Period products like tampons, liners and pads, are made with plastic, which has negative ecological impacts on our environment. These products can take up to 450 years to decompose in landfills, sewer systems and waterways. If you are looking for more ecologically friendly period products, take heart! There are many reusable options on the market to consider.
Consider the options available
Over the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use an average of 4,000 pads and tampons, so there are ample opportunities to find the right reusable product.
Trina, mother of a 12 year old, offers advice on how she helps her kids choose the right products.She says, “my advice to other parents is to talk to your child. Let them know what's out there - explore it together and ask them what they think works best for them. I try to have several options available at home for when they are needed. We went to the Knix store with one of my child's friends and their mother.”
“We let the kids pick out the styles they found most comfortable and then went out for ice cream. We made it into a special day.”
When menstruators have access to credible information, it can help them better understand their bodies, make good decisions for their health and make informed choices about which menstrual products to use.
Angela, mother of two shared, “I used disposable pads until I was a young adult because my mother was worried that using tampons meant you weren't a virgin so she told me to just use pads! As a nurse, it was very important that my kids only have accurate information (unlike what I was taught!) so they were given factual information about [period products] right from the start.”
“Figure out what works best for you”
Finding the right reusable product can take time. Angela suggests, “figure out what works best for you, and what your preferences are for each stage of your period. For my teens, they prefer cloth pads just overnight and on days they'll be home so they don't have to change them somewhere else.”
The demand for more sustainable period products has increased and fortunately options have never been greater. Start exploring different products out there!
Periods have no gender. But many of us don’t think about that. Hi, I’m Sammi Ho (she/her) and I am the Community Engagement Strategic Associate at Friends of Ruby. Friends of Ruby is dedicated to serve 2SLGBTQIA+ youth through free counselling, case management, and transitional housing. This year, we’re teaming up with The Period Purse to highlight how periods really do have no gender!
For the 2SLGBTQIA+ youth that we serve at Friends of Ruby, financial barriers can be a challenge that they face. Free period products address this challenge and provide accessibility for youth.
Menstruation for trans youth can be challenging due to the gender dysphoria that can be experienced when purchasing period products. Providing period products in a free and discreet way alleviates the stress that may come with purchasing period products; thus, eliminating barriers to access.
It is important to have period product options for those who have periods. This maximizes the comfort experienced when menstruating. Access to reusable products is not only environmentally friendly, but also a financially conscious option for those who have financial barriers.
Do you want to learn more? Or know someone who would love this information? Friends of Ruby has a number of programs that are available at the drop-in centre, for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth (ages 16-29). Upcoming programs are the following:
Expressive Arts Program – for 2SLGBTQIA+ newcomers
Registration form: https://lla877wv5p4.typeform.com/to/tvnuXDqg
Harm Reduction Program – every Monday from 1pm-3pm
Period Information Session – financial barriers and reusable products (stay tuned later this Fall for this announcement in collaboration with The Period Purse)
It was one idea, and many months later we created a period tracking app!
It was the summer of my grade 11 year, when I learned about youth participation with The Period Purse (TPP )- it was an opportunity to create a period tracking app. Students from a University of Toronto club were looking to collaborate with a nonprofit organization to turn an idea into reality. We had to “keep this project confidential” until it launched. After working on the app all school year, Menstruation Nation (M. Nation) went live in the app store in May 2022!
Creating this app wasn’t easy, there was a lot of behind the scenes work to make this a reality. It required many hours of commitment from the entire team. We had bi-weekly meetings to discuss details ranging from design elements, privacy and security to launch plans for the project.
One important detail was to ensure that users privacy and personal data would not be shared. We also wanted a design that was user friendly, seamless and smooth for an enhanced user experience. But mainly, we wanted an educational app. And an educational app, it is! It includes a series of educational snippets about menstrual cycles and how to manage periods with dignity.
After collaborating on several technical aspects of the project, the most rewarding part for me was filming the official brand video of the app with a professional crew. It made the project feel real. The entire team is incredibly proud that an official app was created!
I was given the opportunity to work on a rewarding task, and volunteering with the TPP has been a wonderful experience. Here’s to Menstruation Nation app reaching as many menstruators as it can.
On my way to work one morning, I was listening to “Metro Morning” on CBC Radio and heard Jana Girdauskas being interviewed about The Period Purse. This was the first time I heard about menstruators who had no access to period products and would have to use whatever items they could find, such as newspaper, paper towels, and socks. This opened my eyes to a situation I never realized existed, and I knew that I wanted to help. I needed to be a part of this organization and help menstruators.
When I got home that day, I looked up the website for The Period Purse, clicked on the “Contact Us” page, and expressed my interest to get involved. A few days later I had a conversation with the Chapter Coordinator to learn more. My choices for involvement were to run a mini drive or jump right into being a chapter leader. We decided together that I would run a mini drive and then decide if I wanted to pursue being a chapter leader. I organized a mini drive with my yoga teacher training friends, collecting products and hosting a packing party, making period packs and loading up purses. Later, I was able to donate these to a local shelter and see the impact that we made. I was hooked! Following the mini drive, I signed up to be a chapter leader for the city of Mississauga, and then joined another chapter leader and formed the Dufferin-Peel Chapter. Over the past four years, we have donated over 150,000 period products. I feel like I am making a difference in peoples’ lives and I am so grateful to be able to do this.
As of June 2021, we currently have chapters in Toronto, Durham, Dufferin-Peel, Halton, York, Saugeen Shores, Sault Ste. Marie, Wilmot, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina.Currently, we are on the search for more chapter leaders across the country. Do you want to help reduce period poverty in your town? Then why not think about joining our team. We can provide lots of support and suggestions on how to successfully run a blitz, from finding locations for collections to how to locate where to donate the products that are collected. The team meets quarterly to share ideas and best practices and support each other, and blitzes can be run once or twice a year. No matter how small, you can make a difference – contact us today to see how you can get involved.
I’m a privacy professional and until recently, I kept track of my period in my iPhone’s Notes app because I don’t want my data being shared with anyone else or used for advertising.
Recently, I downloaded the Menstruation Nation app and entered the first day of my last period. Why would I download an app that is “by youth, for youth”? Because youth get it! They understand privacy, they demand it, and when they don’t find it they build it themselves.
The Privacy Pro worked with The Period Purse and UofT Blueprint to create the privacy notice for the Menstruation Nation app, our whole team was honoured and excited to help. Collecting sensitive health data, especially about young people, is risky. Privacy laws are strict and it can be difficult to implement strong enough security controls to prevent the data from being lost or stolen.
The Period Purse team explained they would not be collecting any personal information, and we went from worried to thrilled! The next generation understands privacy, they care about it, and they’re actually building it.
The Menstruation Nation (M.Nation) app stores all the data locally on your Apple devices (it’s only on iOS right now). There is an option to login using your Apple ID and download your data onto iCloud - useful if you’re changing phones and don’t want to lose it. The feature is off by default, and none of the functionality relies on it. The Period Purse does not and cannot collect or access any data - no one can, except the user.
I’m proud The Privacy Pro played a very small part in the Menstruation Nation app, and sincerely congratulate The Period Purse and U of T Blueprint on developing a first-of-its-kind privacy focused app!