Menstrual cups are silicon bell-shaped cups which are used in place of tampons and/or pads during periods. They are reusable and last for years, saving you money and drastically reducing the waste caused by menstrual products.
Menstrual cups have been on my radar for a while. I’m sure you have heard of a few – mooncup, organicup, diva cup. As there are so many different brands I decided to take an online quiz to find out which would be the best for me. The quiz I used is highly recommended and can be found at https://putacupinit.com/quiz/. Once completed the website will suggest 4 different cups which will be best suited to you.
My number one result was the size 1 Lunette Cup. I looked on the Lunette website to see what they were all about and ordered the cup from Amazon. (shout out to my brother for adding me to his prime account)
As someone who primarily uses pads I have always been a little apprehensive about using menstrual cups. But for the environment I’m willing to give it a try.
Smaller than I expected – menstrual cups always look so big in the videos and pictures
Not as firm as I expected – the cup is easily squished and folded
Surely it can’t be that difficult to use
I was unusually waiting excitedly for my period to start and consequently it came slightly later than I expected. However, when it came to it I was a little scared about putting the cup in. I just kept thinking to myself STAY RELAXED.
Over the course of my period I noted down a few thoughts / occurrences.
Not sure if placed correctly – spent around 20 mins trying to figure it out how to get the cup in the right position
Can feel the stem – its really uncomfortable
Taken out after maybe 5 hours and spilt the contents onto my white pyjama trousers
Did not use
Trimmed the stem – maybe too short now but it was definitely too long before
Mastered the art of putting in the cup – only takes few secs
Have not mastered removal
First time using when going to bed / sleep
Removal is the hardest part – the cup seemed to move in the night so it was at an awkward angle and no longer straight
Not looking forward to later removal – the stem is possibly too short and it’s hard to reach the cup
The cup leaked and I am not putting it back in – stressful
Did not use
I am in two minds with the menstrual cup. On one hand I love the idea of how much less messy it is and how you don’t have to worry about it for 12 hours. On the other hand making sure it is in the right position (so it doesn’t leak) and taking it out makes using the cup stressful – which is not what you want when you need to be relaxed to achieve both of these things. From what I have read it takes a couple of cycles to get used to using a menstrual cup and I guess I will have to test this out for myself. Even though I want the menstrual cup to work for me it isn’t suitable for everyone.
I am thinking of also investing in and trying out some other zero waste menstrual products such as reusable pads or period underwear.
When I start something new, I always want to go out and buy everything new, fresh and ready. But, with this challenge I am going to resist these urges for a couple of reasons:
Throwing out plastic items which are perfectly good and usable creates unnecessary waste
I am hoping that I will save money in the long run ~ it would be a waste of my money ~
I am instead planning to replace items as and when they run out – giving me a chance to have a look into the alternatives available to the items I currently use.
As most of my plastic waste comes from food packaging, the first area I am focusing on is reducing my waste in the kitchen.
In order to do this I am firstly eating all the foods which are in plastic. This includes foods such as frozen chips and peas, crisps and chocolate. Once I have finished the plastic covered food I will decide whether I want to switch to a more eco version (e.g. plastic vs glass bottle of ketchup) or find alternatives such as roasted chickpeas rather than a packet of crisps.
My first trip to a zero waste store
There is a zero waste store in my town, less than a 5 minute walk from my flat. Before visiting I looked online at their stock list so I knew what was available. I assumed that they provide brown paper bags which I would be able to use when purchasing my goods, which I could later transfer into my glass containers. Unfortunately, they did not supply paper bags. I was told that I could use some of the old jars which others had left for unprepared people like me. Instead of using the jars available I decided to quickly pop home and use jars which I already own. Upon my return to the shop I purchased some popcorn kernels, split peas, dried apricots and spaghetti (which luckily came wrapped in brown paper as I do not have a long enough jar to store this in).
I am only two weeks into this journey and I am in no way perfect at not buying plastic. The main issues I have come across are plastic from deliveries and foods such as cereal and bread.
I know that oats can come in paper but in my opinion cereal and porridge are two different things and I am on the hunt for a plastic free cereal.
I thought that bakeries in supermarkets supplied brown paper bags for bread but most use plastic or a mixture of paper and plastic.
However, I’m sure there will be a solution for ~ most ~ problems I encounter on this journey.
Establishing a ‘why’ is key when it comes to sticking to and achieving goals.
Over the past year the issue of plastic waste in the ocean and landfill sites has been highlighted and widely shared. TV programmes, such as Blue Planet II, have opened a lot of eyes and created a storm on social media. The outcome from this has generally been positive, with movement away from the use of plastic straws (protecting the turtles) and plastic bags (unless you’re willing to spend an extra 5 or 10p).
I feel as though I have always known about the damaging effects of plastic on the environment, yet, I have done little to reduce my personal impact on the issue. When saying this I don’t mean to say that I do not try to reduce my plastic usage and waste. I carry around a refillable water bottle and I do own a reusable coffee mug which I ~sometimes~ remember to take out. Every time I have refilled my water bottle instead of purchasing a plastic one I’ve made a positive impact on the environment.
I feel that I am ready for the challenge of taking this to the next level. I know that living a life without producing any rubbish may sound impossible, and honestly, in the current world we are living in it is. Regardless, I am planning on working towards it to the best of my ability. Starting with plastic!
Now I am not expecting this to be easy but as the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easily. I know that I will need to spend a lot of time researching and I am sure I will make mistakes, but the least I can do is try.
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