How to have a green period

healthy-woman-Recently Kimberley Clark recalled one of their Kotex tampon ranges due to health concerns.

According to the press release the tampons were manufactured with a raw material contaminated with a bacterium which could cause health risks including vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease or even life-threatening conditions.

According to Kimberley Clark nearly a quarter of the world’s population trust their brands and “the solutions they provide to enhance health, hygiene and well-being”.

Well I don’t know about you, but this recall coupled with the occasional stories of women dying from toxic shock syndrome makes you want to find an alternative to the conventional tampon.

Toxic shock syndrome

Two to three people die every year in the U.K. as a result of toxic shock syndrome. The toxic shock causing bacteria, called staphylococcus, thrives on synthetic fibers such as rayon or viscose, found in all major tampon brands.

If you want to stick with tampons, switch to an organic, all-cotton blend such as natra care. They use chlorine free, cardboard applicators and the tampons are chlorine and dioxin free.

Landfill waste

But you know what? Each woman in her lifetime uses over 12000 pads or tampons. What do we do with them after use? Flush if we’re naughty or bag and bin. That’s 125-150 kg of sanitary protection ending up in landfill, being incinerated or in the sea. The sea? Yep, according to the Marine Conservation Society, tampons, tampon applicators and sanitary towels make up a large proportion of beach litter.

Is that the legacy you want to leave for the future?

Fortunately there are greener options available AND they will save you money!


The Mooncup costs around £16 and is made from soft medical grade silicone. They capture your blood flow and will last several years. So while the initial outlay might be high, it will pay for itself in no time.

Washable pads

Washable pads are made from various materials such as hemp, bamboo or cotton fleece. You treat them just like washable nappies. They cost anything from £4 for a panty liner to £15 for a post partum pad and last several years. If you’re good with a needle and thread you can make your own for next to nothing.

Sea sponges

Another option is natural sea sponges; used just like tampons, except you clean them and reuse. These cost around £10 for two and last a year.

What about you – how do you ensure your periods are healthy for you and the environment?


  1. nadine sellers on December 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    may i take this opportunity to ask women to search online for organizations which provide cloths for girls in the poorer areas..(i recall seeing such a post on ZW before)…these cloths may be made of any absorbing linens, at minimal cost and can change the life of a school girl or woman somewhere.

    12000 pads or tampons? for at least half of the seven billion people on earth? ouch that is a lot of unclean ‘footprints’ here..shark bait or beach comber’s nightmare? one more reason to thrive for zero waste..

  2. Mrs Green on December 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    @nadine sellers: thanks Nadine; this is such an important plea and one we can all help with. Something we take for granted causes so much angst for our sisters across the globe…

  3. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ on December 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Great post! I made the switch over to the Diva Cup and cloth mama pads after my first son was born. I was using cloth diapers and I thought about why I was using disposable post partum pads?! Also, the disposable pads just tore up my sensitive skin post partum.

    Well, after switching from the chemical-laden disposable products, my cramps and flow became much easier to manage. Looking back on all those years of disposables, is a little scary thinking of how negatively they were affecting my body. Even after my period changing dramatically after subsequent births, cloth and Diva have managed far superior to paper & plastic.

  4. [email protected] on December 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks for bringing up such an important issue! I’m switching over to a menstrual cup and I’ve been totally surprised (and happy) at how many options there are. I found a blog with reviews as well as a online discussion forum for women interested in learning more about menstrual cups:

  5. All Natural Katie on December 7, 2011 at 2:57 am

    I started using a Diva Cup several months ago and I am NEVER going back to disposable tampons and pads. I love that I can wear the cup for 12 hours with no leaks. I have even ran a 5K with it in. So comfortable!

  6. Mrs Green on December 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

    @Zoie @ TouchstoneZ: I’ve heard similar stories from lots of women; makes you wonder what is in the disposable products!

    @[email protected]: thanks for sharing the great links!

    @All Natural Katie: 5K – it really is like a tampon ad LOL!