6 Enticing Environmental & Global Health Reasons to Switch to the Menstrual Cup

I am so proud to partner with OrganiCup to discuss these important topics!

Most women I talk with are a little weirded out by the idea of a “menstrual cup” at first. They think it sounds weird or painful or ineffective or just “gross”.

Well, I’m here to tell you - it is none of those things! In fact, menstrual cups are the SHIT.

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The irony is, the convention methods (think tampons & pads) of managing our periods can be all of those things! But in many ways, because they are what is “normal” and “accepted”, we don’t think much of it. So I challenge you to challenge the paradigms around your period! I was stubborn for far too long and now I’m kicking myself for the years I wasted not using the cup. The cup has changed my period experience forever!

Apart from the hygienic and mere convenience benefits of the cup (think 12 hours of coverage!) there are tremendous health and environmental benefits to switching over!

But first, let’s cover a few period stats and facts:

  • It is estimated that over 45 billion products related to periods (tampons, pads, applicators) are thrown away each year.

  • The average woman uses between 11,000 and 16,000 feminine products in her lifetime.

  • Pad and tampon brands are not required by law to list the materials and ingredients used in the production of their products. (eeekk!)

All to say, periods are a big deal! How we manage them can have significant health & environmental implications. Becoming aware of the bigger picture surrounding our periods and the management of them can allow us all to make the most informed decisions. I think you may be surprised to realize, your period management choices not only affect you- but the planet and people around the globe as well.

So let’s get to it! 6 reasons to consider switching to the cup:

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  1. Cotton is one of the most pesticide- intensive crops grown on the planet- and your vagina is hella absorbent!! In fact, because the vagina is so rapidly absorbent, researchers have explored the possibility of delivering drugs vaginally! If you’re buying non organic tampons, you’re most likely purchasing something that contains non-organic cotton and therefore sprayed heavily with pesticides & other chemicals. These companies often use bleach and whitening agents as well as chemical fragrance & dyes. Side note: glyphosate is the herbicide found in Round-up weed killer. In once study, 85% of tampons tested contained glyphosate. Yeah, it’s not a pretty picture. Women have the right to know what is in their products so that they can make informed decisions for their own health. I’d bet that most of us don’t want to absorb chemicals up our vagina for a week out of every month.

  2. Hazardous pesticides associated with global cotton production represent a substantial threat to global freshwater resources. Although it is only grown on 2.5% of the world’s agricultural land, cotton consumes 16% of all the insecticides and 6.8% of all herbicides used worldwide. In fact, it is responsible for the release of US$ 2 billion of chemical pesticides each year, within which at least US$ 819 million are considered toxic enough to be classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization. (WOWZA!) Not only do these chemicals have personal health implications (as seen in #1), they also have incredible environmental implications. When these pesticides are washed out of the soil, they pollute rivers and groundwater- especially those in neighboring communities! Cotton pesticides have been found to contaminate rivers in the USA, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Australia, Greece and West Africa. Furthermore, monocultures grown in this way strips the soil of its biodiversity and inherent ecosystem. This continues to contribute to the degradation of our farmland and to climate change.

  3. Cotton is a very water intensive crop. Organic or not, cotton requires a large amount of water in its production and processing. In fact, it is considered to be the world’s “thirstiest crop”. When soil quality is poor (more likely in the case of non-organic crops), this causes the crops to require more water due to reduced water infiltration rates. This leads to a vicious cycle of soil degradation and increased water usage. To give some perspective, according to WWF (World Wildlife Fund), it takes more than 5,283 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton, which roughly equals one T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

  4. The people (and children) involved in the cotton supply chain. It’s easy for those of us living in developed countries to buy our cotton tampons (or clothing for that matter) and not think much of who was involved in the supply chain of these products. But when we stop to consider these things, the truth isn’t pretty.

    According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, 99% of the world’s cotton farmers live and work in the developing world where low levels of safety awareness, lack of protective equipment, illiteracy, poor labelling of pesticides, and chronic poverty exacerbate the damage caused by cotton pesticides to low income communities.

    Children are often involved directly with pesticide application even though they are particularly vulnerable and often the first victims to pesticide poisoning.

    According to organicconsumers.org, in Egypt, more than 50% of the cotton workers in the 1990s suffered symptoms of chronic pesticide poisoning. That’s just one example of the realities of conventional global cotton production. Cheap cotton comes at a price, and someone is paying it.

  5. Tampon applicators and pads are forever. This shit doesn’t degrade. And if it does, it will take centuries. The Ocean Conservancy collected nearly 30,000 used tampons and applicators on beaches in just a single day in 2015.  When tampons are flushed, they can end up in sewer systems and waterways. When they are thrown away, they go to landfill. Pads are majority made of plastic and therefore, are also not biodegradable.

  6. CUPS ARE CHEAPER! Let’s be honest, we’ve all complained of buying tampons! They are by design, single use and they are certainly not cheap! Invest in a cup- typically around $30, and you’ll save a mad amount of money over your lifetime. This point is not necessarily environmentally based, but it is if you consider that you are not giving your money to support the corrupt global cotton industry!

There are many more benefits of switching to a cup, but I think you get the picture.

It’s cool and empowering to know that by merely switching to the cup, you can have a global impact.

Menstrual cups take a bit to get use to, but once you go to one, you will never go back!

Grab yours HERE. You'll want a size A if you’ve never had children and a size B if you have. Use code ROOT for 20% off.

Sustainably Supported by OrganiCup. As always, all opinions are mine & these are products I truly love!  #sponsored