Hello beautiful people! So, I recently made the decision to live a more zero waste lifestyle. Since leaving my childhood home, I always did what I thought would help when it came to recycling and being eco-friendly. I reused plastic grocery bags, I recycled old milk cartons etc… but after a little research, I realised this is not nearly helpful to the degree it needs to be. In saying that, this post is about the ‘feminine products’ so I will focus on that in this post and do a further ‘zero waste’ post at a later date.
So, its pretty much a fact of life for females from puberty to menopause… periods. Though it goes by many names; time of the month, sacred bleeding, menstruation, aunt flo, etc. Periods are regarded to most as inconvenient, messy, gross… though without them, we wouldn’t get that sheer relief of “I’m not pregnant, YAY!” or be able to map out our most fertile times for when we do look at having children… many of us have lost touch with what it means to bleed. I used to think it was inconvenient, messy and gross… but as you grow and learn… perspectives change, which was initially where my eco-friendly start on feminine products began. I started out buying disposables I thought were better because they were organic cotton and had a pretty box (don’t judge it’s all part of the learning process :’D), then dove further into research and came across sea sponge tampons… which to a degree were great don’t get me wrong… for straight walking and sleeping and general daily activities, they held up well. Although, as time went on, I began to resent the rinsing and reinsertion that happened almost as often as you’d change a tampon.. yes they were more eco friendly as they can be composted and break down etc, but more convenient? Not really.
Then I decided to get over my fear and give the menstrual cup a go. I bought a cheap, medical-grade silicon cup off of eBay which turned up mid-cycle.. PERFECT. I could try it straight after a quick sterilisation in boiling water (I do about 5-7 minutes). Though immensely daunting at first, I mean look at it… how could you not, the cup looks huge!
I did a quick search on alternative folds because the C-Fold they recommend with most instruction pamphlets that accompany a menstrual cup looked just as daunting as if I were to just shove it in as is! Find fold alternatives here – Cup Folds. I personally find the “punchdown” fold the easiest, but we’re all different. Insertion is also different depending on the finish of the cup. My clear one has a “shiny” finish so tends to be easier to insert for the most part. The pink one is matte, though easier to grip, I do find for me that this one takes a little bit longer to use. I’ve been using a cup now for about 3-4 cycles and I doubt I will go back.
Now for those of you who are pregnant, religious beliefs don’t allow tampons/ etc to be used, or who are already having postpartum bleeding, there are alternatives to the cup. Reusable/ washable pads and panty liners.
I bought a reusable pad on eBay ( I wanted to test the waters before I get pregnant with a second bubba). The one I purchased (shown above), whilst really pretty in design, was not practical as a means for post partum bleeding. I don’t know a great deal about reusable pads yet, but have heard good things. I urge you to check dimensions before purchase, as I am technically plus size, I found this to not be wide enough and therefore bunched up when fastened. Do your research, check dimensions and if you find one that works, let us know in the comments 😀
Quick notes –
When using a cup:
- If the cup leaks, its not inserted correctly or the seal has not worked. Try twisting it to ensure it seals properly.. you’ll thank me later.
- Make sure you relax as much as possible, avoid inserting whilst lying down… squat or put a leg on the bath or vanity… a deep breath out when you insert it can do wonders.
- Make sure you check you are getting the most appropriate, most come in 2 types: pre-children and post children.
- Cups are not completely zero waste as eventually they do need to be thrown away, but they last around 15 years per cup.
Good luck with your zero waste moon cycle and thanks for sticking with me through this super long post!