Green Your Period: Why Eco-Friendly Period Products are the Way to Go

wrote this on March 25, 2016

“Green Your Period” is our latest video series all about why sustainable and eco-friendly period products are great for your health and for the environment. This first video will delve into the health and environmental implications of using disposables, and the upcoming videos in this series will be a show-and-tell of several awesome, green period products that I recommend adding to your current period routine. Here’s to health!

Unhealthy periods are a MAJOR problem among women these days, and most of these issues are the result things like endocrine dispruting chemicals that are present in our environment. It’s easier than you think to clean up your lifestyle and heal your period problems, and Period Reset — the awesome 30-day program I created after healing my own terrible periods — will teach you how. Check it out »

Video Transcript

00:00 - Welcome to the very first video in the “Green Your Period” video series. I’m going to be using this video series to introduce to you several awesome, green, sustainable, and eco-friendly menstrual products. But before I do that, I want to use this first video to explain why “greening” or going green with your period is something you should really consider doing.

00:26 - The biggest reason has to do with your health. Many, many period products that are on the market today contain endocrine disrupting chemicals. If you’re not familiar with endocrine disruptors, they’re chemicals in our environment and in the products that we buy that alter your body’s natural hormone production.

00:54 - And since hormones affect literally everything in your body…your periods, your mood, your digestive health, everything…anything that affects your hormones is a really big problem. Endocrine disruptors are found in things like soaps, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, household cleaners, laundry detergents, perfume, and even your pads, tampons, and panty liners. Many, many…actually, most. Not many. Most pads, tampons, and panty liners contain endocrine disruptors like dioxins, bleaches, dyes, and fragrances, and all of those things are bad news for both you and for the environment.

01:46 - The reason that it’s so bad and that endocrine disruptors in your menstrual products are really something that you want to avoid is that the mucous membranes in your body, like your vagina, your labia, your vulva, are all very permeable and absorptive tissues. That means that any chemicals that come in contact with them, they’re going to want to absorb. So when you use pads or tampons or any of the other numerous products that I mentioned that contain endocrine disruptors, these chemicals can contribute to things like chronic urinary tract infections (which is quite common among women), yeast infections, bacterial infections of the vagina, and even an imbalance of your sex hormones that can ultimately lead to period problems.

02:38 - So there’s a multitude of reasons that you want to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals in your period products, and in your life in general, but especially in your period products that are going to be coming in contact with these sensitive mucous membranes and tissues on your body. One of the other huge reasons to consider going green with your period products is that period products generate a ton of waste. It’s estimated that about 20 billion…billion, that’s not an error…20 billion pads, tampons, and applicators are thrown into landfills every single year, which is ridiculous if you ask me.

03:22 - Each woman who uses disposable menstrual products will throw away between 250 to 300 lbs of them in her lifetime. Which…that’s a lot. And considering, just consider this for a minute. There are currently about 157 million women just in the United States. If you multiply that by 250 to 300 lbs of menstrual product waste, that is enormous. I did the math because I’m a math nerd. That’s about 19.6 million tons of waste just for disposable menstrual products, which is absolutely ridiculous.

04:11 - Not to mention that plastics that are used in those things…so the applicators, pads, and tampons also have the plastic wrappers and are very frequently made with plastics as well…those plastics take hundreds of years to break down once they’re in the landfill. So all of those plastic applicators and pads that are made with plastics are around for quite a long time after they’re disposed of, so they don’t just go away overnight. So that huge amount of waste that’s generated every year just keeps building up. Every woman who uses disposables is going to throw away approximately…almost 17,000 pads or tampons in her lifetime.

04:55 - And one of the other big problems with this is that the manufacturing process of those disposable items is equally as taxing on the environment. So not only is using disposables generating a ton of waste that’s going to go into landfills, but using disposables, or rather manufacturing disposables, generates a ton of…uses a tons of water, they use a ton of chemicals. So the bleaches, the dyes, the fragrances, the dioxins…all of that stuff that gets used in the manufacturing process that’s left over and ends up being waste in the manufacturing process…they have to dispose of that somewhere.

05:35 - So stuff like that ends up getting dumped into the waterways. And, just, they get rid of it in various other ways that are terrible for the environment. And when that stuff does end up in the waterways, it ends up back in the water supply, which is another health concern. So there’s many, many reasons that going green with your periods is really important and something you should really consider doing.

06:09 - Health is a huge, huge problem, and, like I said, the environmental impact is also huge. So I very much encourage you to keep that in mind as we go through this video series. And the next video I’m going to be introducing menstrual cups. They’re an awesome, awesome alternative to the typical disposable options. And I’m going to actually have several physical menstrual cups, so I’ll show you several different brands, why menstrual cups are awesome, how you would use them, how much they cost, things like that.

06:47 - And in the videos to follow, I’ll be introducing several other awesome, eco-friendly, reusable products as well. So I hope to see you then, and I look forward to helping you go-go green your periods. Bye!

Jennifer Aldoretta is the cofounder and CEO of Groove. She is an entrepreneur, engineer, and biohacker who is obsessed with periods, nutrition, hormones, and the microbiome.