Zero Waste Period: The Menstrual Cup
Have you ever made the math how many tampons or pads you used since you started to become your menstruation?
An average woman uses roughly 11.000-16.000 tampons in her life. Tampons or pads degrade so slow in a landfill that it actually last’s centuries longer than the lifespan of the women who use it. Mostly wrapped in a plastic bag makes it even more environmental unfriendly. Just imagine all the tampons and wrapper you used already.
Zero Waste Period
If you do the swap to a reusable cup or reusable pads, reusable menstrual undies, you will not only minimize your trash, but depending on what you buy, you will also save a lot of money.
A Cup will cost you between 20-40 Dollars/Euros and then just a little water to wash it. If you take care of it properly you will use your cup for a few years. Tampons cost you around (if we say: 22cents each, if you use 20 a month=52,8$ a year) so you already saved money after using the cup one year. And from then on you are saving about 50 dollars a year!!!
Environmental and personal health
Normal conventional tampons are made with chemicals that have been linked to health risks. They can irritate and dry out your vagina and can cause infections.
Tampons are also bad for the environment. They are made with chemicals (Chlorine for the bleaching progress), they use a lot of pesticides and water to produce the cotton. If you use the plastic applicators, please don’t throw them into the toilet! No kidding, I found a few of them on clean ups already (well I found single use pads too)!
There are awesome companies out there already, producing plastic free tampon applicators!
There are still a few different opinions out there about how health risky tampons are. My Gynaecologist is even saying that pantyliner dry out and are not healthy.
But obviously they all have a bad environmental footprint. So if you want to live more eco friendly and save some money on the long run, skip the single use tampons and pads and switch to a zero waste period by using reusable pads and or menstrual cups.
Where to buy a menstrual cup
- in pharmacies.
- in Europe all the shops like “Rossmann” and “DM” (Stores in Germany) have them
- some organic stores
- Zero waste stores
- even some bigger supermarkets have them in stock already.
- Some women sell them on markets.
- or if you can’t find them in a local shop, then look for them online.
Where to buy reusable pads or panties
- In Zero Waste Stores
- In organic stores
- and if you don’t have a special shop in your area, check them online!
How to use a Menstrual Cup:
- You basically wash your hands, fold the cup and insert it and it should create a vacuum. You need to practice it a few times. In the morning, it may sit a little way back, so you shouldn’t try to change it straight after getting out of bed.
- You can use it for up to 10-12 hours before you need to empty it. Always depending how strong you are bleeding though.
- If it doesn’t sit properly it could leak. Some women use a reusable pad too, just in case.
- Another reason why it could leak could be you need a different size. I was lucky that I just bought one cup and it fit perfect.
Perfect for active women
- I use it since a year now and I love how much freedom I have while hiking the whole day or being on a long bus trip or going for a run or swimming. Sometimes I totally forget about it…. That didn’t happen the time I still used Tampons.
- If you happen to empty the cup in a public bathroom without a private sink, make sure to wash your hands before entering the toilet and swipe the cup with some toilet paper. I know a lot of women doing so if no private tap and sink in the bathroom and they (me included) had no problems at all. Just make sure your hands are clean!!!
- After your period is finished for the month, you should sanitize the cup. Boil it for about 5 minutes in a pot of water. The best way to prevent any damage would be to use a stainless steel sieve, so the cup won’t get burned on the hot bottom of the pot.
- Put it back into your menstrual cup bag and if you start all over again next month just make sure to give it a wash with some hot water before the first use.
- (You can find more informations how to use it online like this one here.)
Tips for a Zero Waste Period: Against Cramps
I do have cramps on the first or second day of my period. Lower back pain or abdominal cramps. And sometimes it is necessary to take a pain pill to get some sleep or to have a “normal” day for work.
But I always try to avoid painkiller pills, so before I take one I use warmth (hot water bottle or a cherry stone pillow) and tea. There are a few plants helping against period pain. I already tried Yarrow Tea and Alchemilla Vulgaris. They did work quite well, so I am using well less pain killer than before.
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