I'm only going to warn you once, if you don't want to read about menstruation, stop reading now!
All women will be aware of the amount of waste generated by most commercial products used at that "time of the month". Whether you use tampons or pads, there is the product itself and all that packaging, all going in the bin or down the toilet. Think how much that builds up over the years.
It turns out that there weren't any such disposable products until an excess of bandages following WWI led clever marketers to come up with disposable "feminine hygiene" "sanitary" products for women to use. As explained in the first youtube video below, companies have accentuated the feelings of fear and taboo around menstruation in order to make their disposable products seem like the solution to an invented problem.
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I don't like using anything disposable and I used to feel guilty about all that waste, until I found another option. I have been using a reusable menstrual cup for about 8 years now. I just replaced my original brown rubber moon cup with a transparent silicon Lunette cup. I have found both cups to be similar and I can't recommend one over the other, apart from the colour of course. Braver bloggers than myself have written detailed posts about the "ins and outs" of reusable cups (for example Emma from Craving Fresh and Leanne from Hazeltree Farm).
The other day I had a question from a reader about using menstrual cups, so if you do have any complicated questions that you don't want to ask on the blog, feel free to email me, I'm happy to help. That saves me having to explain it all in a post :)I also bought a few more cloth pads, as the old ones are getting a little ratty. This is probably something I should just make from scraps of material, but I am too lazy to figure out how to insert domes (I know, I should learn!), so I just buy them every few years instead! I like to use a panty liner weight pad with the cups, I haven't tried the heavier weight pads though.
Apart from reducing waste, there are lots of other reasons to use a reusable cup and/or cloth pads instead of disposable products:
- Its cheaper - a cup costs $50-60 once every 5-7 years, how much do you spend on disposables each month? The pads are only $10-20 each and also last for years. Just think how much you can save.
- Its more convenient - you can never "run out" of a reusable product
- They are safer - no harmful chemicals, bleaches, fragrances, GMO cotton etc
- No need to empty/change as frequently
- More comfortable once you get used to it
I usually like to give a balance of pros and cons, but I can't think of any cons right now. I don't know why you wouldn't use a menstrual cup. If you can think of a reason, please tell me! See also the second youtube video, a rap battle of menstrual cups vs tampons.
Biome has a good rand of menstrual cups and reusable pads (affiliate link).
If you have any experiences to share, or questions about reusable menstrual, please leave a comment. I think its time we talked openly about menstrual products and stopped letting the marketers win by scaring us into using wasteful disposables.
Giggle for the day: 15 euphamisms for menstruation