Every month I seem to go through at least a package of Tampons per cycle and it seems that this is the norm for most of the female population. We’re not taught to think about the effects our tampon and sanitary pad use has on the environment, or even that there are other options, so this month I took it upon myself to start educating myself.
Not only does each Australian woman spend on average $5600 in our lifetimes on tampons, each year in Australia women contribute around 18,000 Tonnes of sanitary product waste that goes to landfill. This landfill waste does not biodegrade and will outlive us, our children and even our children’s child!
Alongside the environmental cost is the cost to our own health when using the bleached tampons that are available to us in the grocery store. Our skin is an organ and very absorbent. What we put on it or next to it will most likely enter into our blood stream very quickly and because of this the bleached non-organic tampons that I’ve been using for the last 17 years have consequently been leaching chemicals, toxins and pesticides into my body.
I’m a tampon gal and though I know there are some fantastic organic/unbleached tampon options out there (If you’re in Australia check out TomOrganic) these can work out pricey and still don’t tackle the issue of waste. I wanted to find another way, so I started looking into alternative methods.
For me personally I never took to using pads so I knew that cotton reusable pads where not an option for me, however if they are an option for you then you should totally check this company out: HannahPad. Their reusable pads are made from organic cotton and are so cute! They come in a range of thicknesses and would be a great option for many gals.
I’m so lucky that my amazing mum had gifted me a MoonCup a little while ago that I had never gotten into using, so I decided to give it a real go this cycle. I was hoping that this would be the alternative that I needed so as to ‘zero-waste’ my period but I was really nervous about a few things:
- That the product would get stuck and I couldn’t get it out again!
- That it would ‘fail’ and I’d end up looking like a horror scene
- That it was plastic and there for bad to be inside me
MoonCup is a UK brand of menstrual cups that are made out of medical-grade silicone (completely non-toxic in the body) and were the original brand of menstrual cup on the market (they’ve been selling these products since 2002). Not only is this company employee-owned but they also produce their products in the UK under strict ethical and ecological codes. I was happy to find that my MoonCup came in a sweet little organic cotton pouch so as to keep it clean when it’s not in use.
I really can’t tell you about my experience without telling you some info about my cycle: it’s very heavy, it hurts and it lasts for daaaaays (5 days but it really does feel like a year). Needless to say that I was pretty nervous that my MoonCup wouldn’t cut it, especially on the first couple of days of my cycle when I often need to change super-size tampons every couple of hours.
It took some getting used to inserting the menstrual cup and the feeling of when it was properly in place. I taught myself the ‘C-Fold’ which is a folding method where you push the cup in half with your thumb and finger before inserting. On the first few go’s inserting and removing it was quite uncomfortable as I was so sore and tender, but after the first day everything got so much better as I got used to the removing and re-inserting process.
I’m happy to say that there were no accidents or leaks! Unlike some reviews where women say that they can keep the product in all day without changing it, I found that I still had to empty the cup every couple of hours (on my first 2 heavy days). I was unnecessarily nervous about not being able to remove the cup and it getting stuck, that wasn’t the case at all and I had no problem with removing it and emptying it into the loo. Also I found that practice makes perfect here and I know the process will become second nature for me.
I’m not squeamish about blood so had no problem seeing my own blood and emptying it into the loo but I know that this may take some getting used to for others. I felt more comfortable, less dry and sore then I normally would after 5 days of tampon-wearing, and I also felt super proud that I’d stopped around 16 tampons from having to go to Landfill!
I really do hope that you try a menstrual cup for your next cycle. I would love to hear your experiences of ‘Zero Waste-ing’ your period so please do leave a comment below!
Until next time <3