Want to know why it’s a good idea to swap to sustainable menstrual products? Image supplied.
Periods – most of us suffer through them on a monthly basis, but not only do they wreak havoc on our bodies, they wreak havoc on the environment too. Would you believe me if I told you that traditional menstrual products such as pads and tampons are made up of 90% plastic and other harmful chemicals such as bleach and synthetic fragrances? So each month, we are inserting into and exposing our delicate lady bits to potential harm. Not only are traditional sanitary products not ideal for our bodies but they also have a detrimental impact on the environment. Period waste is notorious for contributing to our plastic pollution problem, with plastic-based sanitary products taking roughly around 450 years to decompose – let that sink in. So with all that being said, it is our responsibility as women to ensure that when it comes to periods, we are not only making the right decisions for our bodies, we are also doing our part to reduce our plastic pollution footprint on the world.
Luckily for us, over time, period products have evolved to bring us some pretty fantastic plastic-free, biodegradable and recyclable options and an absolute game changer, in our opinion, is the mighty menstrual cup! Menstrual cups have many defining factors that make them a contender for potentially being the perfect period product. They can hold up to three times more fluid than tampons, they give you up to 12 hours protection where you can be free to enjoy your life as you please doing activities such as running, jumping and swimming without the risk of an accident and they are much, much better for your body as they don’t contain any nasty chemicals.
So with all that said, we set out to find a brand that not only creates these cups, but understands the need to create a diverse range of cups to fit different vaginas and needs, as well as understanding how important it is to create a period product that doesn’t have an adverse impact on the environment and we think we found that with New Zealand brand – The Hello Cup.
We had a chat with Hello Cup co-founder, Robyn McLean and asked her thoughts on how to make your period more eco-friendly.
Why is it a good idea to swap to sustainable menstrual products?
I totally get why people can be apprehensive about making the switch because I was one of those people! Periods are kind of something we’ve been used to dealing with in an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ way and sustainable periods do mean you are ‘facing’ your period more. However, let’s remember that half the world has periods and we should be normalising them and not afraid of them. A single person will use around 11,000 tampons in their period lifetime which equates to about 150kg of waste from wrappers, tampons, packaging etc – It’s pretty horrific. If sustainable period life was hard or messy, I probably wouldn’t have ever got on board either – but sustainable periods are amazingly easy and convenient. For me using a menstrual cup was actually more comfortable than a tampon and as someone with heavy periods, the fact they hold three times more than a tampon was also a huge bonus. I can put it in and forget about it.
Also, because non-organic tampons and pads contain micro plastics, they take hundreds of years to break down. It’s pretty horrific to think that the first tampon ever used is still somewhere on our planet! A menstrual cup will generate about 0.4% of the plastic used in tampons and pads and Hello Cups are actually recyclable at the end of their life so they’re an amazing option to save serious waste and do better things for your body.
Pads can contain up to 90% plastic and not only that but many are fragranced and one study revealed that synthetic fragrances can be made from up to 3,900 chemicals. You just don’t want that sort of crap up your vajayjay. There are also no regulations to declare what’s in sanitary products so that’s why most people aren’t aware that many contain micro plastics, bleach, and chemicals that aren’t really ideal for sensitive places. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to what we put in our bodies and who makes the products.
The Hello Cup offer a variety of menstrual cups to meet your needs.
How can we make our periods more eco-friendly?
Ditch the tammies! Seriously, sustainable periods are amazing. The most common response we get when people make the change to a Hello Cup from tampons is ‘I wish I’d tried them earlier’. So the main piece of advice I have is always: ‘just do it’. Education is key – learn and share with others about how wasteful single-use period products. Most people are really surprised to know that a simple switch can save them money and be hugely beneficial in terms of individual waste reduction.
You’ve just launched a low cervix cup – how do you know if you have a low cervix?
When it comes to finding the perfect menstrual cup, knowing where your cervix sits is really important. While our regular Hello Cups are fine for most people, for some, their cervix will sit low or high and they may need a special cup.
Our Hello Low Cervix Cup does not have a ‘toggle’ at the base. This is because people with a low cervix have a shorter vaginal canal, so they may find the toggle exposed, or uncomfortable. Instead, Hello Low Cervix Cups have a rounded base which is thickened – allowing for easy removal. If someone with a low cervix uses a ‘regular’ menstrual cup, they will often find it protrudes which may be uncomfortable. We have a handy cervix measurement guide to help people determine their cervix height.
We don’t have a cup for high cervixes yet – but it’s on our ‘to do’ list. Check out our measurement guide on our website.
Tell us more about The Hello Cup
We’re a small New Zealand business making a big impact. We’ve just past a massive milestone – we’ve saved more than 200 million single-use sanitary items from landfills and waterways across the globe! We also recently became one of a handful of Kiwi companies to receive B Corp accreditation – an international certification to help consumers find brands that have high values when it comes to the environment and the way they operate their business. It’s hard and lengthy to get the accreditation but it’s worth it.
We make our cups in Napier and our despatch office is in Wellington. Our key focus is menstrual cups. We also do washable, reusable organic cotton liners too which are perfect to replace daily panty liners or also as a cup back up.
We want to make sustainable periods comfortable, easy and convenient. Mary, my best friend and co-founder, is a Registered Nurse and her medical knowledge has been so helpful – especially when it comes to designing products that will work for as many people as possible. We recently won the Gold Colour Award at the Best NZ Design Awards 2020, which we were absolutely stoked about.
Make the sustainable switch today – Use the code HELLOFASHIONZ for 15% off your first purchase at www.thehellocup.com.
This story is brought to you in partnership with The Hello Cup.