The average person who menstruates will throw away 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs, and applicators in their lifetime. That’s a lot of plastic, chemicals, and other non-biodegradable products that are going into the landfill. Pad and tampon users are also more likely to get toxic shock syndrome and other harmful infections from those chemicals and plastics.
One of the first zero waste purchases I made was a menstrual cup! Menstrual cups are made out of Grade A silicon and can be used for up to 10 years! There is zero chance of toxic shock syndrome and you can go up to 12 hours without having to change it, depending on your flow.
Recently, I have noticed more companies and organizations creating programs that will help change the world, by educating many on the importance of safe and healthy menstrual and reproductive care. It’s important to note that in many countries, the subject of menstruation is very “taboo” and is either not normally discussed/taught or is seen as unsanitary. In this post I will be concentrating on three major organizations that are determined to give more people sustainable and safe period products that they can use for the rest of their lives!
The Ruby Cup is a brand and a non-profit organization that bring menstrual cups into various countries in Africa. With their ‘Buy One, Give One’ program, every cup sold results in one being donated to help bring about positive change! The Ruby Cup trainers and partners create programs to help teach these adults and young people about menstrual care and reproductive health. They will also demonstrate how to use the cup correctly and provide support for them. Since the organization began in 2012, they have been able to impact the health of 24,000 people so far!
My Cup NZ is a New Zealand-based company that provides a selection of safe, healthy, and eco-conscious alternatives to disposable menstrual products. Their mission is to end poverty in New Zealand with their free cup program, student program, and by providing educational resources about reusable products! They sell menstrual cups, menstrual underwear, organic pads, and period product accessories like cleaning soap, pouches for reusable pads, and menstrual sponges.
The Cup Foundation is a non-profit organization that empowers underprivileged young adults worldwide by providing them with sustainable menstrual cups and comprehensive education on sexuality and reproductive rights. According to their website, in 2015 UNICEF and the World Health Organization estimated that at least five hundred million people lack sufficient resources to manage their periods. With insufficient menstrual solutions, many young adults miss a week of school each month, or they drop out permanently. Too often these people even engage in transactional sex to make money so they can afford pads and tampons. Since its inception, The Cup Foundation has impacted close to 10,000 young adults aged 11-16 in Kenya! These young adults now have higher attendance in school and are better able to concentrate during lessons. It’s important to understand that just because a culture doesn’t talk about this subject, that does not mean it shouldn’t be discussed. It is organizations like this that help bring safety and additional education into countries that would otherwise shame those who menstruate.
These are just three of the many organizations around the world that help provide sustainable menstrual products, like the menstrual cup along with education and continue to fight for reproductive justice. If you would like more information on additional sustainable period products please visit my article on “name of blog”.
(DISCLAIMER: I am referring to everyone as people instead of women and girls, because not every person who identifies as a women or girl menstruates. However, these organization’s do use the term women and girl through out their website. This choice was a personal preference and if you have any questions I would love to chat.)