5 Ways to Have a Waste-Free Period

Reusable cups, washable pads and more ways to say bye to tampons forever

ICYMI, periods are having quite the moment. Period. End of Sentence, the film about women in India who are creating a business around pads, won the best documentary short at this year’s Academy Awards. The British Columbia government announced in April that public schools must provide free menstruation products for students, the first province to do so in Canada. And Yazmina Jade Adler from Melbourne just went viral after admitting that she smears her period blood on her face as a way top eliminate her period cramps. (Not sure where we stand on this one, but it’s 2019 and here we are!)

At last glance, there are myriad articles online that dig into what menstruation really means to us as a species, and people all over the world are taking to social media to dispel myths and spout the truth on what our “time of the month” really looks like. Did you know that until 2015, feminine hygiene products were not considered essential and were taxed by the Canadian government? We have the Canadian Menstruators foundation, and a few key leaders in Ottawa, to thank for that taxation change. But while we have (finally) crossed that hurdle, there are still ways that people are being held back simply because they menstruate, and areas in Canada where access to products is still a huge issue.

Another big challenge of the period revolution is how to deal with Aunt Flo sustainably. After giving birth to my daughter in 2016, I felt an ever-growing desire to have healthier periods while lessening my environmental impact. Perhaps it was because I didn’t actually get my period for about 365 days due to being pregnant—it didn’t come back until three months postpartum—that I finally noticed how wasteful the whole endeavour actually is. (The average person goes through 240 tampons per year.) So I invested in my first menstrual cup—the Canadian-founded DivaCup—bought a couple pairs of period underwear as back up, and I haven’t looked back.

The good news is these reusable innovations just keep getting better and better. Here are some of the latest ways to have a more sustainable period, each and every month.

Just for teens

Diva Cup

DivaCup recently launched their size 0 cup, designed for people 18 and younger to help them manage their periods without all the superfluous stuff. So if you know someone on the cusp of getting their period, here’s some sage advice youcan pass along.

The DivaCup Model 0, $40, well.ca

A new cup on the block

Tampax Cup

Earlier this spring, mass menstruation brand Tampax jumped into the sustainable period market with the launch of their own cup. Tampax Cups come in two sizes based on flow—regular and heavy—because their research showed that flow was the best indicator of vaginal vault size. (K, “vaginal vault” is my new favourite term.) The team worked with an ObGyn to help construct their version, which is slightly shorter than traditional cups.

Tampax Cup, $40, amazon.ca

Overnight undies

Knix Shorts

I’ve always paired my cup with period underwear. But one area of need that I hadn’t yet found a solution for was overnight, which can be particularly bloody on the first night of my period. So when Knix launched their leakproof shorts, I was stoked. And so were a lot of other people. They quickly sold out online, but have since been restocked on their website—so add to cart immediately. These shorts can hold up to three tampons worth of blood, and have leakproof padding that ventures high in the back. Sweet dreams, indeed.

Knix Dream Short, $45, knix.ca

Now in Canada

Thinx briefs

Thinx period underwear have been available online for a while now and a pal recommended them to me as postpartum underwear, but I didn’t actually purchase them until well after I had my daughter. But, now the U.S. company has started popping up in small Canadian retailers, like Drake General Store, so I suspect they’ll be making a bigger move into our country soon. And they keep adding to their line with new innovations—this navy-blue shade was launched for Earth Day and I kind of love it.

Thinx Hi-Waist period underwear in Ocean, $53, shethinx.com

Back-up plan

LunaPads underwear

LunaPads carries a set of reusable organic cotton period underwear that you can add extra protection to in the form of organic cotton liners and pads. They are ethically made in Canada, and come in fun colours and designs if you want to jazz up shark week—I am boring and went for all-black everything, but you do you. Both the undies and the pads wash easily and are super soft, so consider these another great sustainable way to period.

LunaPads Maia Hipster underwear, $39, lunapads.ca

Related:

The Best Strapless Bras for Every Bust (and Neckline)
Confused About How to Care for Your Oily Skin? These Are the Products You Need
Should You Switch Up Your Skincare Routine When You’re on Your Period?

Filed under:

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

FLARE - Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to FLARE Need to Know for smart, sassy, no-filter takes on everything you're interested in—including style, culture & current events, plus special offers—sent straight to your inbox each day. Sign up here.