Did you know that it’s possible to have a completely waste free period? Living a waste free life or at least consciously producing less waste in our day to day lives is increasing in popularity as the effects of our wasteful ways on the environment are becoming more well known.
One aspect of life that you may not realise is particularly wasteful is that of your period. But did you know that it’s possible to have a completely waste free period? Yep, with alternatives to tampons like the menstrual cup and alternatives to pads like period-proof underwear, there is really no reason for single-use/disposable period products at all! This means you can ditch the pads and the tampons for good! You can easily have a plastic free period and a zero waste period.
I want to share with you how I had a completely zero waste period in Bali of all places.
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(My first period as a married woman could not have come at a better time.
My worst fear was that I would be so unfortunate to have my period on my wedding day or even worse – my honeymoon. However, I was lucky to breeze through both the big day and the honeymoon unscathed.
We were married on the 5th January, departed for our honeymoon on the 12th January and the “official” honeymoon ended on the 23rd January. I say “official” honeymoon, because technically we are taking more of a honey year. After vowing a marriage of adventure we have left the comforts of our home in Australia and we’re embarking on a journey overseas for a time currently unknown. So when our “official” honeymoon ended, it wasn’t back home for us, it was on to the next leg of our journey – Bali.
As we were waiting at Singapore airport for our flight to Bali I got that feeling my period was coming and sure enough it arrived that night, our first night in Bali. I hadn’t packed any pads or tampons for our trip at all, I didn’t need to because I had my favourite menstrual cup and my period underwear packed with me. So regardless of where and when my period arrived, I knew I would be covered.
If you know anything about Bali you may be familiar the island sadly has a huge waste problem, even declaring a ‘garbage emergency’ in early 2018.
Being on the ground in Bali and seeing the amount of rubbish is truly shocking. We have visited beautiful beaches with stunningly clear, bright blue water but down at the waters edge there is rubbish washed up along the sand. Even on deserted clifftops there is an alarming amount of rubbish stuck in the long grass and the bushes. How does it even get up there?
The island simply does not have the facilities to cope with the amount of waste being generated and as a result so much rubbish ends up in the waterways only to be washed back up to shore again.
I certainly did not want to contribute to that by using single-use pads or tampons for my period. Can you imagine period products not being properly disposed of and ending up at the beach? That isn’t something I want to be swimming with! So I’m glad I was prepared to have a waste free period while in Bali.
How did I have a waste-free period in Bali?
Using a menstrual cup and period underwear is the best way to have a waste free period. If you’re not sure what a menstrual cup or period underwear is, you can read my previous posts What On Earth Is A Menstrual Cup? and Meet Period Underwear, Your New Favourite Undies.
Here is a detailed run-down of how I managed my waste-free period in Bali:
As suspected, my period arrived on Wednesday night when we arrived in Bali. I had my evening shower and inserted my menstrual cup after my shower. I then went to bed wearing my menstrual cup. Easy!
5Thursday morning I took a shower and emptied my cup while I was in the shower, I washed the cup out and then inserted it back in after my shower. Check out my blog post 5 Tips For Your First Time Using a Menstrual Cup to understand why the shower is so involved with my menstrual cup use! Hint: the shower is you and your cups best friend.
Thursday was our first day in Bali, so we were out and about all day getting to know the new area we were in. Although I had my cup in, I also wore my LoveLuna leak-proof underwear as a backup.
LoveLuna is not full-on period underwear like Modibodi, by their own description they are a ‘backup brief’. So they can’t be used standalone, but are great to protect you from any unwanted leaks. I’ve been using a cup for a while now but still sometimes can have the off day where I haven’t inserted it quite correctly and I may experience the occasional leak. That’s why I like to have the backup option, which just gives me peace of mind that I won’t leak into my nice undies or stain my clothes while I’m out and about, especially when I don’t know if I will have access to a suitable bathroom to make a readjustment.
Side note: does anyone else fret they are going to stain their clothes when they have their period? Honestly how often does it happen (rarely, if ever!) but for some reason I’m always so paranoid about it! Anyway, my backup LoveLuna undies help alleviate my paranoia
Once I got home for the day I had my evening shower and took my cup out. I emptied it and washed it out. For overnight I decided to leave it out, choosing to sleep in my Modibodi period underwear instead. Modibodi period underwear is the full deal and can be used in place of a pad, tampon or cup. I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I feel a bit blah on my period and although I don’t think it makes a real difference I just prefer not to have anything inserted internally.
The rest of my period
I follow the same for the next couple of days until my period finishes up.
As my period draws to an end, I may have a day or two where my period has basically ended but I have a bit of spotting as it fully finishes up. I don’t want to wear a cup during this time as I don’t need that full protection, but I also don’t want to have no protection. So I find these days to be perfect for using the LoveLuna backup underwear or a really light option underwear from Modibodi. If you check out Modibodi you will see they have a variety of absorbencies ranging from light to heavy.
Making the switch for a better period
If you make the switch to cups and period underwear I am positive you will find that these products are not only better for the environment but are also better for your whole period experience.
If you’re used to managing your period with pads and tampons you would also be used to your period being inconvenient and uncomfortable. You have to change your pad or tampon every couple of hours, if you’re out you have to find somewhere to do that. If you’re wearing a pad and it’s hot you’ll likely feel hot and sweaty and just generally uncomfortable. When using a cup I can go out all day and I can do anything, including swim, without having to worry about it. I actually forget that I have my period, that’s how comfortable I am.
I could talk to you all day about this but the best way for you to understand is to try the products yourself. Take the plunge and try a cup or get some period underwear of your own to try out on your next period. You never know, it may just make your period BETTER!
If you’d like to try out period underwear or a cup, here’s where you can find them:
Modibodi are an Australian period underwear company with a UK entity as well. They also ship to most of the world (except Canada!), so you should be able to get your hands on a pair wherever you are. They even offer FREE SHIPPING to the USA for all orders over $75USD.
THINX are a US based period underwear company who also ship around the world, but might be a better option for you if you’re located in the USA or Canada.
You can find some of my favourite menstrual cups on my recommended resources page.
PLUS so much more!
The Better Period
Ellie Heasman is a period blogger and founder of The Better Period. Ellie helps people on their journey to a better period through introducing them to the world of menstrual cups and period underwear, and sharing knowledge about the menstrual cycle and fertility awareness. You can join in the better period conversations on Instagram @thebetterperiod_ or find out more about Ellie here.