Zero Waste Tips: the Menstrual Cup

The first zero waste change I adopted, more than four years ago, when I had never even heard of the term “zero waste”, was buying a menstrual cup.

At the beginning I was very perplexed and worried, fearing that it was too difficult to use, but the positive experiences of my friends convinced me to try it. I still thank Sara for making me discover this simple invention that has changed my life for the better!

Unlike what many people think, this menstrual cup is not a new product on the market: the first patent dates back to 1932! But only in the ’80s it became more popular worldwide, because of the first awareness of environmental problems caused by the disposable products. However, even today, on TV, newspapers, and in the supermarkets, there are only advertisements of disposable sanitary napkins and tampons, which are more profitable for companies, compared to an item designed to last longer! That’s why I think it is necessary to talk about it and to make this ecological alternative known to as many people as possible.

It is a small, flexible cup, made of hypoallergenic medical silicone that catches and collects menstrual blood. It’s easy to use: just pull it out to empty, wash it and insert it back again when it’s clean. Unlike sanitary napkins and tampons, the cup doesn’t absorb any liquids, so it doesn’t alter the natural vaginal equilibrium, no bacteria can remain on its surface, it doesn’t cause irritations or bad odors, it is safe and hygienic.

Before each use, it is necessary to sterilize it in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. To insert it you have to fold it twice, as I show in these photos:

The “secret” to easily insert it is to relax the muscles and choose a comfortable position. My advice is to sit on the bidet (or on the toilet bowl for people who live in countries that don’t have an “Italian bidet” in the bathroom), with the face opposite the faucet.
Once inside, the cup will open completely by itself and it will adhere to the walls of your vagina.

Depending on your menstrual flow, you will need to empty the cup every 8 to 10 hours. Personally, only on the day of the most abundant flow, I empty it more often, every 4 – 5  hours, to avoid any leaks (which almost never happen). At the beginning, when I still did not feel handy with the cup, I kept using also pads, with the result of throwing them away often clean. Therefore, in combination with the cup, I opted for eco-friendly washable cloth pads (which I will discuss in a future post!), that I wear only for the first two days of my period as a precaution, particularly when I am away from home and I can’t use a toilet for several hours.

To remove the cup, simply relax the muscles, pull the stem sticking out the bottom, pinch the base to release the seal and fold it as I showed before to take it out. Then you just empty, wash with soap and water and replace. Once you have confidence, this operation will be quick and easy!
You do not need to sterilize the cup every time you empty it: only at the end of your period put it in boiling water again and store in the provided cotton bag.

It can be worn both during the day and the night, it is really comfortable and, if used correctly, you don’t feel it.
I have always had extremely painful periods with an abundant flow in the first 48 hours. Since I use the cup, I live these days with much more freedom, I waste less time in the toilet to control the situation and I am not worried about getting dirty. Also, I don’t create any waste!

The main reason that at the time had pushed me to choose the cup was the savings. In fact, every year, I paid about 40-45 euros in sanitary napkins and tampons, while the cost of a cup, about 20-25 euros, is quickly amortized, and then I wouldn’t spend anything for a long time. In fact, if used correctly, a cup can last up to 15 years.

Where to buy it?
I bought my cup online from LadyCup, but there are other good brands like Lamazuna, or you will find it at the drugstore.
Usually, there are two sizes: the small and the large. Choose the small one only if you are a young girl, otherwise the large will probably be more suitable for you.

The cup is perfect when you play sports, when you go to the swimming pool or at the beach, but also for those who, like me, spend whole days sitting at the desk.

Thanks to this useful invention, maybe one day we will stop seeing such disgusting images of our beaches, marine animals will not risk their life, strangled by pads, and less waste will fill the landfills.

A plastic applicator of a tampon and a pad I found on Pesaro beach (Italy) last summer, with a certain disgust.

Are you already using the menstrual cup? What do you think about it?
Share with me your experience, to let other girls know this zero waste alternative!
Leave a comment or write me if you have any doubts and questions, I will be happy to answer you 🙂

Slow crafter from Italy ✂️? ?? Nature lover ?

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