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Disposable Pads Aren't The Only Option

Updated on January 1, 2019
Dai Davis profile image

As a teenager Dai (Day) Davis often felt lonely and underappreciated. Looking for a form of outlet Davis found writing on Hub Pages.


Did you know that in a woman's lifetime she could use up to 16,800 disposable or one-time use products for menstrual collection? If not that fine, but the average disposable product costs about $0.19. In one lifetime a women will have spent about $3,266.66 on disposable products, and that doesn’t include other period associated cost.

Your Options

As of right now, I am suggesting to you with three alternative products to disposable pads. Reusable menstrual cups (The Lily Cup), menstrual underwear (Think), and Reusable pads (Glad Rags). All three of these alternative or cheaper, healthier for you and healthier for the environment compared to disposable pads. Some of these products are used differently than disposable pads, but most of these can be treated like regular clothes.

Non-Disposable is Healthier

Most disposable pads are made of plastic, synthetic fibers, and cotton. Since cotton is a natural material to obtain consistency it is bleached with chlorine oxide. The chlorine oxide binds to the cotton to make bio-accumulative byproducts like dioxin. Dioxin takes a long time to break down, is highly toxic, can cause cancer, harm the reproductive system, damage to the immune system, and can interfere with hormones. Most disposable pads the have dioxin and other harmful chemicals, these chemicals are internally put against vaginas. Also, all the chemicals in disposable can block air to the vagina, which would further damage it and increase moisture levels. Since the human body is adaptive it will slowly adjust to compensate for this extra moisture, but as soon as your period is over the vaginal region may be dry and or itchy because of the lack of moisture. Plus, the plastic and other chemicals can increase my cramps and other period pains, which means switching from disposable pads can also save on pain medication.

Nearly 20 billion pads and tampons are thrown away each year because of their one-time use. Since most menstrual products are made of plastic and other synthetic materials each one will take years to decompose. While the pads and tampons are decomposing they can pollute waterways, natural habitats, and transmit deceases. But, reusable pads, period underwear, and menstrual cups have a longer lifespan. Plus, most of these products are made of biodegradable materials, which means they won’t cause as much damage as disposable products.

Menstrual Cups

Menstrual Cups are reusable, safe, hygienic, and affordable. A menstrual cup can be worn for up to twelve hours at a time. In between uses the cup simply needs to be washed. Menstrual cup are made to fit inside the entrance to the cervix, so they come in multiple sizes for different sized women, including virgins. For example The Lily Cup One is a starter cup for first time users, Lily Cup One adjust to all cervix heights, and sizes. It is made of “medical grade silicone and has no harmful chemicals, fibers or bleaches.” It can be worn up to 12 hours at a time, plus it comes in a small case for easy transport. The Lily One Cup costs $25, which is about the cost of 130 disposable pads, but the average cup last for 2-10 Years. Every cycle a lily cup can replace 12 pads, which means a cup will only have to last eleven months to be cost-effective. If a cup lasts two years or ten it can save $27 to $257, but the impact on my health and our environment will be bigger. If you don’t like the idea of the Lily Cup, maybe consider a Diva Cup, which is the same thing but it’s a more popular brand.

Period Underwear

Period underwear must be treated just like a reusable pads, period underwear can be worn all day. If one doesn’t completely trust the period underwear, the period underwear could be worn as a backup to other collection methods. Thinx makes its period underwear out of four materials, those four materials make their underwear anti-microbial, absorbent, and leak resistant. For Thinx there are different styles of period underwear for different period flows. For a small a pair of period underwear cost $39, but can be worn all day. Since the average cost of a pad is $0.19 one period underwear would have to last for more than 206 pads or seventeen months to be cost-effective. The average period underwear last twenty-four month, which makes it cost effective while saving about $15 in its lifetime. Five pairs cost $195 but can replace 1030 pads and can save over $75 in their lifetime.

Reusable Pads

Reusable pads are just like regular pads except they need to be washed after use and can be used more than once. Reusable pads cost between $12-$30 and come in packs of usually five, the average reusable pad also lasts about five years. Glad Rags offers both day pads and night pads that can be worn for a wide range of hours. Glad Rags has designed their reusable pads to be able to adjust the pads according to what type of flow one is expecting to have. By using the holder and inserts the inserts hold the period blood while the holder keeps it in place, and the inserts are stack-able, so one could decide to have super coverage one day, then little coverage the next. Plus, they’re easy to make, making a reusable pad doesn’t require a lot of sewing skills, and they don’t require a lot of materials either. On Glad Rags the average pad for my size cost $20, which means it only needs to last about eight months to be cost-effective, but the average reusable pad last five years. By using reusable pads, one could save about $130 in its lifetime.

Many women today use disposable pads, disposable pads are cheap and sanitary. That’s true in some cases but there are other products that do the same job better and cheaper, while serving its purpose, saving money, the environment, and their customers. Disposable pads were once the solution to a huge problem but their starting problems of their own and have several possible successors to fix them.

© 2018 Dai Davis


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