Think tampons or pads are your only options when that time of the month comes around? While they’re overwhelmingly the most popular choice, there are women reaching for Earth-friendly alternatives.

The average woman will use about 11,400 tampons and throw away up to 300 pounds of feminine hygiene products in her lifetime.  That adds up to almost 20 billion disposable menstrual products in North American landfills each year. And while not everyone thinks those numbers are worth panicking over—they only make up .5 percent of our personal landfill trash, about the same as our use of plastic plates and cups—for those making the switch, here are three environmentally friendly options to choose from:


Menstrual Cups

Made out of latex or silicone, menstrual cups—you may have heard of the DivaCup, Keeper, or Moon Cup—collect menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it.


Washable Cloth Pads

It’s not just concern for the environment that has some women switching to reusable cloth pads. Because pads and tampons are considered medical devices, manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the materials and ingredients they’re made up of—though some estimate that a conventional sanitary pad may contain the equivalent of four plastic bags.


Sea Sponge Tampons

Yes, they’re really the sea sponges that grow on the ocean floor—after they’re harvested, have the outer shell removed, and are cleaned, cut, and shaped. It works just like a traditional tampon, without the waste.


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