Travel Editor Michelle Osborne discusses the top eco-friendly period products to suit a student budget.
Recent sustainability discourse has turned to period products, due to the single-use plastic waste from them being incredibly high. Sustainable periods aren’t just good for the planet, they’re good for your bank account. We can save plenty of money each year by utilising reusable menstrual products, but unfortunately, this often requires a hefty budget to invest in these products in the first place. Popular menstrual cup brands such as Divacup can set you back around £30, and sometimes they won’t even suit your body. Period underwear is also known for being very expensive, some brands charging £50 or more for a single pair. While we all want to strive for sustainability when we can, these expensive products just aren’t an option for most students. Luckily there are some cheaper alternatives out there which could save you some cash and create a better period experience for all.
Reusable pads are brilliant once you get past the initial icky-ness of it. These pads are essentially towels in a pad formation which can be thrown into the washing machine after each cycle. They are quite thick and noticeable, so can be a nuisance. However, they are super convenient and are good to carry around in case your period surprises you. Reusable pads can be purchased on Amazon for around £20. If you’d like to get crafty, you can find tutorials on how to make them on the internet, brilliant if you have an old towel lying around!
In my opinion, menstrual cups have changed the period game. Once you’ve tried it a few times, it is easy to place and can barely be felt. If you look after it, they should last several years and save you from splashing out on hundreds of pads or tampons. There is also no need to buy the high-priced brands – there are plenty of cheaper options out there. My favourite is the OrganiCup, which retails at about £15, but the HeyGirls! menstrual Cup is also good, available for around £10.
If you would like to try the menstrual cup or reusable pads before committing to a more expensive brand, you can also pick them up for free from the QMU every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 12-4pm. You can also usually pick them up at the SRC Welcome Point in the McIntyre Building.
Period underwear is becoming more common on the market, with many retailers now stocking them. High-end sets can cost a lot of money, but many more affordable retailers are now making them more accessible. Primark have started selling period underwear for £6 in a variety of styles. The styles determine how much liquid they can hold. Currently the reviews are very positive, the quality of them being compared to other more expensive brands. While I have not tried this type of sustainable period product, it sounds very promising, and I’m interested to give them a go.
A sustainable period is an investment, but it doesn’t have to cost you much more than a couple of pints at the pub. Hopefully these suggestions can lead you to a more environmentally friendly, affordable but most importantly, comfortable period.