On a single day, 27,938 used tampons and applicators are collected on the world's beaches.
So it turns out that women's periods have the potential to do a lot of damage to the environment.
But never fear. There are a couple of things you can do to lessen your environmental impact during your time of the month.
Are you heading off on holiday this summer? ☀️⛱ Is your period coming along too? 😉 Read our blog post about Travelling On Your Period with the Mooncup to find out our top tips for using the Mooncup while travelling. Link in our bio ☝️️ #mooncup #travel #periods #adventure #backpacking #holiday #savetheplanet
The most obvious and cost-effective choice you can make is a switch to the menstrual cup. It may have started out as a choice purchase for hippie travellers and festival-going radical environmentalists, but it has acquired a cult following of converted women spanning a range of ages.
A great example is Brighton-based brand Mooncup. Its plight has progressed since its beginnings in guerilla campaigning, stickering public toilets around Brighton and partying at Glastonbury.
Mooncups are now stocked in fifty different countries, going from strength to strength after entering Boots' shelves in 2005.
"People have an evangelical enthusiasm about their use of it," Kath Clements, the marketing manager at Mooncup tells us about the surge in its popularity.
"Women are taking ownership of their periods, and of the waste they can create."
WHY DON'T YOU MAKE THE MOONCUP IN DIFFERENT COLOURS? The Mooncup is made from natural un-pigmented silicone. We have chosen to avoid adding food colourings or pigments that may compromise the health, ethical and environmental benefits of the Mooncup®. A transparent cup can also really help in clearly observing your flow. THE MOONCUP ETHOS: LESS IS MORE As consumers, we are always being encouraged to buy more products and told that we should replace those we already own with new ones. The Mooncup gives you the chance to step out of the cycle of consumerism in at least one area of your life – and this is one of the reasons that so many love the product. We believe adding colour to the Mooncup would make something beautifully simple into something unnecessarily complicated. We also think the Mooncup looks rather nice just the way it is. #mooncup #menstrualcup #Menstruation #totm #savetheplanet #ecofriendly #periodpositive
The medical grade silicone that the Mooncup is made from is derived from sandstone, one of the most abundant resources on the planet.
Plus, one cup costs £20 and lasts you ten years. So as well as cutting back on your waste footprint, you'll also be saving a fortune, especially as the average woman will spend £1200 on tampons in her lifetime.
Hellie Canavan, a 24-year-old administrator, tried a menstrual cup a year ago and hasn't looked back.
"They're really comfortable and much more convenient. They may not look it because they're bigger, but you can choose the size and material of your cup to suit you. There's pretty much one out there for everyone," she tells us.
But if you don't feel like a menstrual cup is for you, there are other things you can do to green up your period.
For Meika Hollander, the co-founder of organic US cosmetic brand Sustain Natural, it is possible for the tradition of women using tampons and pads to be good for the planet and for our bodies, but not if you use the majority of mainstream products.
Disturbed at the amount of chemicals that are added to the cotton manufacturing process (and by extension, the manufacture of most feminine hygiene products), Meika recently launched a completely organic range of tampons and pads across the pond.
THINK WITH YOUR VAGINA: Why all the fuss about the chemicals in products that we may only use for a few days each month? Because in a modern world filled with hazardous toxins and pollutants, every exposure counts. And staying healthy means reducing or preventing every possible contact with every potential toxin every chance we can get. Your vagina is worth it. Shop via link in bio.
"If you're going to change one thing, it should be how you use tampons," she tells us.
UK brand Natra Care have also stood for the importance of organic feminine hygiene products since 1989. All of their tampons and pads are compostable and plastic-free, meaning that any waste you throw away will be disposed of in a far more environmentally friendly way. Their products are reasonably priced, ranging between £2 and £3 for a box of twenty tampons.
Lovely picture from @skinlove of our 100% organic cotton tampons. Find out more about how the world's first organic cotton tampon was created on our youtube channel! #organic #tampon #organiccotton #bio #biotampon #greenliving #menstruationmatters #freefrom #Repost from @skinlove with @regram.app ... Økologisk, svanemerket, ikke klorbleket, uparfymert og helt uten plast!👏🏼🌿🎉 Velkommen til Nettbutikken vår Natracare💚
So, what we're saying is there are definitely some great eco-friendly options when it comes to making your period more sustainable.
For Hellie, taking into consideration the environmental impact of your time of the month is an absolute no brainer.
"Once you realise that easier, cheaper and more eco-friendly options are available, I'm not sure why anyone wouldn't give them a go!"