Now that I’ve caught your attention with, let’s face it, a pretty grotesque image, I’d like to talk about something that isn’t grotesque: periods and menstrual cups.
We’ve all started to become a bit more environmentally aware in the UK (thank you David Attenborough). There’s a feeling in the polluted air of accountability for our actions; suddenly the shampoo bottle that you accidentally threw in the green bin is keeping you awake at night. But the idea of an environmentally friendly period? That’s a step too far, isn’t it? That’s surely not for me, not meat eating, non-tree hugging, shamelessly doesn’t wash out the empty tin of beans me?
Well, here’s the groundbreaking truth, you can still eat a burger whilst wearing a menstrual cup, and it doesn’t even need to be made of chickpeas (the burger that is, not the cup).
Menstrual products probably aren’t the first thing to come to mind when you’re trying to reuse and recycle, but they actually account for a huge amount of unnecessary waste. Tampons, pads and panty liners generate more than 2,000 tonnes of waste each year. Two billion period products are flushed down the toilet every year, and much of this waste ends up in our rivers and on our beaches.
There are other alternatives to traditional menstrual products that you might not have considered before, such as menstrual cups. Menstrual cups aren’t that common, but they’re not unheard of either. It’s a misconception that menstrual cups are just for vegans and hippies, and can only be purchased at naked fire dancing festivals(!) Google searches for menstrual cups have increased by 295% over the past five years, and they’re even sold at Tesco.
Now don’t get us wrong, we love vegans, and hippies, and vegans who are hippies. They’ve given us wooden sunglasses, almond milk lattes and glittery reusable water bottles, and now we’ve got positive periods to thank them for. In fact, it should go without saying that they’re pretty great trendsetters.
The real cherry on the gluten-free cake is that menstrual cups are not only environmentally friendly, (and super non-gross), but they’ll also save you around £1,200 over the course of 10 years (yep, that’s how long a menstrual cup should last you). That’s enough money for a UK seaside break away to a beach which isn’t covered in used tampons.
So don’t fear, if you like your steak medium rare, if you know your shampoo is probably contributing somewhat to the extinction of orangutans, but it also makes your hair look great, rest assured, you’re still allowed to wear a menstrual cup.
You can find lots of useful information about menstrual cups on The Cup Effect blog here, and if you’re ready to switch and have the most environmentally friendly and fabulous period of your life, then visit the shop here.
Vicky Laird is a marketing professional and Cup Effect volunteer. A self-confessed part time feminist, Vicky enjoys writing about women’s issues and is passionate about equality. When she’s not trying to smash the patriarchy by occasionally tweeting from @vickylaird, she can be found enjoying a walk in the Yorkshire Dales.