****Warning, today I am giving you an insight to a low waste period. If you are not comfortable with this kind of content, please come back next week for something different****
Over the last year I found myself becoming more and more careful with the products I use. No part of my life has been safe from this review, so after moving through everything in my bathroom I finally spent some time with my period products.
Looking at the method I was using and how much waste it was producing was really starting to bother me. When the bathroom bin is full before the end of the week it just makes me sad!
Making a switch like this should not be jumped into without research. I spent about 2 months looking into what could be a suitable for the sort of period I have and my contraceptive method and at the end of it, a menstrual cup was the only option that appealed to me.
So…….lets talk about cups!
What do I use?
After watching every YouTube video known to man on this subject, I picked the Saalt Cup. This is menstrual cup that is made from very flexible silicon, they come in a variety of sizes and flexibility so they are really accessible! The brand is also amazing so I recommend you checking them out!!
I also use reusable pads, but we will get into that in a second.
How does it all work?
The soft silicon material allows you to fold the cup small enough for you to insert it. Similar to the way you would insert a tampon, but you just need to do a little origami first. On insertion the cup kind of “pops” open and creates a seal just under your cervix so the blood can be collected without leaks. To remove the cup, you insert a finger and your thumb to pinch the base of the cup (kind of like finding a tampon string) which breaks the seal and allows you to pull it out. Once out, just tip the contents into the drain if you are emptying in the shower, or down the toilet if this is your preference. Give it a little rinse and then reinsert.
You can empty and reinsert the cup as frequently as you feel you need to, but here is my pattern for reference:
Heavy Days: every 3 hours
Medium Days: every 6 hours
Light Days: twice a day
I always empty it first thing in the morning, before the gym, yoga class or bed regardless of the day.
Now…leaks happen. You could have inserted the cup in a rush, or not realised how heavy your period is that day and get caught short (can you tell I have done both of these?). This is where the reusable pads come in….they catch anything that may have gone a bit wonky…but they can be washed, reused and do not contribute to a full bathroom bin!
Using them on the go:
This is the nicest term I could think of for “emptying your cup in all scenarios”.
I have been quizzed about this by people and to be 100% honest, it’s all about practice! Do not try to empty your cup the first time in a public restroom, it just makes for a horror story later. I spent a few periods just using the cup at home to get use to it. It also allows you to remove the fascination of how much blood you loose during this time, because it just becomes part of the process.
If I am in the comfort of my own home I can do a quick empty and reinsertion with no issues because everything I need is right next to me. When I am out and about I have a little kit with me that saves the day every time. I have a silicon drinks cup that I pop a little water in so I can rinse my menstrual cup with no issues. I also have some tissues folded up just in case there is no toilet paper in the stall.
Refusal pads are not much different from single use ones. All you need to do is carry around a few spares and a little pouch to keep the used ones in. Before you ask, good quality ones do not have any odour issues.
Caring for your pads and cups:
Any menstrual cup should be sterilised as frequently as possible. I usually do mini cleans every day to keep everything happy. This is done with an oil free mild soap. Once my period is over I do a 7 minute deep clean where I pop the cups in a pan of boiling water.
For the pads, there are lots of recommendation on how to do this but they do not work for me. Keeping a bucket of water in my bathroom is not something I want to be part of. Rather than that, I do a daily loads of laundry. A low eco wash with no fabric conditioner is all you need. I usually throw in my gym gear to make sure that this is not wasteful.
I have just finished my period as I write this, and since I have made these switches I feel less “yucky” and fearful of my period. I don’t feel like I need to restrict any of my activities and I can say hand on heart I am sleeping better because I don’t have to worry about any overnight mishaps!
So, that is my little period chat. I am by no means an expert in what is best for you or 100% zero waste, but this is working for me and I hope it inspires you to have a little look at your routines.
Have a great weekend xXx hugs and love xXx