every month for a significant amount of time, it makes sense to have the products come to you on regular schedule. ohne is a 100% organic tampon subscription service, certified by both the Soil Association and GOTS, and all their packaging is also recyclable and biodegradable. ohne also donates to Girls Programme, run by the School Club Zambia to support health and hygiene education in Zambia. With Freda, you can build boxes of eco-friendly tampons and pads according to your needs, and the company also donates to non-profts like  Bloody Good Period and A Bloody Good Cause.

Period Pants

You can say goodbye to pads, tampons and cups altogether and free bleed using a period pants. Modibodi has a range of moisture-wicking, bacteria-fighting leak-proof undies that offer the same absorbency as up to four tampons. There are a whole load of styles, including swimwear, that can cope with all levels of flow, so you just wear ’em and wash ’em over and over.