On average, women menstruate from age 13 to age 51 which means the average woman has over 456 total periods over a course of nearly 40 years. According to research conducted by San Francisco State University, 2,280 days of a woman’s life is spent on her period. Or, 6.25 years of her life. While there are other options, nearly 70 percent of women use tampons during their periods. SFSU states that as women are instructed to change their tampons every 4 to 8 hours, with 6 hours being the average and a box containing 36 tampons costing $7 at a Pharmacy, women spend $1,773.33 in a lifetime on tampons (that’s if that price of tampons stays the same). That’s a pretty big chunk of change but…
Here’s the thing, to some people that might not be a lot of savings in a lifetime, but what about in terms of the environment? Traditional pads and tampons are typically made of plastic, rayon, and toxic chemicals like bleach which fill topple landfills and clog sewers. Each year, 20 billion menstrual products are ultimately dropped in North American landfills. With the average woman throwing away 250 to 300 pounds of “pads, plugs, and applicators” in her lifetime, that’s a heck lot of space on our planet to be taking up.
Fortunately, that can be saved. From cotton pads to menstrual cups there all kinds of comfortable, affordable, and easy ways to save the planet with your period alone. Check them out!
No matter how old you are, you’ll always remember what it was like to get your first period. Of course, we all have different experiences with them. For some, our first periods were kind of a bit traumatizing. For others, it was was one of the most empowering moments of our lives.
To celebrate our first periods, we asked FIERCE Latinas to share their experiences and the stories were both sweet and hilarious.
Check out some of the stories below!
This gift from god period.
“I got mine on Christmas when I was 12, and my aunt was like “it’s a gift from God!” – 444nates
This one that sparked tears.
“I was 11 and it was Valentine’s Day in sixth grade. I was wearing black pants but I was so scared to tell anyone so when I got home I tried to cover it up like nothing happened. The next morning when I woke up for school my sister was the one who noticed because there was blood on my shorts. She called my mom and my mom came home from work and cried because “I was a woman now” so then I started crying cause I was scared 😂 my mom let me stay home from school for the week and my dad told her she should stay with me so I’m comfortable.” – lichensnfronds
This one that came to church.
“I got mine during morning Sunday mass. I felt wet and I went to bathroom and when I looked down I was like, “oh god it’s happening awww man. I shouldn’t have made fun of yesenia for getting her’s last week.” – angiemhrndz
What is it with periods on holy days, seriously?
“Easter Sunday. 10 years old almost 11, I freaked out in the bathroom of the church.” – dearmelrose
This one that gives Remember the Alamo a different sentiment.
“It was Summertime and our parents always had different activities planned for us. This particular day, we were visiting The Alamo. I was 10 and right before leaving I made that last minute bathroom trip when I realized I got my period. I called my mom and she immediately gave me a pep talk & the stuff I needed, I already knew about it but was surprised. I was like “We’re STILL going to The Alamo?!” Needless to say “Remember The Alamo” has an entirely different meaning for me!!” – tish1972
This one that took some time to share with her mom.
“I was 16 when I got my period… and I was scared didn’t told my mom until late that day. I was using two chones meanwhile.” – tatiana.r92
And this one that came at a really bad time.
“I got mine on Father’s Day with my brother and dad at the movie theaters I went to the bathroom and didn’t know what to do because I had nothing with me and my dad knocked on the door and told me to hurry up and what was taking so long so I put a lot of paper and waited till I got home.” – _jessica_silva17
This one that traumatized.
“11 at home, I think!? I had an older sister and classes were they gave us free pads and educated us on the subject. Still traumatizing lol.” – k.cuzco
This one that came a bit early and at a hard time.
“I was a little over a month shy of 10 years old. My mom was in prison and I was living with my dad and his new wife. (Who 20+ years later is still not a mom to her own children so she def wasn’t tryin to be mine) My friend had stayed the night and we were just waking up. I was crying in the bathroom so she got my dad, who got his wife, who said “it’s okay, you’re fine. ” Then handed me a pad she received from the hospital after giving birth to my brother a week or so prior. When my mom called that day she started crying and apologizing for not being there for me. I swore to my girls I’d be there for them always. When my almost 12 year old called me a few Saturday mornings ago from her dad’s house and let me know she had gotten hers, I jumped outta bed and went straight to her. I can’t do anything about the way I grew up, I can only make sure my daughters have a better go of it.” – xicana_402
This one that made her think she was dying.
“11 and the bus ride home from school. I thought I was dying.” – reinders.v
“Started one morning that I had basketball practice before school in 8th grade. Mom couldn’t drive me so I had to walk myself to school, got in trouble for being late, and I remember wanting to cry cause I was both shook and pissed off for being punished by mother nature AND my coach.” – cynthia_a7
When a baby came the same day as her period.
“My mom had just given birth to my brother (I was 10) and I was at the hospital. My grandma ran out and said,”it happened! A baby and a period in the same day!” – ashleylynne92
This one that came with a super sweet gift.
“I was 9 & at the apple store bc my uncle was kind enough to buy me an ipod and i geniuenly thought i had peed myself or something and i told my mom but she got confused and told me to hold it till we got home. then i went to the bathroom when i got home and panicked so i told my mom and she had to just do a mini explanation.” – crystalramirezx
This one that ruined a pair of super cute shorts.
“12 was ecstatic to wear my new all white glitter shorts. Summer vacation, I step out my room feeling my myself passed my dad he nearly fainted (didn’t say a word) went to my mom a floor down and I was about to sit in the white sofas we had before I twirled for my mom to show her my outfit when she stopped gasped and told me to shower. The rest I don’t remember what happened, I do know we threw my shirts away. Wore them for maybe 30 mins.” – gu.pita
This one that was poorly timed because of an RBD announcement
‘Back when RBD announced they were splitting up 🥺 worst week ever tbh.” – josiiiee__
This super sad story that ended with being bullied.
“oh boy do i remember. So I was in private school with 75 students. And out of all the students I was the last one to get it. I was 14 years old everyone in my school was considered a woman and I was always made fun of because I was still a child (their words not mine) so the day I got mine somehow Everyone in my school found out. And some asshole’s decided to put condoms in my backpack I didn’t know they put him there so when I went to open my backpack day fell out and I was sent to the principals office and I had to explain to her that I was being bullied because I was the last one to get my. At that school. middle school dont ever want to do that again.” – memylerena
And this story that proves no shorts are safe when it comes to first periods!
“I was about 11 years old. I was playing outside with my primas and I remember feeling my biker shorts (it’s was the 90’s lol) get wet. I ran to the bathroom and I was bleeding. I called for my mom and my prima @d_quiin came to the bathroom and explained to me what I should do. I remember her telling me, not to eat lemon and other things meanwhile on it. Lol!” – esperanza_and_friends
There is no secret that our planet is experiencing an ecological crisis. From flash flooding in Indonesia to a three-year drought that led to unprecedented and lethal bushfires in Australia, the first three weeks of 2020 have reminded us that as a species us humans have basically sucked at achieving a balance with other animal species and with the natural world in general. We are at the brink of either going into a deep well from which we might not come back, or hitting the PAUSE button and making some significant changes.
Here’s a success story about creative ways of using free and inexpensive materials to curb our consumption of single-use plastic products.
Our dependence on single-use plastic plates and containers is not only harmful to the environment, but frankly stupid.
Think about the amount of plastic you use in a single day. From the coffee lid that you throw away after finishing your latte to the plastic cutlery at the fast food court, plastic bags at the supermarket and plastic toothpicks, to water bottles and a long list of products that frankly make no sense… all of those contribute to increased levels of pollution. Just think about how silly it all is: that lid that you threw away or that Starbucks cup will exist way after your body has turned into ash or compost. Yes, it might sound dramatic, but it really is how illogical the use of plastic is.
So in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, corn husks have become the perfect alternative after Styrofoam was banned in the municipality.
The town of San Miguel de Allende, a traditional town and gringo-retiree central, has banned Styrofoam. Instead of complaining like many chilangos (Mexico City natives) did when plastic bags were banned, vendors in the picturesque San Miguel have resorted to a much more friendly and overall cooler alternative: corn husks.
This is a great idea not only because otherwise they get thrown away or turn into compost, but also because it is a resistant material and can even give some extra flavor to some traditional dishes. Such is the case of esquites, a scintillating concoction of corn, mayo, lemon and chili… food for the gods.
As reported by Mexico News Daily, San Miguel’s mayor, Luis Alberto Villareal, is proud of the initiative of banning harmful materials: “We’ve been working all year, but the truth is that the society of San Miguel is very participatory, it’s a committed society, it’s a progressive society, and [getting participation] hasn’t been too complicated.” Good for them!
Mexico City also banned single-use plastic bags.
From January 1 the user of single-use plastic bags was banned in Mexico City. Given that this is one of the world’s biggest megalopolis the move will certainly have a measurable impact. Many complained (of course they did!), but most embraced the initiative.
Of course, plastic bag producers spoke out against the law, as CE Noticias Financieras reports: “Plastic bag producers, distributors and traders marched and demonstrated in Mexico City on Wednesday against a series of bans to make the Mexican capital free of plastic objects that are only used once in the next months.”
Multinational supermarket chains have also responded to the initiative by offering their customers reusable bags. As NFINCE reports: “Walmart of Mexico, Latin America’s largest self-service chain, began with the free delivery of half a million reusable bags to its customers, as part of the one-time plastic and plastic bag disposal agreement, signed with the Government of Mexico City.”
Eco traditional practices are coming back
Even though hipster, gentrified zones of Mexico City have adopted the use of eco bags and all sorts of products that are often overpriced, Mexico City tradition has a long history of uses of bolsas de mercado, bags in which people store their groceries while shopping. This practice is mostly followed by the lower socioeconomic classes, but we are sure they will expand. Using a reusable bag is tradition and hopefully it will make a comeback. We also hope that bags that are usually less that $3 USD don’t end up being a $50 USD hipster commodity!
Natural, compostable plates and containers are used throughout the Global South and it is a long and rich tradition.
All throughout Asia people use sticks or toothpicks and fresh banana leaves to make bowls and plates in which dishes such as coconut rice or amok (Cambodian curried fish) is served. Oftentimes the practices of the Global North are seen as the panacea of progress but there is much to be learned from developing nations and from indigenous communities in places such as Australia, the United States, Mexico and Canada.