A variety of period products alternatives, such as period pants and menstrual cups.
July 15, 2019 — Team Fempowered

If you’re still not sure how much difference sustainable period products really make to the environment - read our article about it. And if you’re thinking about making the switch to using more sustainable protection during your period - yay! Hats off to you. But chances are you’re a little overwhelmed with where to start. There are a lot of different options to pick from at the moment. So, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you choose the best option for you.

1. Organic cotton disposable tampons and sanitary pads

These babies have all the convenience of your standard throw away disposable tampon or towel, yet they leave almost no impact on the environment. All the products in our subscription boxes are provided by Kind Organic® and they are fully biodegradable and their manufacturing process uses up to 94% less greenhouse gas emissions. Not only is this great for our planet, but the organic cotton is also much nicer to your skin, causing less allergic reactions and helps your skin down there breathe.

A KIND Organic sanitary pad, made with organic cotton

Try them for yourself with your first Fempowered box. Along with being kinder to the planet, your subscription can also help women and girls around the world live their lives with dignity and with fewer limits.


  • Kind to the planet and kind to your vagina
  • No chemical nasties
  • Easy and convenient to use

2) Reusable sanitary pads

These are material pads which you clip into your normal underwear. You can machine wash and reuse them indefinitely, so they’re a great choice for the planet! They are normally made of soft organic cotton, brushed fleece or bamboo, so they’re chemical-free and comfy. There are loads of independent sellers on Etsy, or, if you’re crafty with a needle and thread, why not try making some yourself!

A reusable sanitary pad, made from cotton and attached using a popper

Photo credit: Rag Hag Shop via Etsy


  • Long lasting
  • Easy to use
  • Widely available

3) Reusable menstrual cup

The Mooncup® has been around for many moons. But a recent uprising in sustainability awareness (hurray!) has meant that the market now has many options and brands to choose from. Menstrual cups are normally made from biodegradable materials such as silicone and a single cup can last you up to 10 years if looked after well. They can be a little tricky to get the hang of, so you may need to try a few different sizes and techniques to begin with.

A Mooncup, a reusable silicon menstrual cup.

Photo credit: Mooncup®


  • One of the cheapest options
  • Lots of brands to find the right fit for you
  • One of the best options for the planet

4) Period pants

These are a fantastic option - both as back up protection if you’re prone to heavy bleeding and as a stand-alone period product. Most brands such as Thinx hold up to two tampons with of blood before you have to change, and then its a case of rising with cold water before chucking them in with your regular machine wash. You’ll need at least three pairs as they can take a while to dry. This might cause a bit of a wince when you make the initial investment - as they can be pricey - but you’ll save in the long run. AND save the planet - which is the ultimate win.

A paid of black THINX briefs, which are reusable period pants

Photo credit: THINX


  • Comfy
  • Easy to use
  • Leak-proof Image

5) Sea sponges

Yes, that’s right - a sponge, straight from the sea! You can’t get a more natural option than this lesser-known period protection. Sea sponges have been used for thousands of years and are making a come-back. Just make sure the brand you try is ethically harvested such as Natural Intimacy (although for some reason this brand seems intent on avoiding the words blood, period and menstruation?!). These can be a little more faff to begin with, as you have to sterilise and ‘trim-to-size’ your sponge. But, once your sponge is custom-shaped and sterile, it may be a great alternative to those who struggle with getting to grips with the menstrual cup insertion technique - as there’s no technique - just up it goes!

Small, round sea sponges - a completely natural period protection alternative

Photo credit: Jade and Pearl


  • 100% natural and chemical free
  • Cost-effective
  • Completely biodegradable

Which to go for?

Some of these products may be quite different to what you're used to using during your period. It can seem quite daunting to make such a dramatic change to your regular routine, so we reckon (and we're a little biased here) that organic cotton pads and tampons are a great place to start. And if you're interested in products that are kinder to both the planet AND the people that live on it, subscribe to Fempowered today.

All of our profits go to WaterAid, helping to support women and girls to have their periods safely and with dignity.