If you’ve read this blog and haven’t changed to a menstrual cup yet, maybe the following reasons will help nudge you in the right direction.
Depending on the flow, a woman could use between 9,000 and 12,000 tampons in her lifetime. Every month, women around the world go through the same bodily function, that which is essential to bringing life, and that which is still considered taboo. Every month, boxes of tampons are bought, placed in plastic bags at the store, brought home, and then flushed or thrown away. The time to stop adding to your very specific and ridiculously expensive environmental impact is now.
Let me mansplain it to you:
The 5 key executives of Tambrands Inc., the makers of Tampax, are all men. Mr. Jerome B. Wainick is the vice-president of research and development. At the tender age of 76, he is in charge of the research and development of periods (*rolls eyes). And while there is no male/female info available for the board of directors, of which there are 4, I would assume Lilyan is female, while John and Robert are most likely male. H Tower could either make it a majority of male board members or make it half and half. Still, the ‘big dogs’ of a company that “manufactures and markets feminine care products primarily in North America”, should really be the ‘big bitches’. Playtex Products, LLC, while not only aimed at female hygiene products, has a 100% male board of directors.
Women making a difference:
Diva Cup (Canada), Moon Cup (UK), and MPower (RSA) are all founded by strong, passionate women who wanted to see a change in the world. They put in the hard work and dedication needed to make it work. As well as selling products that help to lessen a woman’s environmental impact, whilst having obvious health benefits, they also give back to communities. When you buy a menstrual cup, you aren’t supporting huge international corporations. Instead you are helping those less fortunate—those who would ordinarily miss school or other social interactions due to their periods—have access to feminine hygiene products. You are helping women around the world continue with their normal lives, 365 days a year.
Oh, the waste:
In addition to saving approximately 240 tampons from entering the waste steam every year, those who choose to use menstrual cups are reducing the associated costs to the planet that go into making tampons. Tampax applicators are made of cardboard or plastic. That’s 10,000 plastic applicators entering the landfill over a lifetime of use. Your box of tampons comes in a box and even though it is recyclable, it still requires materials to be made, ink to be printed, and diesel to get to where it is needed. Research on the wrapper is hard to come by because no one seems to care that it is also thrown away, but it can be made of either plastic, paper, or a paper and plastic fiber mixture—240 small pieces of wrapper, 2 billion women of reproductive age, that’s a whole lotta waste.
Changing to a menstrual cup is not only good for the environment but also for your health. Tampons are all FDA approved, and I don’t want to get into a black hole of rayon and dioxin exposure, so we’ll just assume all is well in tampon manufacturing land. However, there are still instances of toxic shock syndrome in relation to tampons. ‘Fragranced’ and ‘super absorbent’ are more likely to result in adverse and allergic reactions.
Make the change:
Choosing which one is right for you depends on your age, if you’ve been pregnant before, and other factors. It takes some getting used to, but it’s worth it in the long run. Some brands may speak to you more than others. For example, the team at Moon Cup have two office dogs, whilst the women at MPower in South Africa upgraded a sewing project so that the bags are all locally made by a community of women, which in turn ‘mpowers’ them. If you’ve got a brand you love, feel free to leave some info in the comments below so that other readers can benefit from your reviews.