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Waste-free periods are possible, here’s how!

Ditch wasteful, potentially toxic and irritating tampons and pads! We have the solutions for you if you want a garbage-free period!

Have you ever run out of tampons or pads in the worst situation? Do chemicals in conventional menstrual products bother you? Are you afraid of toxic shock syndrome? Or are you just sick of the heap of garbage that remains at the end of your period? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you may be happy to hear, that you can avoid these problems, by switching to reusables!

The feminine hygiene products you choose make a difference in your comfort, health, and in the environment too. Most feminine hygiene products are made of large quantities of nondegradable plastics, that have huge environmental impact, considering that a woman throws away approximately 10000 tampons and pads in her lifetime. Additionally, there is research about harmful chemical residues in them. Of course some of these problems can be solved by using biodegradable, all-natural and organic disposable products, but still the financial and the environmental costs will be greater compared to washable ones. There are some circumstances where you might still use them, for example if you travel and don’t have the space and tools to wash and dry the pads. But for everyday situations, menstrual cups and reusable pads are very comfortable. These products will save you huge amounts of money and garbage in the long run, and you won’t have to refill your stash every month.

Some women start using them only at home, then later make the complete switch. If you decided to give it a go, you can choose outer or inside protection. Many former tampon users like to use menstrual cups, whereas from disposable sanitary napkins it is easier to switch to cloth pads. Just start experimenting with a few different sized cloth pads and/or a cup, to decide which is right for you! You won’t regret it ;)

Emilla Pads

If you are a regular pad user, then using Emilla pads won’t be a big change in comfort, because they are extremely thin, and easy to use. The only difference is that you don’t throw them away!

Emilla pads are developed by a designer called Mónika, who learned the method of sewing cloth pads from her grandmother. The beloved grandma, who Mónika called Emilla, sewed cloth pads with her friends during World War II, because it was hard to get fabric and other materials. Years after her grandma passed away, Mónika started to research if there was a business opportunity in manufacturing cloth pads. She found out that there is an ongoing trend in the world, but it didn’t reach Hungary yet, so she jumped right in. She combined the inspiration from her grandma with lovely, cool patterns, and modern materials, to create hip and comfortably waterproof pads. The company also puts an emphasis on reducing waste during the production! This is how these cute reusable face wipes were made from the scraps:

How to use a cloth pad?

The Emilla pads have snapped wings which work exactly like the wings of disposables. Just snap it on your panties, and you’re good to go! After a while, when you feel it’s time to change, you can unsnap it and rinse, or if you are not at home, you can fold and snap it to make a water-proof package. Just make sure, that the waterproof layer is outside!

You can even buy a water-proof wetbag made by Emilla, to store the pads while you're away! It is also great if you want to discretely carry the pads to the restroom while at work, because they look exactly like a cute make-up bag:

To avoid staining, you need to rinse the pads in cold water. (If you do it with warm water, that will only set the stain!) It is best to rinse as soon as possible, but you can even do it at the end of your cycle. Continue the rinsing until the water that you squeeze out becomes clear. Most of the times you won’t need any special treatment to get the stains out, but if you do (for example on a white fabric), you can use natural laundry soap.

Throw the rinsed out pads in the washing machine at 30°C. Use washing soda as a detergent, and vinegar in place of fabric softener! It is best for your health and the environment, plus it makes the pads last longer! It is especially important not to use fabric softeners, because they can reduce the absorbency of the fabric, besides being irritative and unhealthy.

Choosing the right pads

Emilla has a great varieties of pads, that you can choose from according to your flow. The thickness is indicated with different moon phases. The smallest absorbency is a crescent moon, the medium is a half moon, and the highest is a full moon. But even the thickest one is much slimmer than most cloth pads, which is usually a surprise for those who used other brands! And the best is, that no matter how slim the pads are, they perfectly do their job without leaking! Beside thickness there are different shapes that vary from the tiniest panty liners to post partum pads. The smaller sizes are great as panty liners, and as a back-ups for a menstrual cup or tampon. The bigger sizes you can choose from according to flow. Look at their sizes and shapes on this chart below:

 

How many pads will I need?

The short answer: it depends. How long is your cycle? How heavy is your flow? How often do you plan to wash your pads? These are all questions you can consider when thinking about how many cloth pads you’ll need. In general, six to twelve day pads and a few night pads and party-liners are sufficient for most women. You can always start with just a few and add to your stash as you learn more about what works best for you!

Why choose Emilla from all the options? Watch this girl explain:

She tried Emilla pads and loved them! ;)

LadyCup

The LadyCup is a small, smooth surfaced cup with a stem. The cup collects the blood, while the stem helps the removal. Many women especially like using the cup when traveling, due to is bigger capacity and longer safe applicability than tampons. Can you believe you can safely wear one up to 12 hours? Cotton in tampons can strip your vaginal walls of naturally occurring lining, making your lady parts more susceptible to disease.The LadyCup collects the blood instead of absorbing it like a tampon. This way it won’t dehydrate the mucosa, or cause any changes to the natural environment in the vagina which makes it a healthier option.  It is made of the highest quality medical silicone from the EU, with a smooth surface and maximum flexibility. The silicone is free from latex, BPA and phthalates, and it is perfect for those who suffer from eczema or dermal allergies and irritations when using conventional menstrual products. The cup collects more blood than tampons so you can sleep tight up to 12 hours.

If you go swimming, cups are a great option, because they seal the vagina, and can’t absorb the water like a tampon does. You don’t need to worry about a string hanging out either. It is also great for those who do intense workouts!

How to use a menstrual cup?

The first step is to choose the correct size! The LadyCup comes in two sizes: generally, the S one is for women who haven’t given birth yet, and the L is for those who have. You may want to use an extra protection, such as a small cloth pad, to ensure that your underwear won’t get blood on them when you forget to empty cup.

Make sure to wash your hands each time you handle the cup! Disinfect it before the first use, and after every period. You can easily sterilize it by boiling it for 5 minutes. Don’t boil it much longer, because that can harm the material! Make sure to keep the small air-holes on the sides clean, as those help with correct insertion. If it gets contaminated somehow during your period, just boil it and it will be fine. Never store it in an airtight container, only in the small cotton bag that comes with the cup. Shield it from sunlight to avoid discoloration.

Find the right position for you to insert: some women prefer sitting, others standing or squatting. Try to relax your muscles as this will make inserting much easier. Fold the cup and insert it in the vagina, then let it unfold there.

Experiment which fold is the easiest for you! 

When it is perfectly unfolded, a vacuum is created which makes sure there will be no leakage. If it is hard for you to insert, you can moisten it with a little bit of water or water-based lube to make it easier. Empty the LadyCup 2–5 times daily depending on the menstrual flow. Simply grab the stem, and pull it out. Empty in the toilet and rinse it with water, then wash with a natural unscented soap. If you don’t have soap with you, then simple water works fine too. You can change the cup in a public restroom, but you probably won’t have to because you can keep it in for so long. Here's a simple tip for public toilets: wash your hands and wet a paper towel to bring into the stall with you. Then you can safely empty your cup into the toilet, wipe it out with the towel and pop it back in for another dozen hours. 

Each cup has a stem, that helps removing the cup, but some women find its presence disturbing. It depends on the individual’s anatomy how much stem is comfortable for you. You can gradually shorten it to the point where it suits you best. Pay attention not to cut too much, as you cannot replace the stem after you cut it! And make sure that you don’t cut into the actual cup!

 

Are you interested in more zero-waste tips? Read our article!

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