While we’re familiar with empty store shelves since the beginning of the pandemic, bare tampon shelves pose a serious monthly problem for millions of women.
Since Unit Co. is a majority women-owned company focused on social and environmental impact, the issues of women’s health, sustainability, and period poverty are particularly close to our hearts.
If you’ve been tinkering with the idea of trying reusable period products, now is a great time to make the switch, both for your body and for your commitment to sustainability!
For this roundup on alternatives to traditional period care, we focused on the Certified B Corp community. These companies not only provide reusable period care products, but many also provide additional benefits — from minimizing plastic waste to supporting women in underserved communities via their impact business models.
Aisle carries period underwear, menstrual cups, and reusable pads. Their highest absorbency underwear absorbs as much as 8-11 tampons! These products are sustainably made, while focusing on size inclusivity, carrying sizes XXS-5X. As advocates for period care access and education, their donations are made through their partnership with Transformation Textiles, with 50,000 Dignity Kits made entirely from fabric offcuts already donated across Africa and the Middle East.
ApiAfrique products are made in Senegal. They are made by women in Ngaparou (in the area of Thiès) and soon in their Eco-center (an eco-space for training, production, and co-working). ApiAfrique is certified through The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for their cotton and through Oeko-Tex for their waterproofing materials. From reusable makeup wipes and sanitary pads to baby nappies, ApiAfrique carries a range of both baby and female hygiene products that are all created from reusable materials.
Their products are available through their website in the U.S. Their products can be found in stores in Africa and France via this store locator.
With an emphasis on reducing plastic waste, AWWA carries a range of products, everything from period underwear to — yes — bathing suits! Their products are designed to replace pads, with absorbency materials built right into the underwear and suits. The company also steps up big time on charitable donations, committing 2% of revenue each year to those in need via product donations. They also include lots of material information and certifications on this page of their website.
These products are available through their website in the U.S. Some of their products can be found in stores in New Zealand, using this store locator.
When founder Molly Hayward went to Kenya, she met a girl who told her that she would often stay home from school because she couldn’t afford period products. This ignited a spark in Molly, which is what inspired her to start Cora.
Cora sells a range of reusable period products, including period underwear, menstrual cups, and menstrual discs. They also carry organic tampons, liners, and other “cycle support” resources. Cora is dedicated to supplying period education and products to women who would otherwise go without these basic necessities.
Tried and true, the Diva Cup was one of the first menstrual cups to go mainstream. Diva offers a simple lineup of products, carrying menstrual cups and cleaning accessories only. If you’re just starting your journey, this is a good site to check out! Plus, many of their products are offered at large retailers. They also are partnered with Terracycle, meaning their cleaned products can be recycled! (For a look at What’s Next for Period Care, check out the insights of Diva CEO, Carinne Chambers-Saini, at the end of this article.)
GladRags carries both reusable cloth pads and silicone menstrual cups. This simple product lineup houses beautifully patterned liners and menstrual cups, both designed with the aim to cut down on waste. Also, their Hidden Fruit project is a powerful artistic piece that brings awareness to the prevalence of uterine fibroids in the Black community.
When she co-founded Saalt, Cherie started with rigorous standards for a reusable menstrual cup that was both comfortable and effective. After not finding one that met her standards, she set out to create her own. The name Saalt is derived from what the company believes period care should be, “natural, distinct, simple, and elemental.”
Saalt supplies reusable menstrual cups and discs that act in place of tampons. Saalt is also known for its new line of comfortable period underwear, which is designed to act like a pad built right into the material. They are certified plastic negative through their partnership with rePurpose Global. They also delegate 2% of revenue to financial and product donations, so that women everywhere can have access to the period care they need.
This mom and daughter duo set out to make period products that were better for the planet and better for women’s bodies. In addition to being a B Corp, &Sisters is certified through The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Organic Soil Association. It’s also a member of 1% for the Planet. Their transparent supply chain is admirable and their range of products inclusive: reusable menstrual cups, underwear, and organic liners.
&Sisters products are available through their website in the U.S. Some of their products can be found in stores in Europe, the Middle East & Asia.
What’s Next for Period Care?
Period care accessibility and education are still not where they should be. Here are some thoughts from Diva’s CEO, Carinne Chambers-Saini, about what she believes are the next steps toward the future of period care:
“Since Diva’s founding, menstrual equity has been a guiding philosophy of our organization. My personal mission since day one has been to lower access barriers to the products needed to care for one’s period, which is why Diva has donated hundreds of thousands of cups over the last 20 years.
We have come to realize, however, that simply donating products is not enough to eliminate period poverty or achieve true menstrual equity. Diva’s Impact Program was created to address many systemic issues, and to help create change in the lives of people who menstruate.
We are committed to a world where having a period doesn’t hold you back. We believe in a world where women and people who menstruate are free.”– Carinne Chambers-Saini, CEO of Diva
If you are aware of any other B Corps providing reusable menstrual products that were not highlighted here, please let us know so we can add them to this article.