In my (neverending) journey towards zero waste, I’ve made many small and significant changes. There is one important area I’ve been neglecting somewhat, and that’s my personal menstrual or moontime products. A monthly period over four decades can add up to a lot of waste if you’re using disposable products. There’s already enough shame around women’s bodies and menstruation – the last thing we need is eco-guilt piled on top of that. I’m so happy to see more sustainable period products available to women, including some wonderful locally made options.
I’ve been tapping into my monthly cycle over the last year, and it has shifted my self-awareness and self-care in such impactful ways. I connect with myself through the four “seasons” of my cycle – I manage my energies and even organize work and other responsibilities around these seasons. If you’re interested, I’d love to share my personal experience in a follow up post, but for now check out Episode 12 of the Momgasm podcast: Riding The Crimson Wave – Exploring, Revealing & Celebrating Menstruation: Part Two.
“Traditionally, the Moontime is the sacred time of woman when she is honored as a Mother of the Creative Force. During this time she is allowed to release the old energy her body has carried and prepare for reconnection to the Earth Mother’s fertility that she will carry in the next Moon or month. Our Ancestors understood the importance of allowing each woman to have her Sacred Space during this time of reconnection, because women were the carriers of abundance and fertility…”
– Jamie Same from Sacred Path Cards: The Discovery of Self Through Native Teachings
The Menstrual cycle is such a huge part of the female experience – one that is not often enough talked about openly. I personally feel that our entire cycle should be celebrated through self-care and mindfulness rituals and elevated through beautiful, sustainable period products.
Are you interested in hearing more about cycle awareness? Let me know by commenting on this blog post.
Sustainable Period Product Options
Silicone Menstrual Cup
I bought a Diva Cup last year, and was really disappointed to discover that it wasn’t really an option for me because of my history of pelvic floor issues following my second vaginal birth. (Read more on this here: Your Pelvic Floor and the Diva Cup). At least, it isn’t an option right now – with more dedication to pelvic floor and core strengthening exercises, perhaps things will change. (Keep your pelvic floor strong! Prolapse is one of the more horrifying truths no one warned me about before having children).
I’ve heard great things about these from many friends of mine, so I would recommend giving one a try. They cost a fair bit upfront, but pay for themselves after a few months and can last for up to 10 years if cared for.
Compostable Menstrual Pads
I’ve been using NaturaCare pads for several years. They’re free of plastic, chlorine, dyes, & perfumes; they’re made of plant-based materials, including organic cotton and their packaging is compostable or recyclable; they’re vegan, organic, and don’t test on animals; their company was founded by an woman, is built on high ethical & environmental standards (check out their policy here), and donates part of their profits to causes I can get behind. This is pretty gold standard as far as eco-friendly products go.
Cost: $6 per box x 12 months = $72 / year
These are both fairly sustainable period product options that I’m happy to recommend. However, for me personally, I feel I can do better. Even the most eco-friendly disposable pads need to be manufactured again and again, packaged, and shipped; I have to purchase them from the grocery store or online, and disposal is still an issue (“compostable” is hard to define when programs and facilities vary from region to region).
I used cloth diapers for both of my babies and the idea of cloth menstrual pads makes total sense to me. I’ve been wanting to try them for some time, but the initial investment was holding me back. Enter Lunar Rogue!
Lunar Rogue Cloth Moontime Pads
“These hands were born for this work. My childhood consisted of equal parts sewing with my Mama and roaming the wild forests around my home. I think I was 10 the first time I dyed all my white clothes with dandelion. Since then I’ve learnt a lot about garment construction and dyeing techniques but my love for this work hasn’t changed a bit.”
– Melissa, Lunar Rogue
Natural Indigo Botanical Dye
Natural indigo plant dye has been used across countries and cultures to colour fabric for 6,000 years. Before the textile industry moved to synthetic dyes for things like denim, plant dyes were used to produce that gorgeous indigo blue. Indigo isn’t necessarily one plant, but actually a property of many plants. The natural blue dye is obtained through fermenting the leaves and mixing with a strong base, such as lye. (Fun fact: another natural source of indigo dye is a particular tropical mollusk, or sea snail.)
Here in Nova Scotia, indigo dye can be derived from a few different plants.
- Blue Wild Indigo, or False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
- Woad or Dyer’s Woad or Glastum (Isatis Tinctoria)
- True Indigo (Indigofera Tinctoria)
It makes sense to use Indigo in a menstrual pad, which has such close contact with your body for days every month. Some of its health promoting properties are:
- antibacterial and antifungal
- stimulates the immune system
- sedative and calming
- said to promote intuition
- anti inflammatory
- pain relieving
Studies have shown that wearing garments that have been dyed with traditional, natural plant dyes can directly improve physical well being through being absorbed in small amounts through the skin. It’s also true that when we wear fabric or pads that contain harmful dyes and chemicals, they are absorbed by our bodies to adverse effects. What we choose to put on or in our bodies is so incredibly important.
My review of Lunar Rogue Cloth Moontime Pads
Melissa gave me two of her products to try: Plant dyed organic hemp Moontime pads in two sizes – light flow and medium flow. They are made of several layers of organic natural hemp. Two pads aren’t enough for an entire period, but even just using a combination of cloth and compostable is a great way to transition to cloth. For my last few periods, I used a few compostable pad for day 1, a medium flow cloth pad for day 2, and the light flow cloth pad on the other days.
I found the cloth pads to be soft and warm – I loved the way the natural organic hemp matched my body temperature in a comforting way. When I remembered I was wearing a cloth pad, which wasn’t often, it felt dry and comfortable. Hemp is incredibly absorbent material. When it came time to change the pad, I simply rinsed it under cold tap water and tossed it in with the rest of my laundry. I’ve washed them several times now and they are still soft and a beautiful shade of indigo.
If they are anything like the hemp diapers and inserts I used for my babies, they should last for a very, very long time, which makes them even more worth the initial investment.
I feel so fortunate to have access to such meaningful and sustainable period products. This is a form of self care that connects me more deeply to the earth and honours the body. I plan to invest in my stash regularly until I no longer need to rely on purchasing monthly products at all.
Thank you Melissa! You can purchase cloth pads or other beautiful garments in her Etsy shop or have the pleasure of meeting her and seeing her gorgeous garments in person at local markets and maker fairs – check Facebook or Instagram to find out where Lunar Rogue will be this summer.
*This post contains some affiliate links. When you can find a product locally, I urge and encourage you to support local shops and vendors. If you are ordering online, purchasing through this links is one way to support this blog.