From its onset, the menstrual product industry has primarily been marketed toward women — and very feminine women at that. From pink packaging to synthetic floral scents to gendered language, shopping for period care products can be uncomfortable for people don’t identify as women, as well as for girls and women who simply aren’t fans of gendered marketing.
Fortunately, in recent years, many companies have become much more inclusive in this department, and more and more inclusive options keep hitting the market — including some created with sustainability in mind. So, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the most eco-friendly, gender-neutral period products, including reusable pads, menstrual underwear, tampons, and more.
Size-inclusive and gender-inclusive underwear company TomboyX makes leafproof undies for periods in three styles — bikini, trunks, and boxer briefs — most of which are available in sizes from 3XS to 6X. Prices start at $25.
TomboyX, which is a women-owned and queer-owned company, has a goal of becoming a zero-waste operation; in the meantime, the brand has a variety of sustainability initiatives in place, such as using sustainable fabrics (including Tencel Modal and OEKO-TEX certified cotton) as well as biodegradable and recyclable packaging.
Lunette is all about sustainability and menstrual inclusivity. There is a blog post on the brand’s website about the problems with feminine-only language when discussing periods, and the company even shares a few recommendations to make language more inclusive of all people who menstruate, including trans men and boys, nonbinary people, and agender people.
Lunette is best known for menstrual cups ($40) and reusable pads (starting around $33). The company even sells sustainable vibrators — such as the Womanizer Premium Eco which is made from biodegradable and recyclable materials — claiming that “masturbation truly helps to combat period pain.”
Aisle used to be known as Lunapads, but the company rebranded recently — and the more gender-inclusive name is certainly appreciated. The company’s period products are “Made with love for every body.” There are reusable pads and reusable liners (in black and several splashy prints, starting at $16), as well as menstrual cups ($40).
Aisle also makes period underwear in a variety of styles, including boxer brief, slip short, brief, bikini, hipster, and thong (starting at $32), many of which are compatible with Aisle’s “boosters” (an extra layer of absorbent material you can slip into the gusset). Aisle is a certified B Corporation, and for the past five years, the company has been ranked in the top 10 percent of all global B Corps.
Women-owned, Portland-based company GladRags, which calls its customers menstruators, is known for its reusable cloth pantyliners, day pads, and night pads. The pads are available in various colorways, including natural beige, dark green, and a whimsical rainbow pattern, with products starting at $12. GladRags also makes menstrual cups called XO Flo and XO Flo Mini ($35).
GladRags also sells Jade & Pearl Sea Sponges, which are biodegradable and reusable internal menstrual products. The company is also a certified B Corp, and has a mission of making reusable period products more mainstream, and to “empower menstruators everywhere.”
We love that Saalt avoids using gendered language when discussing the Saalt Cups ($29), which also come in a Soft Cup variety, which are designed to be more sensitive. The company also makes menstrual underwear, but the styles are a bit more traditionally feminine and not quite as size-inclusive as other brands on this list.
That said, Saalt has a number of impressive sustainability initiatives. Saalt is a certified B Corp; it is certified as Plastic Negative by rePurpose Global; and Saalt works with several menstrual education initiatives for children in areas experiencing period poverty.
There are also some gender-neutral, sustainable, disposable period products out there.
If for whatever reason, you need to use tampons or disposable pads, there are a few companies out there making single-use period products that are more environmentally-friendly than the conventional disposable brands you see on store shelves.
Public Goods’ tampons are applicator-free, chlorine-free, made from organic cotton, and packaged in a neutral black-and-white box. LOLA makes organic cotton tampons in three varieties: with a cardboard applicator, with a plastic applicator, and without an applicator. The company also sells organic cotton pads and liners, as well as menstrual cups, heating patches, condoms, and more. You can even compost your used cotton tampons in your backyard compost bin.