Sanitary pad and menstrual tampon on a pink background

(© Alexander Borisenko -

NEW YORK — Although COVID quarantine may be pushing some back to single-use plastics, a new study finds many are doubling down on becoming eco-friendly. According to new research, nearly half of respondents (49%) say 2020 was their most sustainable year yet.

The poll of 2,005 respondents also finds over half (52%) continue to worry about their environmental impact. The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with DivaCup, polled respondents who menstruate to examine the connection between using period products and recycling and how people approach their carbon footprint in general.

In 2020, 32 percent reveal they increased their use of eco-friendly personal hygiene products like soap and shampoo. Other top ways people have become more green include using reusable water bottles (36%), getting reusable Tupperware (32%), investing in reusable products for the home (21%), and buying reusable period products (17%).

Carbon footprint anxiety

Eco friendly periodNearly three in four respondents (73%) say they worry about their carbon footprint. Forty-two percent believe that menstrual pads take between one and 100 years to biodegrade after heading off to a landfill.

Seven in 10 are aware that tampon applicators from sewage outfall are the most common form of trash washing up on beaches around the world. Of those surveyed, 61 percent agree that they would prefer to use products by brands that prioritize environmental sustainability and care.

Similarly, the same number add they would try a reusable menstrual cup if they knew that, after the life cycle of the menstrual cup, it could be safely and responsibly recycled. Despite this concern, over half the poll (53%) struggle with finding menstrual care products that are both eco-friendly and work well.

“Being environmentally friendly in all aspects of your life can prove difficult — particularly for those who menstruate. Diva is announcing their first-ever national menstrual cup recycling program across North America this month,” says Carinne Chambers-Saini, CEO and Founder of Diva International, makers of the DivaCup, in a statement.

The period product predicament

Eco friendly periodThree in five respondents have absolutely no idea what goes into tampons and their specific ingredients. Of those surveyed, 47 percent wrongly think tampon applicators do eventually break down.

Unfortunately, many people are not maintaining a sustainable lifestyle — especially when it comes to their periods. Forty-three percent of the survey say they are least likely to buy sustainable period products.

Over half (53%) struggle to find menstrual care products that are eco-friendly and actually work well. However, some blame their local governments for the inability to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Over seven in 10 respondents say they find it difficult to recycle because of the local guidelines in place.

“It is imperative that we have sustainable solutions not only to period care, but also to how we dispose of our period care products,” adds Carinne Chambers-Saini.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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