If you menstruate, at some point you have most likely thought about just how big the pile of landfill you've created with menstrual products actually is. Here's a few figures for you… if you menstruate every month for say 5 days and frugally use 5 menstrual products a day, then you’re looking at somewhere in the region of 300 products a year. Now if you’re in your 30’s, you’re probably looking at a pile of about 5,000 menstrual products at this stage. Claire explained that research shows there is 200,000 tonnes of period products going into landfill every year in Ireland, so this conversation is seriously worth having, with yourself! As Linnea said:

"There is so much plastic, as everything is individually wrapped."

Linnea Dunne, a writer/journalist and podcaster on women’s health ('Bits of Me’) spoke with Claire Byrne about eco friendly ways of managing your period.

With her heavy flow, she has struggled with regular tampons and pads – always needing a combo of both, and never really got on well with menstrual cups. However she gave period pants a try and will never go back!

Basically they’re like hybrid pants: they look like ordinary underwear but they have period absorbing technology in the gusset. They come with a fairly hefty price tag from €7 a pair in Penney’s to €30 a pair for some of the very fancy pants from Knix of ModiBodi, so Claire asked Linnea if they actually worked?

Linnea explained that she wore the wrong pair on her first day wearing them and had an accident but that was her own fault. Since then she has been sure to match the absorbency of her pants with her flow and hasn’t had a repeat occurrence of the issue.

Then we moved on to the stickier issue of how to clean them. According to Linnea, it’s as simple as rinsing them under a tap (you’ll need to be ok with the sight of blood for this part) and then sling them into the washing machine and you’re done!

Linnea told Claire that had she had access to these pants in her teens it would literally have been a game changer. Teenage girls are so self conscious of having a leak when being active, that it’s sometimes a deterrent from taking part.

And then there are those who just cannot tolerate wearing products due to sensory issues:

‘’I’ve heard of parents who have daughters with autism with sensory issues […] who have said that the experience of having to wear plastic, you know a pad inside your knickers, not just managing that in school […] being able to just have your knickers looking after that for you, they don’t feel any different, they are soft, it’s cotton. That can be such a positive experience for those people for whom that’s really difficult."

Now it’s fair to say that these products are not cheap, however when you consider your personal impact on the environment, the comfort of feeling that you’re just wearing knickers, not to mention your bank balance over the long term, it might just be time to hang up the aul tampons and try something new.

The full interview can be heard here and you can check out Linnea’s website here.