Unless you’re on one of those amazing birth control options that limit your period to once a year, chances are you’re anywhere from one to 28 days away from your next monthly visit. (And if you don’t have a clue where you are in your cycle right now, there’s an app for that.) One period a month, twelve days a year, for… oh, most of your adult life (let’s not even think about menopause right now), equals… a whole lot of pads and tampons (and PMS). If you’re tired of going with the drugstore purchase flow (pun intended, sorry), here are some ingenious options that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than your average menstrual methods.


1. THINX: These “period panties” have moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, absorbent, leak-resistant technology that can either be worn on their own (different pairs have different absorbency levels) or as a back-up to a tampon. Then you just rinse them out, throw them in the wash and repeat for the next month. Kinda what you’d do if you have a leakage accident, no? (via THINX)

ob tampons

2. o.b. Tampons: They’re tampons without the wasteful plastic applicator, or to clarify: Your index finger is the applicator. But don’t let that throw you — it’s easy! You unwrap the tampon from its seal, pull the string to widen the base, then put your finger in that little divet and insert. They were invented in the ’60s by a German gynecologist who wanted a better tampon option. One of the best parts: Without an applicator, they’re smaller than the average tampon, making them more discreet to carry around. (via o.b. Tampons)

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3. LOLA Tampons: LOLA tampons are made from 100% natural cotton, as opposed to synthetics like rayon or polyester you’ll find in other brands. It’s like the Whole Foods of tampons. They also claim to absorb better than most tampons, expanding sideways, rather than lengthwise. And there’s no need to worry about last-minute, emergency drugstore runs — a box of LOLA is delivered to your door in time for your period. (via LOLA)

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4. Reusable menstrual cups: Reusable menstrual cups collect your period blood rather than absorb it. It’s becoming so common, options like the DivaCup are even available at Target. It might seem like one little one-ounce cup couldn’t possibly handle the heaviest days of your period, but actually, the average woman only flows one to two ounces per cycle. Yes, it’s a little bit more labor-intensive than just tossing away a pad or tampon, but it may be worth the effort if you’re looking for zero waste. (via DivaCup)


5. Reusable cloth pads: Cloth pad options like the Lunapad can be recycled period after period. You can even wear the same pad throughout the day, changing the inserts as they fill up. And, similar to period undies like THINX, you just rinse them out and throw them in the wash for next time. (via Lunapad)

black sheep sponges

6. Sea sponge tampons: Sea sponge tampons are probably the most all-natural of the all natural options, but also maybe the craziest. Sea sponges are soft, absorbent and biodegradable, and will conform to you once inserted. You just dampen the sponge and put it in. When it’s full, remove, rinse and then reinsert as needed. (via Black Sheep Soap Company)

What’s your period preference? Tweet us @BritandCo!