There’s not much getting around it: every month, you have to deal with your period. But have you ever wondered, Which causes more damage to the environment—tampons or pads?
Conventional pads, says Anna Davidson, environment team member at the University of Roehampton in London. Although there is no definitive research, pads contain lots of plastic and therefore generally use more fossil fuels in their manufacturing, she says. Plus, conventional pads often take excess time to biodegrade thanks to the extra material, says Alexandra Zissu, co-author of Planet Home and a green living expert.
Reusable cloth pads and tampon alternatives, like the DivaCup or Softcup (which you wash and reuse), are available, but if you’re not ready to fully ditch the disposables, your best bet is to choose organic, non-bleach, non-applicator tampons—they use less plastic and don’t have any artificial fragrances. (One to try: Natracare organic tampons without applicator, $7 for a box of 20, iherb.com)