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Incremental change is sustainable change. Here’s how you can make cycle-by-cycle changes towards a greener period.
Cycle One —Reduce single use plasticsPlastic tampon applicators, pads and tampons can create up to 300 lbs of waste over the course of your lifetime. Switching to a reusable menstrual cup or disc is comfortable, provides up to 12 hours of continuous protection, and saves you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
If it feels daunting, know that you’re not alone. But taking steps towards making the switch could truly be life-changing!
If you’ve already said goodbye to single use plastic tampon applicators, what else can you remove from your routine?
Single use plastics contain chemical compounds called xenoestrogens that mimic or block the effects of natural hormones in the body. BPA (bisphenol A) is a xenoestrogen found in plastic water bottles which leaches into the water and is ingested when we drink it. Plastic bags and water bottles are not only wasteful but damaging to us and our environment.
Where can you remove harmful chemicals from your everyday life and swap them for other reusable options? ShopDiva now sells cute tote bags! —which are perfect for everything from carrying your laptop to picking up groceries. Ditch the plastic shopping bags for one of these instead.
Cycle Two—Conserve WaterHave you tried emptying your menstrual cup or disc in the shower yet? This is a great opportunity to get your body clean and feel refreshed while on your period.
We often recommend practicing inserting and removing your cup while in the shower to get more comfortable with the process. By emptying your cup/disc once a day while you’re already in the shower, you’re taking a small, sustainable step towards saving water.
Choose a 3–4-minute song and use this as your allotted shower time. As we work to conserve natural resources, we can also become more efficient with our self-care. This will prove helpful if you find yourself in a constricting public bathroom stall, wanting to empty your cup/disc quickly and efficiently.
Cycle Three —Reduce Your Toxic LoadOur homes (and bodies) are full of toxic chemicals like xenoestrogens that disrupt the delicate balance of our hormones. Hormonal imbalances can mean longer, heavier or more painful periods, or over the long-term, the development of menstrual disorders like PCOS and endometriosis.
By reducing this load, starting first with a 100% medical grade silicone menstrual cup or disc instead of pads and tampons, you can help detoxify your life and the planet. What other natural choices can you make for other personal care products?
Everything from what you clean your home with, to what you wash your hair with needs to be taken into account. Look for natural alternatives that won’t pollute our ecosystem or your body. Even better, find a local refill store with natural shampoos, body washes, and laundry detergents, and bring your own jars. Start with one product this month and from there, slowly add on.
Cycle Four—Exercise for the environmentCan your regular commutes become a walk or bike ride instead? Now that the weather is nice, using physical forms of transportation allows us to get outside and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, regular physical exercise helps improve hormone balance, reduce the occurrence of menstrual cramps, and improve our overall health and wellbeing. Break up your day with activity, exercise on your commute, and protect the environment for future generations.
Cycle Five—Reduce, reuse, and recycleHelp yourself get adequate and restful sleep by conserving energy used at night; turn down or off more lights, reduce screen time, and create a relaxing atmosphere.
Set boundaries to conserve the energy in your house and in your body by performing certain tasks, like doing laundry at off-peak hours, like on weekends when you’re not balancing a busy workday also.
By getting creative and making small, incremental changes in our everyday lives, we can improve our individual health, as well as the livelihood of our planet.
- UCLA. “How Riding a Bike Benefits the Environment.” Transportation, 13 May 2021, transportation.ucla.edu/blog/how-riding-bike-benefits-environment.
- Yang, Chun Z., et al. “Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 119, no. 7, July 2011, pp. 989–996, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/, https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1003220.