At The Honey Pot Company, the core pillar of sustainability is accessibility—because if sustainable products are only accessible to a portion of the population, how much of a difference can they really make? “One of the places we look out for the humans who use our products is sustainability around the pricing model,” Dixon explains. “It has to be something an average human can buy on a monthly basis.” The majority of the company’s products, which are widely available at Target, feature clean and natural ingredients, recyclable packaging, and prices under $10—a rarity in the earth-conscious space.
At the most basic level, there’s the waste factor to consider. Recyclable and biodegradable materials—organic cotton pads, bioplastic sugarcane tampon applicators—are great. If you’re looking to have the lowest possible environmental impact, though, “I would recommend reusables,” Brush says. “A cup, a disc, period underwear.” (Menstrual cups, typically made of silicone, sit in the vaginal canal and can be worn for about 12 hours straight, at which point the user removes the cup, cleans it, and reinserts. Discs are similar but sit higher up, under the cervix, which can be more comfortable and allows for sex. Period underwear feature an absorbent core that soaks up menstrual blood, and need to be washed between wears.) “Reusables last about 10 years if you take care of them, so you’re just overall creating less waste,” according to Brush.
That said, reusables aren’t a panacea for the planet or its people. Those with pelvic floor disorders, endometriosis, or cysts typically find cups and discs painful. Those with heavier flows might find period panties unreliable. Neither is a practical or healthy option for those without access to clean water. Your preferences can also fluctuate with your cycle; as Brush says, “Someone might be fine using a cup when their cycle is a little lighter, and when they’re really bleeding heavily, they might want to use a pad.” Others may simply enjoy using disposable tampons or pads more than they enjoy using reusables, and that’s fine, too. (We can stop with the “menstrual cup as environmental savior” narrative now, thanks!)
Going sustainable as an act of self-care is what inspired Dixon to launch The Honey Pot Company. Struggling with chronic bacterial vaginosis, the founder was visited in a dream by an ancestor who “gifted” her with a vision of healing: clean, natural ingredients for her “honeypot.” As the founder points out, synthetic pads and tampons have been found to contain hormone disruptors like phthalates, bisphenols, parabens, and triclocarban as well as known and suspected carcinogens like dioxins and glyphosate. One study suggests that traditional tampon users see slightly higher levels of mercury and oxidative stress. These findings are particularly concerning due to the increased “absorption [into the body] that occurs in the vagina”—and because these chemicals tend to persist in the environment, too. “From the start, everything that we’ve ever done has been all about plant-based clean, whether that’s the textiles or the raw materials that we’re using,” Dixon explains. “That’s really how we can ensure that we’re not gonna harm the human that can actually use our products.” The company’s organic cotton period products are free from questionable contaminants, so even though they’re single-use, you can consider them a win-win for the earth and its earthlings.
Honestly, though, after researching the pros and pitfalls of every sustainable period care option out there, I’m ready to bring back the red tent: a week off work, no pants necessary, just free bleeding into the earth without a cup or a care in the world.
I kid, I kid—but who’s with me?