The times we live in
It’s 2020, so for better or for worse, going green has become a trend. Sure, capitalism took its good advantage of this eco-friendly wave like with anything else. Yet, if it’s for a good cause, investing a few bucks into the ever-grinding economic machine doesn’t look that bad. Today, we’re offered thousands of sustainable alternatives to objects that are part of our daily routine. But one of them might have been far overlooked, and still doesn’t get the spotlight it deserves.
Yes, my bleeding, leaking friends, I’m talking about the menstrual cup. Menstruating is such a natural part of life, that I’m hoping by now all stigmatization around it is way out of the window. But some have yet to realize the environmental impact that the menstruation market has on the world. The mass production and commercialization of disposable pads completely changed the way many of us lived that specific time of the month – though it’s fair to remember that not all of us have access to such resources. Indeed, they made it all less complicated; but what if the solution becomes a problem?
What’s really inside?
Both pads and tampons come with their fair share of plastic. Those pretty wings, the poetic applicator, and let’s not forget the packaging: a whole triumph of plastic. I guess it’s a good thing that, being considered medical waste, menstrual supplies do not need to be controlled nor tracked when it’s time to make a balance of their plastic waste. And yes, how about all those nice people flushing pads and tampons down the toilet – come on, guys. Not to mention the chemical cocktail they put inside these products so to make them fresh and nicely scented, so we can stop repelling unbothered human beings with our extraordinary odor. So, so sorry.
The green solutions up for grabs
According to an analysis by National Geographic, a single menstruator will use somewhere between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons. You don’t have to be a math genius to know that’s a lot of garbage. But you can be smart enough to embrace the trending options the sustainable world is offering you. There’s of course a variety of alternatives: reusable, washable pads stand as the nephew of the good ol’ cloth, and are certainly a non-invasive, green way to manage your periods. If you want to opt for a fancier solution, there’s also specifically designed panties that allow you to bleed on them without having the blood leak all over.
But today, I wanted to give the stage to the true star, the menstrual cup, which is probably the greenest choice you can make. Menstrual cups are made of rubber, silicone or latex, and can last you for nearly 10 years of usage. That’s a long life, considering it takes one single purchase of about 20 euro. They need very little water to be washed up, so even in that area, the waste is minimal. It’s easy to see how much we’d be cutting on plastic waste if we all opted for green alternatives.
Yet, many people are still unaware of the existence of such alternatives or are not well informed about it. Spreading the voice is important to boost a good educational program about green alternatives: the menstrual cup could look scary and difficult to use to first-timers. However, it’s safe, simple and much more convenient because of its price-duration ratio. Your daily actions can have a huge impact on the world; your nearly 40 years of bleeding can do so much good, if well planned.
Giada graduated with a degree in Cultural and Linguistic Mediation (Unipd) and obtained a MA in Media Studies (Leiden University). She works as a freelance copywriter and translator, and as a content creator for a platform on digital nomadism. She’s worked for Inditex and other similar brands for several years, witnessing the cruel reality of fast fashion on a daily basis – something that motivated her to participate in Atmosphera lab.