A few years ago, I was minding my own business when a friend asked me if I had ever tried a menstrual cup? Intrigued, I responded with a “no”, she proceeded to explain the ins and outs of what a menstrual cup was and how to use one.
With all the energy within my soul, I tried to hide the look of disgust at the idea of ME becoming THAT personal with my own body. Ew! But the thought lingered.
After much research, I gave in and have not looked back since. The more I learned about menstrual cups and other alternative period products; the more I wondered why I had never heard of them before. We are told about pads and tampons in school or at home, but never about the cups why is that? Not only are they eco-friendly and vegan, but they are also WAY cheaper. According to
Let’s first talk about a very REAL and RAW reality, “Period Poverty”. In my own experience, as a 20 something yr old college graduate with no money, living by herself in NYC with a 5 yr old boy. Sometimes, it came down to food vs menstrual products or pads vs rent. During those days the cheap toilet rolls were my best friends. As sad as this sounds, period poverty is a reality for many women and young girls in the U.S. In Tennessee, for example, many young girls are missing school monthly because they cannot afford feminine hygiene products.
With the Tampon Tax in full effect in 35 states in this country, and feminine products not being considered a necessity; Many individuals who experience aunt flo are faced with a tough decision monthly. Let’s be clear this IS a GLOBAL issue, it’s not just in the United States. We gotta do better as a society and make women issues a more inclusive, open topic to discuss.
So can menstrual cups be a solution? well they are still taxed like pads and tampons ( unfortunately) but they are a one time purchase depending how often you change it. One menstrual cup can last 10 yrs ( with proper care). Even if you buy one cup at $45 dollars every year, you will still save more money than if you were buying tampons and pads every month.
When it comes to health, do you know what you are putting in or on your body on a monthly basis? Are tampons and pads safe in your mind because they’re the norm? Let’s be real, most of us don’t know what tampons and pads are made off, yet we keep inserting or placing them in or close to our vag. An independent test conducted by Women’s Voices for the Earth found residue of dioxins and pesticide in tampons. These chemicals come with potential health effects such as cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, and acute toxicity. Idk about you, but I sure don’t want that in my system.
In comparison, most menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone or rubber material. As long as you properly care for the cup and don’t overuse it ( meaning don’t keep it inside more than the recommended 10 -12 hrs) you should be ok. When using a cup, make sure to handle with clean hands, have clean water to rinse, sanitize between cycles and store properly ( most come with a pouch or container).
When it comes to the environment, let’s talk numbers, an average of 20 BILLION, pads and tampon applicators end up in landfills every year in North America. Because tampon applicators are made of plastic,
the time they take to degrade in a landfill is centuries longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it. In 2017, the non-profit org Clean Ocean Action collected 4,080 tampon applicators from 70 New Jersey beaches in a season. Not sure if that is what you want your grandchildren to find during a walk on the beach on a beautiful summer day :/
So why not make the switch? After asking my girls on IG and over text some of the push back is due to; no interest whatsoever. Some being grossed out at the idea of seeing their own blood, some were scared that it would disappear up in there and some just haven’t tried because they are afraid of the unknown.
The way to combat all these fears with the exception of the “not interested ones” is to give it a try. Find a cup or product that you like and just give it a try! Nowadays we have so many companies making alternative menstrual products that you don’t have to break the bank on any particular one. I started with Diva cup and moved on to the Lunette,
In conclusion, I encourage anyone with a menstrual cycle or without one to start a conversation. Let’s try to tackle period poverty even if you have never expereinced it, let’s take accounatbility of our own health,
and stop being afraid of our own bodies and let’s be kinder to mama earth and stop being afraid of our own bodies.
The cup is not an all in one solution, but it’s a start!
If you already use the cup or any other alternative product, please tell me your experience. If I inspired you to give it a try! Let me know how you feel,
Alternative menstrual products:
Currently on My period 🙂
Who doesn’t like a good shopping spree? A time to decompress, look and feel pretty. Especially when we can spend so little money on clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories; with the intention of not getting caught wearing those things again.
I know I did; in my 20’s my closet was smeared with the likes of H&M, Forever 21, and so on. Who can blame me, right!? a recent college grad, who just moved to NYC, living in a one bedroom apt, with a 5-year-old boy. Needless to say, although, I’ve always loved fashion; spending over $30 dollars on any item of clothing was out of the question. My ideology was “I can always buy good quality cheapo clothes ”, but I did not put too much thought on where my clothing was coming from or how it was made.
Last night I rewatched “The true cost” a documentary that focuses on the truth behind the low priced and fast fashion industry. Where quality became a thing of the past and quantity is the new wave.
Fast fashion by definition is “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers”
( merriam-webster). In other words, rapid turnover of low-cost garments. That’s not that bad you might say! Well if you care about the planet and your other human compadres than yes, it is pretty bad.
How is it hurting our planet ?
According to Phycs.org textile dying is the second largest polluter of water globally,after agriculture. Meaning all those amazing colors that you are wearing in the summer months, yeahhh! They are messing up with the planet, screwing with people’s drinking water and the whole ecosystem over all. Let’s talk Polyester…
According to EcoCult.com Polyester is a synthetic petroleum-based fibre, and is therefore made from a carbon-intensive non-renewable resource. Petroleum products are used as feedstock (raw material to make the fibre) and also used to generate the energy needed to manufacture. More than 70 billion barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year. It is not bio-degradable and will persist in the eco-system even as it eventually breaks apart. In fact, it is believed that synthetic garments are the biggest source of microplastic pollution in the oceans because up to 1900 fibres can be washed off one garment every time it is washed.
How is it hurting Humans?
Fast fashion often means force labor for many people overseas, people who do not have many choices to quit or look for other jobs. The factories where these garments are made, pay their labors very little money, often forcing them to work in unsafe environments and for very long hours. Think Human exploitation, child labor, sweatshops, and so on. Many lives have been lost to the fashion industries over the years, and many people continue to be forced to work under horrible conditions and beaten when they are not producing enough or trying to speak up.
So what now?
well , we all must just walk around in our birthday suits and call it a day! Vegan and BARE.. ( this could be a show) . No, really what now? Well there are many little changes that you can make to stop buying from unsustainable and unethical companies, that do not necessarily require a trip to the bank.
#1 – Shop Quality – you rather pay for a GOOD shirt, that will last you for a long time, rather than buy 5 shirts that will all have holes and will fall apart in no time. Yes, you might pay a bit more for a single item, but over time you will be saving yourself some $$
#2 – look up brands and do some digging – Now a days it’s easy to find information for each brand. I personally like handmade brands with a story, I want to know where my money is going. When I see pictures of the women and if I ask a question, I like to know that I will get an answer quickly and with transparency. You might have a favorite brand or designer! No problem, find out if there has been negative articles attached to the brand and where the clothes are made. If you must, contact them to verify.
#3- Repurpose- what do you do with clothes you no longer want? try making them into something else.That blouse will make a awesome cushion cover, or make those jeans into shorts. There are so many things that you can do and with youtube now, it’s easier than ever to get ideas and learn new skills
#4 – swap – We all have friends and family who might like something in our closet and vice versa. Plan a swap party, everyone bring clothes and swap them with each other. You are making good use of the clothes and you know exactly where they are going.
#5 – Buy Used – Thrift shops are one of my favorites, you can find so many hidden treasures there. Even better, is that you can even bring your gently used clothes and get store credit. Take a day to go thrift shop hunting and find your favorites in your area.
#6 – Look for Ethical brands – Such as Passion Lilie; a brand that works together with producers in India and small family business that hold fair trade certificates. Owner Katie, visits India once a year and personally meets with each artisan. Guess what, you can ask questions concerning how, where, and when and they will have an answer. So that the scarf you just bought from V&G has a story and someone made it with their own hands 😉
There are a lot of other ethical brands that are trying to make a difference in this industry. I’ve included some below:
In conclusion, reading this post is the first step and I encourage you all to go online and do some more digging of your own. Remember that knowledge is power and power is knowledge. You can make a few changes TODAY and just decide that your money will no longer be contributing to the pain and suffering of others and to the destruction of the only planet we can call home right now. Make a few changes, plan a swap party or start buying locally The more you do it, the easier it will become. Maybe…JUST maybe, the more people stop buying from some of these unethical brands, the more they will start getting the picture!
(recovered fast fashion addict)
Can I tell you a story, a few weeks ago a storm hit New York City. High winds gushing through the streets of the city, clouds covering the blue sky, and making daytime appear as night fall. But, before a single drop of rain fell on the ground, I could see what looked like hundreds of plastic bags flowing around hitting my 6th story office window, “Is this what we have come to I thought to myself ?” ..
Plastic bags, Plastic straws, plastic cups, plastic bottles, and more are a usual part of our everyday life. This may make our day to day more convenient with their one use and toss system, However how convenient are they really? How much harm do these products cause to our environment?
For the most part, “single use” plastic products such as plastic bags, straws and bottles ends up in landfills across the world and consequently in our oceans. Polluting the water and killing hundreds, if not thousands of animals.
According to the “center for biological diversity” birds often mistake shredded plastic bags for food, filling their stomachs with toxic debris. Turtles often die of starvation when their digestive tracks become blocked after mistaking bags for jelly fish. Sadly it seems that many of our oceans and even lakes are becoming big plastic waste grounds for much of the world. According to a new report from “World Wildlife Fund”, plastic represents 95 percent of the waste floating in the Mediterranean and laying on its beaches. The problem does not stop there, chemicals in plastics are known endocrine disruptors, that can affect our health in many ways. For example BPA which is often added to plastics to make them more durable, can act similarly to estrogen and can possibly interfere with women’s hormonal balance and affect reproduction. Research has also linked BPA to breast cancer in animals along with obesity, thyroid issues, and neurological disorders in humans.
Overall, plastic is not worth the convenience, time, or money. Look how it affects your home (aka the planet), the animals, and our health as a whole.. Do you still want plastic in your life?
Besides, there are GREAT alternatives…
Invest in a few of these and you will be fighting against plastic pollution in no time:
- Reusable grocery Bags
- Reusable produce bags
- Reusable water bottles ( you can even buy ones with a filter)
- Bring your own mug to your favorite coffee shop (some places even give you a discounts)
- Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack, or car
- Buy a wooden or biodegradable toothbrush
To spread the word! Speak with your friends, and family and start making this world a little more green each day. Try it for two weeks and let us know your experience 🙂