Switching to a menstrual cup is not only great for the environment, but great for your body, purse and convenience.
What is a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups are small cups made from body-friendly materials, used during menstruation to collect blood.
Menstrual cups can be used for up to 12 hours and recent reviews indicate that these eco-friendly devices are just as effective at preventing leakage as tampons.
There are lots of different brands out there, all offering various features. If you’re on the lookout to make the switch, it’s worth having a little read of which one you think might work for you.
What are the benefits?
Good for the environment
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of a menstrual cup is its ability to help us cut down on waste.
According to menstrual cup makers Mooncup, a woman uses around 11,000 disposable sanitary products throughout her lifetime. Shamefully, most sanitary pads are made of 90% plastic! The trouble with disposable sanitary waste is that it either ends up in landfill, incinerators, or our oceans. None of these are good!
Globally, it is estimated that an excess of 45 billion (!) sanitary products are disposed of each year. In an experiment in 2013, nearly 28,000 used tampons and applicators were found on beaches around the world on one single day!
Menstrual cups are reusable, and last for years, which massively reduces the amount of throwaway sanitary waste we create. According to OrganiCup, another manufacturer, the lifespan of their cup can mean more than 2,400 pads or tampons per user are prevented from entering the environment or landfill. This is a huge amount.
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s not just the sanitary waste that’s an environmental issue; the creation of products such as tampons and pads involves a whole lot of water thirsty cotton production, insecticides, pesticides, and plastics.
Also, for a woman trying to create a more sustainable wardrobe, plastic sticky pads are not doing anything for the longevity of underwear.
The vast majority of women who have switched to using a menstrual cup say that it feels like a gentler (and greener) option all round.
Saving money and ending “period poverty”
An article published in 2020 by the Metro estimated that based on the average figure of using 11,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime (and it could be more depending on flow) a woman spends around £4,000 on tampons and pads. Based on the cheapest cups priced at around £10 (whilst acknowledging that prices can be up to £30) this cost would be reduced to around £200 per lifetime on cups. So even with a more expensive cup, the menstrual cup looks to a much, much cheaper option in the long run.
It’s generally recommended that menstrual cups are replaced every couple of years. However, they can last much longer if sterilised and cleaned properly.
Menstrual cups are said to have an increased collection capacity than tampons/ pads meaning less frequent changes. Some cups have 3 times as much holding power than a regular tampon. Having that one item also reduces the need to carry around spare items in bags (or non-existent pockets!).
Kinder to you
One of the main differences between a cup and a tampon, is that tampons absorb flow and a cup simply collects flow. When tampons absorb menstruation fluids, they can also dry up natural fluids and leave fibres behind. Menstrual cups can help to retain that healthy moisture and natural balance, even when periods are light. In addition, cup wearing reduces the rare risk of toxic shock syndrome experienced by some tampon users.
Learn more, and brands to try
Mooncup: some great resources about menstrual cups on their website https://www.mooncup.co.uk/why-mooncup/
Saalt: with particularly helpful website at https://www.saaltco.uk/pages/how-to-saalt
(NB: we provide this information for convenience only and these are not recommendations or endorsements)
Consider experimenting with a menstrual cup – the cost savings and environmental benefits are hugely significant and there is nothing to lose by trying.