Live Waste Free

Ode to a menstrual cup

Ode to a Menstrual Cup
by Dawn Francom

Ladies… This one’s for you!

Most people shy away from the mention of menstruation, but then again, I’m not most people. There’s been a growing number of issues with our monthly visit, environmentally speaking. Tampons and sanitary pads not only contain dangerous chemicals that can seriously affect your health[1]; but they’re a problem on the environment as well. Disposable feminine products may not be seen after use, but they’re certainly not gone. They land in our water ways and landfills causing issues with the ecosystem. Plastic in both products (that’s right, even your tampons are full of plastic, from applicator and the wrapping, to the actual cotton tampon) takes years, even decades to decompose. Piling up higher and higher with nowhere to go. Now it’s time to ask ourselves a serious question… what’s a lady to do?

I can remember the first time I saw a Menstrual Cup. I was 12 years old and on vacation. A family friend pointed it out and attempted to explain what it does and how it works. I definitely did not understand what she was saying, but I remember being completely repulsed by the idea. Which is a shame that, even way back then, I followed modern marketing schemes. Through the commercials or billboards I’ve seen, tampons and sanitary pads were the way to go. These “disposable” products that had to be bought monthly were seemingly my only options. This way of thinking led me to believe that any alternative (including the menstrual cup) was unsanitary, unhygienic and just plain yucky. If I can’t dispose of it, then what DO I do with it?! Fast forward to now, where I absolutely love my cup.

It wasn’t a very long transition from tampon to cup. Within the first cycle of using it, I was completely hooked. A friend had reintroduced it to me late last year. She started using it and gave it an amazing review. The way she described its simplicity and effectiveness made me want to try it. Using it myself really gave me a new appreciation for the product. Here are my top reasons to try and keep using a menstrual cup.

It’s super delicate and non-harmful. Tampons absorb everything, not just menstrual fluid. This causes the sensitive tissues of our vaginas to get really dry and uncomfortable.  I never really noticed the discomfort until AFTER I started using the cup, but it is apparent now. The super rare occasions I have to use a tampon (and I mean RARE) it’s an instant realization of the differences between the two.

You manipulate it way less. The cup can hold up to 12 hours. That’s twice a day you have to empty it. Twice. That’s it. Versus a tampon or pad which is every 4-6 hours. Sometimes in a busy day, you may not have a chance to get to a washroom. This product takes away the worry. If I can’t get to it until after my shift, so be it. Nothing bad is going to happen.

You save cash. And I mean… lots of it! My cup cost me about 40$ with tax and will last over 5 years with proper care (that’s on the low end, some last way longer). That versus my old spending an average of 10$ every month. It doesn’t sound like such an expense, but when you look at the math it adds up quickly: 10$ a month – 120$ a year – 600$ over the lifetime of a menstrual cup. 600$ is a lot of money that I’d rather spend doing fun things. Not having to buy feminine hygiene products.

Chemical Free. Menstrual cup companies don’t hide behind regulation and laws, they tell you exactly what is in the product. This is because they have nothing to hide from us. The Diva Cup for example, states on their website exactly how their product is made. They also ensure that the silicone the product is made from does not leach into our bodies. Even after it’s been boiled to sterilize (an option). They still ensure that harmful chemicals will not affect our bodies[2]. Now considering how many chemicals (daily) we put into, onto or keep around our bodies. I think it’s nice to have one less worry.

Better Environmentally. Hands down! As I’ve mentioned, the waste from our regular products is becoming a problem. Not only in the actual product, but also in the hidden aspects. Transportation and product packaging are something we often forget but are just as destructive. The average woman will throw away up to 300 pounds of these products over their lifetime[3]. Multiply that by how many women there are in the world who are using these products. Why continue in this negative pattern when we have alternatives?

Now ladies, it’ up to us to make this change. You now know how I feel, but try it out for yourselves! No need for hesitation anymore, the proof is really in the pudding. It was one of my most positive changes and I’m so happy I did it! My only regret is that I didn’t start using it sooner.

[1]  http://www.intimina.com/blog/healthy-period-tampons-safe-use/
[2] http://divacup.com/about-us/quality-and-standards/
[3] http://www.thechicecologist.com/2010/04/the-environmental-impact-of-everyday-things/

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