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An eco-friendly time of month?

on February 9, 2011

So this post may be a little TMI, especially for any men reading this. Just stop reading if you get grossed out, okay?

I had no idea how many sanitary towels/tampons one woman can go through in a lifetime. And now I’ve forgotten the figure. But it was a lot, like 7000 or something. And all of those end up in landfill, or floating around at sea somewhere. Now if you thought they were gross in your litter bin, how gross is thousands of them in a landfill? Also, how environmentally unfriendly are they?

OK, I know that there are organic, biodegradable pads out there… somewhere… but they’re expensive and for me at least hard to get hold of. I’ll be honest though, expensive matters more. Switzerland is dear enough without buying expensive disposable stuff! I also know that you can make or buy re-usable pads. From where I’m standing, that is a great idea. If you have your own washing machine. But if, like me, you live in a block of flats with a shared machine in the laundry room, you don’t want to be saving all that stuff up to wash once a week on “your” day to use the machine. And I absolutely do not want to be handwashing them. Eww. (Although I am still bearing it in mind for if my current solution doesn’t work out).

So here’s what I think is the very very best option.

Last year I heard about menstrual cups and for some reason I didn’t really follow up on it till this year, when I made it a New Year’s goal to get one and at least try using it. A menstrual cup, in case you’ve not come across the phrase before, is just that, a small cup for collecting menstrual fluid. Not to keep, of course. 🙂 It’s like a tampon but it doesn’t soak up the fluid and is reusable – for about 5 or 10 years! This means that while they can be a bit pricey, you do save money in the long run. I worked out that in my case, at about 9 months I’m breaking even and from then on I’m saving money. That’s if I only buy one. Some people buy a smaller and a larger one. But even then I’d still break even after only 18 months of using them. And think how much stuff is not going into landfill. And then think of all the chemicals that are now not going into my body.

My husband can’t quite understand why I’m so excited about this. 🙂

So I’m not going to go into any more detail here but for anyone interested in finding out more, I found this brilliant blog by a lady who has tried out loads of different cups and writes about them to help other ladies decide which might be the best for them. And after reading the comparison charts carefully I chose one and ordered it, and today it has arrived and I am so excited! I can’t wait to try it out and see if it really lives up to what the people who use these things say about it! I’m also thrilled because the company sent me a second one free of charge (it has a tiny mark in the silicone which means they can’t sell it, but it’s still safe to use) which is a different size and style to the one I ordered. So if I don’t like mine, I can try that to see if I just have the wrong size, or if cups aren’t for me after all.

All of this means there will probably be another post about this sometime in March. I was just too excited not to blog about it straight away.

And if you’ve used a menstrual cup and been happy (or sad) with it, or just have thoughts about anything I’ve mentioned here, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment. 🙂


2 responses to “An eco-friendly time of month?

  1. Mika, you certainly tackle the tough stuff! I didn't even know these existed.

    However, my BIG question – is what is Switzerland like in the winter? Does it live up to the SNOW hype?

  2. Heh. Well two years ago when Nutmeg was just born I can remember one of my visiting friends leaving the hospital early because she was worried about getting home due to the extremely snowy conditions. That would have been February 11th or therabouts. This year we've just had two weeks of brilliant sunshine. Today is the first cloudy day since January, I think, and it's still warm. So I guess the answer is it varies! But there is still snow higher up on the mountains – my in-laws were able to go skiing and sledging this week without any trouble. (I'll put this on your blog so you see it too).

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