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. Pads and tampons users are also more likely to get toxic shock syndrome and other bad 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 organization’s 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 organization’s 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 help bring more menstrual cups into countries in Africa. With their Buy One, Give One programme for every cup sold, one will be donated to help change a person’s life for the better! The Ruby Cup trainers and partners also 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 change the lives of 24,000 people thus far!
For anyone who is from New Zealand! 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 providing educational resources about re-usable products! They sell menstrual cups, modibodi underwear, organic pads and period product accessories like cleaning soap, pouches for reusable pads, and menstrual sponges. Mobidodi is an Australian company; their underwear is made out of high quality, tech savvy fabrics (like bamboo, merino perform wool and microfiber) that are stain resistant and odour fighting to make sure that you stay comfortable throughout your entire period.
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 for good. Too often these people even engage in transactional sex to make money for pads and tampons. Since it’s beginning, the Cup Foundation has reached 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. “We believe talking about menstruation necessities a broader discussion about related subjects like sex, pregnancy, unsafe abortions, HIV, reproductive rights etc. Knowledge most underprivileged youths lack but desperately need.” It’s important to understand that just because a culture doesn’t talk about this subject, that it shouldn’t be discussed. It’s people like this that help bring more safety and education into countries that would otherwise shame those who menstruate.
It’s important to understand that these organization’s efforts are amazing, but aren’t going to change the fact that menstruating is still seen as a “taboo” subject in many different cultures. As a result, we need to assist communities that are part of the revolutionary change to help break the stereotypes and educate more people about what they can do to keep them healthy and safe! Links to these organization’s websites and many more are below!
(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.)
Websites to visit for more information: