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Green the Red: 3 Sustainable Alternatives to Menstrual Pads

There's a fight against plastic straws, but what about pads and tampons?

Most women have grown accustomed to the conventional ways of managing their periods: pads and tampons. Unfortunately, a lot of mainstream menstrual products contain plastic.

Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environment issues to date. The problem is so widespread that it also threatens marine environment, ocean health, food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change. (Read: Pope Urges Educators to Work Together Against Climate Change)

A study found that a pack of mainstream period pads contain the equivalent amount of 5 plastic bags. On average, there are 36 grams of plastic in each packet of mainstream period pads and 11,000 menstrual items are used in a lifetime. Just imagine all the plastic sitting in landfill and plastic particles entering the soil and water!

So if you’re thinking of making the sustainable switch, My Pope Philippines has got you covered!

Alternatives to Menstrual Pads: Menstrual Cups

Photo from Haliya Cup Facebook

Menstrual cups are small, reusable, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that you insert to your vagina to collect period fluid. Rodessa Austria of Haliya Cup says it is more hygienic, safe, time-saving, cost-efficient, and non-restrictive (You can even dive underwater with it!).

The menstrual cup can be emptied every 3 to 4 hours during heavy days and 8 to 12 hours on light days. It is made of 100% medical grade silicone that can last up to 10 years, but international brands suggest changing the cup every 2 to 4 years. (Read: 5 Easy Ways for a Sustainable Lifestyle)

“Menstrual cups were hard to introduce in countries like ours given our culture and beliefs. There is also a big gap in terms of peoples’ awareness for such product. The unfamiliarity makes people wary in trying to change from out regular plastic pads to reusable menstrual product such as menstrual cup,” says Rodessa.

She adds that the only advantage of regular pads over menstrual cups is accessibility. “While regular pads are conveniently available in all supermarkets, department stores, and small neighborhood stores, menstrual cups are not easily accessible.”

Haliya Cup’s prices range from P899 to P949. Order here.

Alternatives to Menstrual Pads: Reusable Pads

Photos from Humblebee Reusable Flo-Pads Facebook

Reusable pads or cloth-made pads are basically an improved version of the pasadors. These can be used for 4 to 5 years.

“Using reusable menstrual pads feels disturbing at first, but it’s actually healthier for the intimate area as it eliminates the chemicals used in disposable pads,” says Kish Morales, founder and co-owner of Humblebee.

“Basically, choosing to go reusable is a thrifty, eco-friendly, and healthy choice. Once you go reusable, you will never go back to disposable,” she adds. (Read: This Pinoy Painter Brings Life to Old Cardboards With Karton Art)

Cloth pads can be changed every 4 to 5 hours, depending on period’s flow. Washing can be made through soaking the pads for 5 to 10 minutes or rinsing directly on running warm water. When blood clears, pads may be washed with mild detergent or body soap.

Humblebee’s prices range from P100 for a reusable liner to P1,200 for a set of heavy flow pack. Order here.

Alternatives to Menstrual Pads: Period Panties

Photos from Mirko Facebook

Period panties look and feel just like normal underwear, but they have a special layer that helps prevent leak. According to Camille Tan, founder of Mirko Ph, period panties are less prone to heat rashes, since the fabric has a smooth, cooling, and breathable effect. 

“They are ultra thin and easy to wash, so they are highly recommended as alternative for bulky pads… No need to worry about straining your regular undies as well, because the blood washes right off,” Camille says. (LIST: Strong Women Who Inspire Young Girls Around the World)

“Using period panties is an impactful decision in every menstruating person’s life. While the trend hasn’t fully been embraced in the Philippines yet, we truly believe that this is a very basic essential in every wardrobe that will change how we approach our periods no matter what lifestyle we lead,” she adds.

Mirko flow undies can be hand-washed or machine-washed with room temperature water. It’s important to note to not use hot water, bleach, or any fabric softener as these products may damage the leak-proof film.

Their prices range from P275 for singles and P750 for a pack of three. Order here.

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