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Alternative period products: 5 women trial the latest eco-friendly sanitary brands

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Christobel Hastings
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What happens when you swap your regular pads, tampons, panty liners and cups for an eco-friendly alternative? A greener monthly cycle, as these five women found out. 

Whether we use pads, tampons, panty liners or cups, every woman has their own personal preference when it comes to sanitary protection. But while we may be unwilling to switch our ways of dealing with our monthly cycle, there’s no ignoring the fact that our periods come with a serious environmental burden.

Given that the average woman goes through roughly 14,000 tampons in her lifetime, our sanitary habits are having a serious impact on our green planet. You might not have considered, for instance, that tampons and sanitary pads produce around 100 billion pieces of waste every year, or the fact that 27,938 used tampons and applicators are found on the world’s beaches every single day.

There is a silver lining, if you’ll pardon the pun. Beyond the cardboard packaging and plastic applicators, lies a whole array of eco-friendly sanitary products that don’t come at a cost to people or the planet. 

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6 of the best eco-friendly sanitary brands you need to know about

If you like the idea of switching to an eco-friendly period product in theory, but have no idea how it would work in practice, then we’ve got you covered.

For Stylist, we challenged five women to ditch their regular tampons and pads for alternative products in a bid to go green. From menstrual cups to padded underwear, we road-tested a range of sustainable sanitary brands to find the best products that keep both you and the planet suitably protected.

As our panel discovered, there were (predictably) hits and misses. But if you’re sceptical whether eco-friendly period products can really go the distance, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are great alternatives on the market, complete with the Stylist seal of approval. 

“My overall experience was really good,” says Helen, who trialled the Dame Reusable Tampon Applicator. “This product is so similar to something that we’re all using on a daily basis anyway, so I don’t think it’s that much of a big step to just use something like this and save a whole lot of waste.”

“My favourite was the menstrual cup,” says Alice, who was handed the Beppy Soft-Comfort Tampon in the draw. “There were a couple of features of it that I think made it a really good option for me.”

Meanwhile, Tea had mixed experiences with the Think Period Proof Underwear. “I think it’s such a good idea to have pants that double up successfully as pads,” she says. “I wouldn’t use them as my only form of period protection, but I would use them in my lighter days.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about sustainable period products, why not check out our guide to the best eco-friendly sanitary brands you need to know about, and while you’re in the bathroom, browse these four easy ways to achieve plastic-free beauty.

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.

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