Green Your Period with Menstrual Cups
- Wednesday, 31 March 2010
I have always wondered how I could be greener when it comes to that time of the month. But I was too shy to look or ask around for other options.
Recently, I learned about the menstrual cup thanks to an enlightened friend. “It’s so great,” she told me – “and it’s reusable.” I had a lot of anxieties at first – what if it’s uncomfortable? And was it really reusable? But the switch was really easy, and I can’t believe I have been feeling so squeamish all this time.
The Benefits of Menstrual Cups
Generally, menstrual cups cost anywhere from $35-40 dollars, and can last for years—although the Diva Cup website recommends changing a cup every year. Typically, women in the U.S. will spend about $150-200 every year on disposable menstrual products.
You also don’t need to worry about Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare but fatal disease that may cause death. TTS may be caused from synthetic material in super-absorbent tampons. With menstrual cups, the risk of TSS may be lowered from the lack of absorbing materials.
It reduces waste.
Sillicone-grade menstrual cups are safe to be used for up to twelve months. In stark contrast, the average woman will use over 10,000 pads and tampons in her lifetime . The report also found that in 1990, there were over 12 billion tampons and pads in American and Canadian landfills.
It limits exposure to chemicals.
There has been growing concern over dioxin – a chemical by-product from cotton bleaching process – that has potential link to cancer. Cotton is one of the worst offenders of pesticide uses, and all the chemicals that are used to produce pads and tampons can also off-gas into the environment. It’s also unclear the amount of chemicals that go into making a tampon, because the FDA does not require the companies to provide ingredients or the bleaching process in its packaging .
Another great alternative to menstrual cups is certified organic cotton tampons and pads from companies like Natracare. Natracare offers 100% certified organic feminine hygiene products including tampons, pads, liners, wipes, nursing and maternity pads in various sizes. The products are made with pure cotton, not the cotton/rayon blend used by most companies – which is cheaper in costs, but contains more chemicals such as SLS, propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol and parabens.
It is Effective.
In my experience the cup is leak-free -- a major benefit for women who lead busy lifestyles.
As of now, there are three FDA-approved menstrual cups available in the United States: the Diva Cup, the Moon Cup, and the recently approved Lunette Cup. All of the cups mentioned above are made from medical-grade silicone, which makes sanitization easier – at the end of your period, you can place the cup in boiling water for about 20 minutes. All three cups can be ordered online and come in two sizes for different flows. There are other alternatives like the Keeper Cup, which is made from natural rubber and produced in the United States – but those with a latex allergy should opt for the silicone cups.
Menstrual cups can be a great way of getting to know your body as well as keeping a green menstrual cycle.