Are Menstrual Cups Eco-friendly?
One of the most common reasons why women are making the switch from disposables to menstrual cups is environmental concerns. On average, a woman uses between 12,000 - 15,000 worth of tampons and pads which are then disposed of in landfills and oceans. Not to mention that most of these products contain nasty chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and are made from resource-heavy materials like cotton and plastic.
Menstrual Cups are made from silicone.
Silicone, which is considered one of the most abundant elements on the planet and highly recyclable, is the most common material used in making these wonderful menstrual cups. When broken down, silicone reverts to its original form - sand, water vapour and carbon dioxide. So, if you no longer want to use your menstrual cup, you can easily dispose of it either through recycling, burning or repurposing.
Cotton is one of the most common materials used in manufacturing sanitary products. However, a single cotton crop require six pints of water to grow. This ‘thirsty’ and water-loving crop use more water to grow than others. Even if you choose organic pads which by the way is a lot more expensive and difficult to source locally, you end up with a product made from a material treated with pesticides and insecticides.
It’s common knowledge that plastic is not good on the environment. It takes thousands of years to break them down and if they do break down, they become microplastics. As previously mentioned, a woman uses tens of thousands of disposable sanitary products in her lifetime. Disposable sanitary pads are made from a form of plastic and some single-use pads even contain more plastic than others like strips of polyethylene plastic adhesive. Unfortunately, most of these disposables end up in landfills and oceans.
Several independent studies have shown that disposable menstrual pads contain dioxins, chlorine, rayon, viscose and other carcinogens. We’re pretty sure that those ‘super absorbent blue gel cores’ belong to the long list of nasty chemicals found in disposable pads and tampons. These toxic chemicals are not only harmful to our bodies but on the environment as well.
With menstrual cups, you do not need to deal with excessive plastic packaging that you normally have to deal with if you are using disposable pads. There are many ways to store your menstrual cup like using a cotton bag if not in use. So if you want to significantly reduce your plastic waste, consider using a menstrual cup.
Without proper waste management which surprisingly is pretty common even in some well developed countries, disposable menstrual products mostly end up in landfills, oceans and beaches. Some of these wastes are being flushed down the toilet which could cause another set of problems that require heavy sourcing and expensive solutions.
Conversely, menstrual cups do not add to your usual waste. They are designed to be reusable so the only time they have an impact on the environment is when you wash them with water or sterilising them. Even so, the energy consumption required to maintain them is low.
Menstrual cups are highly recyclable. When you no longer use them, you can easily dispose of them either by recycling or repurposing them into something entirely different like a miniature watering can. You can even ground them up, bury them in your garden and forget they existed.
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