Alternatives to Tampons and Pads

The average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary menstrual products in her lifetime. This means about 20 billion disposable menstrual products end up in North American landfills alone each year.

If that’s not reason enough to consider greener alternatives, big-name conventional tampons and pads have also been shown to contain potentially harmful and even carcinogenic ingredients including dioxins, petrochemical additives, and synthetic fibers, which brands do not legally have to disclose.

So we know disposable tampons and pads create a lot of waste, and that they often contain toxins that are harmful to our bodies. But the good news is that there are a surprisingly large number of alternatives, and we’ve compiled a handy list right here:


Menstrual Cups

menstrual cup.

(Image from

Flexible, re-useable menstrual cups are becoming more popular. They hold more than a tampon and some can be used for up to ten years. There are several brands making the cups, so you can research and find the one that is right for you. Most are made from either rubber or medical-grade silicon (safe for latex allergies), and as bonus, they do not cause dryness like tampons.


Diva Cup:




How-to video:


Sea Sponges

Sea Sponges

Substituting plant-like ocean organisms for tampons might seem like an odd idea, but sea sponges have been in use for thousands of years. They’re comfortable (there’s even an ultra soft version), come in multiple sizes, and reusable for 3-6 months. While they do eventually have to be disposed of, they’re sustainably harvested and biodegradable, so still a better option for the environment than single-use tampons and pads.


Jade & Pearl:

Sea Sponge Company:


Padded Panties

Underwear with an absorbent liner, with a variety of styles for light to heavy flow.

LunaPads Underwear:



Reusable Cloth Pads


These can last for years, and the cotton is usually less irritating than the plastic in disposable pads. Cloth pads are often conveniently machine-washable.


Party in My Pants:


DIY Pads

If you’re of the craftier variety, you can make your very own reusable pads. This method is extremely environmentally friendly, as well as easy to personalize to suit your style and comfort.




Organic Cotton Pads & Tampons

While still disposable, these are not made with pesticides, so may be a better choice for anyone worried about the health effects of conventional tampons and pads. If you want to lessen the environmental impact you can buy organic tampons without plastic applicators.


Seventh Generation:



And our latest news: On August 31, the Women’s Resource Center will be holding a workshop on making DIY pads for the organization Days for Girls, which distributes them to girls and women in need. Stay tuned for more information!

And finally, here’s a Mooncup vs. Tampon Rap Battle. You’re welcome.



The Independent:

Refinery 29:

Center for Young Women’s Health:



Reflections on Pulse

It has been difficult to form words about the horrific attack at Pulse nightclub. I have cried many times. I have painted. I stood and sang with my community at more than one candlelight vigil. But my words have stumbled over my mourning heart. 49 members of my LGBTQ family were viciously murdered, and another 53 were injured- all for daring to love. I say this because the tragedy at Pulse is a terrible reminder that it is still a daring act for queer people to express love in this country. Love for each other, love for ourselves, love for our community, love for who we are.

We are all in danger. And while we are strong, many of us are afraid. Afraid to hold hands walking down the street. Afraid our families will reject, harm, or kick us out if we do not hide our identities (approximately 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, compared to approx. 7% of the general youth population). Afraid we might lose our jobs if our bosses find out who we kiss when we’re off the clock (because it is still legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender in 28 states). And now, afraid of our own spaces. The clubs, bars, and Pride celebrations we have called home, the places that have made us feel validated, given us family, and a place to be completely, authentically ourselves are no longer safe.

It is easy to be silenced by this fear. But it is so important not to be. And I am so proud of all my Albuquerque community has done in response to Orlando. Candlelight vigils, bake sales, queer dance parties, quilt-making, and poetry slams to raise funds for the victims and their families are just a few examples of our resilience, and they give me hope.

It can be difficult to know what step to take next when a tragedy like this occurs, but it is important to remember this is far from the only problem LGBTQ people face. Pulse is an amplified result of the less-noticed, less-publicized violence queer people experience every single day. If you yourself are wondering what you can do to help the LGBTQ community, I have compiled a list of links below to some local (Albuquerque) events, national petitions you can sign and share, and organizations you can contribute to, as a start.

I won’t pretend to have a perfect solution, but I do know that our community has incredible strength, and when we come together, there is nothing we are incapable of. I will continue to fight for justice as long as I am breathing, and I will honor the victims of the Pulse shooting by thriving, dancing, and loving even louder.

Quilts for Orlando in Albuquerque:
Petition to lift the blood donation ban on gay and bisexual citizens:
Pulse Tragedy Community Fund:
Pulse of Orlando non-profit:
The Orlando Youth Alliance (providing safe spaces to GLBTQ youth):
The Trevor Project (resources and suicide-prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth):
True Colors Fund (working to end homelessness among LGBTQ youth):
CAIR, a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization dedicated to enhancing understanding and ending Islamophobia (we must resist the media’s attempts to pit two vulnerable communities against one another by using the homophobic attack at Pulse as an excuse to attack Muslims):
See if your senator voted for background checks, and call or email their office to share your opinion:
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:
Moms Demand Action (gun violence):


October Awareness: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

We’ve seen a lot of purple ribbons and rainbow banners this month, but who can forget the pink ribbons (and tee shirts, football jerseys, etc)?

During October it seems like everything is supporting breast cancer with the simple pink ribbon on their label. So it’s easy to fall into he trap of assuming that buying a box of cereal that has a pink ribbon on it is supporting breast cancer awareness. Upworthy wrote an awesome article outlining five organizations that go beyond just raising awareness, and use pink to make a real impact. Here’s what you need to know about supporting organizations during Breast Cancer Awareness month:

  1. Not all organizations are created equal. As the article points out, the pink ribbon is not trademarked. That means anyone can use it without financially supporting any awareness efforts. The ribbon alone raises awareness, but our efforts can’t end there.
  2. More than awareness. Beyond simply raising awareness, your support in October can go towards three other valuable aspects of breast cancer: finding a cure and funding research, providing support networks for survivors and families, and increasing access to early detection methods. When looking for organizations to support, make sure the organizations are making a real impact towards the lives of those affected by breast cancer.
  3. It’s not glamorous. This year there has been an honest conversation about the realities of breast cancer. Survivors are speaking out against things like “No Bra Day” and revealing that radiation and chemotherapy are invasive and scarring procedures. Follow this brave women’s story about her experience with radiation, and consider thoughtful and intentional mechanisms to raise awareness.

We don’t want to discourage you from raising awareness this month! Raising awareness is the first step towards funding more research, providing support, and getting access to early detection methods. Awareness is the first step, but it can’t be the last.

lgbtq flag banner

October Awareness: LGBTQ History Month

In case you missed in, National Coming Out Day was on October 11. The WRC was so excited to support UNM’s LGBTQ Resource Center in their event celebrating a day for individuals to come out as part of the LGBTQ community, or as an ally. This day began 27 years ago in Washington DC. It continues to matter because the founders believe in the power of people’s stories, and hope that the more people who come out can help to promote equality in the law.

That’s just one fun fact about LGBTQ History – which is being celebrated this month! But what exactly does this month mean?

In 1994 a high school teacher gathered other educators and community leaders to establish a month to celebrate and teach LGBTQ history. October was the perfect month since National Coming Out Day was already established on October 11, and school is in session around the nation.

LGBTQ History Month celebrates 31 icons over the 31 days of October. Each day a new icon and their contributions, biography, and resources is released. The month is a celebration of LGBTQ Heritage, and provides role models for the community. Through celebrating together, the LGBTQ community strengthens and grows, and continues to make statements about civil rights in the US and internationally.

For more about the 31 icons being celebrated this year, click here. Let us know who your favorite is!

lgbtq banner


Impact Ideas: Campus Activities.

For another blog series, we want to share with you what our mentors and menses are doing in the Impact: Mentorship and Leadership Program. We have such a great cohort of young women, and throughout the semester, the mentors will be giving presentations to the rest of the group.

Before Fall Break Aubie presented on Campus Activities and the importance of getting involved. Check out her recap here!

On Friday, September 25th, I presented to mentors and mentees alike. I wanted them to walk away with the idea that Campus Activities are an important piece of the college experience. To do that, I had Debbie Morris, the director of the Student Activities Center, speak for a few minutes about why people should participate in activities. She went over some of her handouts, including the list of chartered groups from the Daily Lobo. I then had the group split up into two mentors and their mentees to go on an expedition around campus to learn about places to get involved, the list was about 20 places like the newly opened Advocacy Center, the SAC, the ASUNM office, and the LGBTQ Center. The expedition went so well because the groups had a fun time exploring campus, taking pictures, and bonding with their cohorts. After the expedition, I went through a simple PowerPoint to teach about the Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why of Campus Activities. The main take away was the last piece: the Why. I boiled it down to 5 F’s: Future, Fun, Free, Food, and Friendship. I wanted each individual to understand that there are benefits outside of simply joining a group. There are so many things that groups provide, from free food and things, to a group of like minded individuals, to a network for your future career. Following this presentation, I hope each viewer finds something that they are interested in to help boost their college experience.

Stay tuned for more ideas from our Impact mentors! Thanks for sharing your experience with us Aubie!

October Awareness: Domestic Violence

October is a busy month! We’re launching a mini series updating you weekly on all the things October celebrates or raises awareness for. Stay tuned for October Awareness posts throughout the month.

October celebrates or raises awareness for the following things:

  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Domestic Violence Awareness
  • LGBTQ History
  • Hispanic Heritage
  • Bullying Prevention

The list goes on… This month we will share with you each of these days, why it’s important that we celebrate/recognize them, and how you can get involved. Up first: Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

ribbonOne of our events for October is to raise awareness and support survivors of domestic violence. Our care packages will contain clothes and toiletries to donate to women and children at Haven House, a shelter for victims. We are excited to see the different this will make in the lives of women in our community, and invite you to be part of the conversation about domestic violence. We are also thrilled to sponsor Alpha Chi Omega’s event “Step Up and Walk for Women” – more details to come!

The New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as:

“as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”

This manifests itself in different forms of abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological.

14 dv statDomestic violence is more prevalent in our society than we might realize. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, and one in nine men will also experience this violence. These statistics are startling close, reminding us that domestic violence does not discriminate based on gender (or sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, education, ability…)

But the most surprising statistic we found from the DVRC was that 50% of girls who grow up in an abusive home will also be victims as adults. Domestic violence is ever present and cyclical in our society. We can stop it by raising awareness and ending stigma towards it, advocating and supporting victims and survivors, and educating our society about the problem and inviting them to be advocates as well.

Will you join us? We hope to see you at one of our care package assembly nights!


Why Sabrina?

The Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship has awarded over $24,000 in scholarship to single mother students attending UNM. This year our scholarship application will be available on October 1st, with applications due at the end of January 2016. Awards will be received in the spring.

So why Sabrina?

Sabrina is the name of the daughter of a previous WRC Director, Sandrea. Sandrea was also a single mother. This scholarship was created from a very personal place: as a single mom, Sandrea understood the challenges and trails that are faced with raising a child, attending school, and making ends meet.

According to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 26% students (4.8 million) are parents. Of these, 71% are student mothers, 11% are single dads, and 43% (2 million) are single student mothers.

Almost half of the student parents currently attending higher education are single mothers. We want to support this large percentage of our student community, and provide opportunities for financial stability or assistance through our Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship. Please apply, and refer your single mom friends to apply as well! Multiple scholarships are given out each year!

Sabrina 16 Flier