Periods are not everyone’s favourite subject to discuss (when really, talking about menstruation should not be awkward or shameful for enlightened adults), but the growing environmental impact of disposable products such as packaging, plastic plates and cups, but also tampons and pads is too concerning to ignore.
According to the Women’s Environmental Network, the use of tampons, pads and applicators in the UK creates 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, making up over 7% of items flushed down the toilet in the UK.
The waste goes to landfill, is incinerated or ends up in our seas and rivers. The Beachwatch survey found that for every kilometre of beach covered in the survey around 23 pads/backing strips and nine tampon applicators were found.
We try to be environmentally conscious in so many ways, exchanging disposable items like plastic bags and cups for eco-friendly, reusable alternatives. As an alternative to tampons, menstrual cups have been growing in popularity over the past years.
Essentially, a menstrual cup is a silicone cup that fits around the cervix and just catches instead of absorbing. Different brands have their own names for them, the Mooncup and Divacup being the most well-known ones, but they’re all basically the same thing (Mooncups are even sold on campus).
Apart from being better for the environment menstrual cups also save money otherwise spent on disposable products again and again. Why haven’t women been doing this all along … I know, right?
Apart from the environmental impact, so-called feminine hygiene products (does that imply women are dirty?) carry health concerns.
A problem commonly associated with tampons is Toxic Shock Syndrome. as menstrual cups are made from non-absorbent material they do not provide a breeding ground for bacteria like tampons do, even more reason to switch.
Menstrual cups and other green alternatives can be found at www.femininewear.co.uk