This post might be a little TMI but I guess the more we talk about it, the more we get comfortable talking about our own bodies, right?
One of the first few products I tried when I began my zero waste journey was a menstrual cup. Why? Think about it. Every woman goes through:
- 1 month = 16 pads/tampons = $7
- 1 year = 192 pads/tampons = $84
- 40 years = 7,680 pads/tampons = $3,360 (crap, that's a hell lot of periods. and hell lot of $$!!)
Disposable pads and tampons require hundreds of years to biodegrade, particularly if wrapped in plastic packaging. Also, after a lot of research, I learned that most disposable pads and tampons are also bleached with toxic chemicals!
There are a few options for a less wasteful period. First, you have the reusable pads, which are essentially organic cotton cloths that fastens around the underwear. It looks kinda like this:
To me though, I like things practical and I hated the thought of having to wash a blood stained cloth every damn day.
The other option is a menstrual cup, which is a medical-grade silicone cup that you insert into your vajay-jay, where it collects blood throughout the day. You only have to empty it once or twice per day into the toilet, rinse it with water and some soap, and re-insert.
It's not super common in Asia to use a menstrual cup and TBH the initial idea of sticking something foreign up your cooch is errr, strange - for me at least. But I gave it a go anyway and it was surprisingly LIFE CHANGING. Why was I using pads for so many years?!
I had a minor panic attack the first time I tried to remove it (I couldn't find it cause it was sucked high up in the vagina canal) but you'll get used to it. It sounds super gross and too close for comfort dealing with the insides of your body - but it's life changing in a way that it feels super comfortable and you don't ever have to deal with the hassle of changing and leaky pads and stains anymore!
I use a Freedom Cup, which is an amazing organisation that works on a buy-1, give-1 scheme where every cup purchased allows us to give a cup to a woman in an underprivileged community. This allows for a win-win situation where women in the developed world decrease their use of non-biodegradable sanitary products, and women in developing communities gain access to proper sanitation for their periods.
We proudly stock Freedom Cups at ERTH & CO. here. Your estimated cost savings for a lifetime of periods = $3,000!
As if you need any more reason to switch to menstrual cups!!
So to make things short and sweet (unlike our periods): Menstrual cups are awesome not just for your life, body and pockets but for the earth as well.