Reducing Waste in the Menstrual Hygiene Department

The amount of menstrual hygiene products many of us use is really quite considerable. Gaby Bouvier explores options that are both cheaper for you AND more sustainable for the planet.

What it is: A Lunette menstrual cup (though there are many alternate brands available).

Why use it: I decided to give it a try for multiple reasons. I thought it would be really convenient to have something that wouldn’t leak, and that I could leave in for up to 12 hours. There is also the added benefit of significantly less waste if you are not throwing away countless pads and tampons.

How it works: I am in no way a medical expert, or even an expert on menstrual cups. I have only just started using one. But here is my basic understanding: the rim of the cup conforms to your vaginal walls and creates a suction so that blood is captured in the cup, rather than slipping past and staining your clothes.

How to use it: I won’t even try to explain how to use it, other than to recommend following the instructions. However, there are plenty of articles to be found for those who find the instructions lacking in some way. Here is my favourite.

My thoughts: I had my cup for about two weeks before my next period started, so I think I built it up to be this miracle device that would just slip in and solve all my problems. Not to say this isn’t a great device, but it did not slip right on in. I’m fairly sure I stood over the toilet for about 30 minutes the first time I put it in and took it out. For the first time since deciding to buy one if these things, I realised I planned to shove a silicon cup inside me. Tampons, in comparison, are thin and usually just slide on in. This thing is not thin, which is why you need to fold it to even contemplate making it squeeze in.

There is a technique to getting it in and out, but once you master it, you’re set for life. So definitely don’t give up, as you might be keen to do at first. I certainly thought about it, but I dropped $40 on it and wanted to give it a fair try.

Once it was finally in though, the result was great! I barely feel it, usually only when I actively think about it, and it really doesn’t leak. Its comfortable, I don’t have to worry about carrying tampons around with me, and aside from cramps, I can generally forget I’m even on my period. For once, I actually feel clean down there, rather than constantly wanting to check that I haven’t leaked.

Menstrual cups do require a bit more maintenance than tampons, but at least I no longer plan on filling up my bin with what seems like an endless supply of tampons, pads and liners.