Disclaimer: I am not paid by any of the below organisations (I wish). I paid for both the Thinx and Freedom Cup with my own money, because I was sick of regular menstrual products. All the other products I’ve linked are available in Singapore.
1. Know your flow.
Specifically, know approximately how much you bleed per day and prepare accordingly. My first two days are the worst so I would wear Thinx and cup. If you’re just wearing Thinx and your flow is similar to mine, bring another two sets so you can change in the middle of the day if you have to.
If you’re doing the cup and Thinx combo, you could bring another set of a Thinx just in case the Thinx gets full by the cup leaks, or just cos you like feeling dry.
2. Get prepared.
There are a number of Zero Waste alternatives out there, including organic tampons, reusable cloth pads, Thinx or other period underwear, sea sponges and menstrual cups. Pick your weapon(s) of choice and be prepared to wield them.
If you bring them along with you in your bag, you’re less likely to be caught unawares and then have to rush across the road to buy uncomfortable pads that feel like diapers, which I may or may not have done.
You’ll also not have to borrow them from any friends, who may not have what you’re used to (in this case, the zero waste alternative). If you do forget though, borrow by all means.
Also most of the reusable options usually mean you will see blood and you will have to wash it out. It does take some getting used to.
On my flight to Paris I noticed that the cup was leaking and filling up very fast, not sure why. I ended up spending a lot of time in the toilet on the plane, washing out the underwear and trying to take out and reinsert the cup. Eventually somewhere 20,000 feet in the air I managed to do both and I spent the rest of my flight in a clean pair of Thinx. I did ask the stewardesses for pads but it took them so long to respond I eventually fell asleep instead… to wake up to two pads in the seat pocket. I donated them to my bestie.
She’s also got the rest of my pads that I’d previously bought, so I’m now committed to this zero waste way of having my period. It helps to save me money, and is less worrisome so it works for me.
4. DIY pain relief
I bought $6.85 worth of Panadol this time as my cramps were pretty bad, but you can DIY a heating pad at zero cost (and zero waste) to you. An alternative is MenstruHeat, a local company that does subscriptions and delivers the heating pads to you monthly, although not really zero waste.
Other alternatives seem to be exercising, using essential oils, resting, taking more calcium, adding more vegetables to your diet.
5. Buy sustainable toilet paper.
If you’re like me, you use an especially large amount of paper during this time. You could also use a bidet or a hose to wash down the area and then wipe with a cloth but I find it much easier—but more wasteful—to use toilet paper. The alternative is bamboo toilet paper from brands like NooTrees or Cloversoft.
That’s all I’ve got at the moment. If you have any other ideas, leave them in the comments below!