I remember my excitement the first time I saw a menstrual cup (the Moon Cup) on the shelf at my amazing local, organic, vegan grocery store in the UK, back in the early 2000s. It felt like a game changer to have those cups sitting proudly at eye level beside other period management products.
While I’m yet to see a menstrual cup on the shelves at a major grocery store, I live in hope that a big chain will bring in these products sometime soon. I know that eco-friendly menstrual management is anathema to our throwaway consumer culture, but I can dream!
What I have been happy to see creep onto grocery store shelves in the last few years are some of the more eco-friendly and non-toxic disposable menstrual management products. These are now fairly commonplace beside conventional tampons and pads, but it’s hard to know which brands are best when greenwashing abounds.
Greenwashing and menstrual management
Many companies claim to offer eco-friendly products for menstrual management, but while their products may sound good, it’s important to note the provenance, certifications, and company history. For instance, many of the same companies that promote toxic household and personal care products have either acquired smaller, previously independent companies (such as Seventh Generation) or now offer greenwashed period products under the own brand, albeit half-heartedly.
Other companies promote bamboo-based reusable pads that may have a significant environmental impact even while appearing outwardly eco-friendly.
Which companies can you trust to offer the best options for eco-friendly and body-friendly menstrual management? Here are my top picks for each type of product, reusable and disposable:
- Pads and panty liners:
- Reusable pads:
- Menstrual cups:
If you’re in the UK, Draper’s Organic is a great option for reusable pads, TOTM are excellent for almost all your menstrual needs, and Imse Vimse are an option for reusable tampons. If you’re in New Zealand, OI are, hands down, the company to go with for tampons, pads, pantyliners, and menstrual cups.
Other companies with decent eco credentials include L Organic, although they use (BPA-free) plastic applicators for their tampons. The same is true for The Honest Company, Cora and Lola, the latter two being subscription services that provide pads and tampons with and without plastic applicators. The Honest Company applicators are 90 percent plant-based at least, and are phthalate-free, and the company has excellent credentials and a good, albeit short, track record otherwise, which is why they made the cut for the eco-home directory.
Cora are a little less transparent about their ingredients, but at least note that they’re looking into creating “a bio-material applicator” to help neutralize their environmental impact. Given that such applicators have been around for decades, it seems odd, though, that it’s taking them (and other companies) this long. If you’re a fan of applicators and want to buy from these companies, a more eco-friendly option would be to purchase their applicator-free tampons and use the Dame reusable applicator.
Whichever products you use to manage menstruation, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations for safe use. And know that even switching from conventional period products to organic, non-toxic disposables can make a big difference for your health and the environment. Better yet, switch wholesale to reusables and save yourself heaps of money long-term!
There are plenty of newcomers to this industry, so I’m sure I’ve missed at least one or two good options for alternative period products. If you have a brand and/or product you love (or manufacture!) and think it deserves a Leaf Score review, get in touch so I can check it out!