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Menstrual Cups and Reusable Pads: The Ultimate Guide to an Eco-Friendly Period

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An eco-friendly menstrual kit

Source: Vanessa Ramirez [8]


Jakarta - Women undergo menstrual cycles for 40 years of their life and are often unaware of the environmental impacts that come from using disposable pads and tampons. However, research indicates that increased awareness would lead women to opt for more environmentally-friendly menstrual products [1]!


Here are some of them:


Menstrual Cups

A menstrual cup

Source: Anna Shvets [9]


Menstrual cups are flexible, bell-shaped devices made either from silicone, rubber or latex that are inserted into a woman’s vagina to capture menstrual blood, which are then emptied after 12 hours or every four to five hours during heavy flow days [2].


But why are environmentalists loving menstrual cups? Simple: they are an eco-friendly alternative (since they are reusable, help save water and hardly use plastics) and they are equally effective as pads and tampons. To evidence, four studies that included 293 women reported that the level of leakage was similar to pads and tampons; in fact, one of the studies reported there was less leakage among menstrual cup users compared to tampon users [3].


Perhaps most importantly, they are less expensive in the long run since they can last up to 10 years [2]. To illustrate, the cost for a menstrual cup that lasts for 3-5 years is Rp. 175.000,- while a cup that can last up to 10 years is Rp. 400.000,-.


While the cost upfront would be a lot more than the average 12 or 24 pack of pads which cost around Rp. 16.000,- to Rp. 30.000,-, depending on the brand and type, there would be no additional costs for the next 5-10 years with menstrual cups.


To put it in perspective: a menstrual cup that lasts for 5 years costs Rp. 175.000,- while a year supply of a 24 pack costs around Rp. 300.000,-.

According to gynaecologist Dinda Derdameisya, the switch to sustainable menstrual products in Indonesia has been increasing, including menstrual cups. Although they are indeed a greener alternative, she notes that women should learn how to clean and sterilize their menstrual cups properly to prevent any irritation or infections, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) [4].


Tip: Before using the cup each month, boil it in an open, deep pot for 5-10 minutes and make sure the entire cup is underwater. When emptying the cup, wash it with nontoxic soap and water before inserting it back in. Remember to avoid any soaps that are basic or too acidic since the vagina has a specific level of pH. After using the cup for the month, either boil it again or wash it clean and keep it in a cotton pouch which is often given when purchasing the cup [5].


Where to buy? - Aloha Cup (Shopee), demibumi.id, sustaination.id, zerowaste.id

Read Also: Pads and Tampons: The Cornucopia of Plastic

Reusable Pads

A set of reusable pads

Source: Peace with the Wild [10]


Reusable pads, or also known as cloth pads, are made from polyester, organic cotton, polyurethane and more [5]. They have wings that snap into place unlike a disposable pad which uses adhesives and they are a lot more breathable since they’re not made from plastics. On top of that, they don’t contain any harmful chemicals, which means they’re a lot safer for women’s reproductive health [6].


The price of a reusable pad can range between Rp. 27.000,- to Rp. 40.000,- which is equivalent to one pack of 24 disposable pads. The price of purchasing five reusable pads is around Rp. 135.000,- and similar to a menstrual cup it can last about 5 years which means there would be no additional costs after purchasing it.


Research conducted in Sumba determined that the use of reusable pads could help eliminate 175 kg worth of menstrual product waste for one woman’s lifetime [7].

Additionally, some women have reported feeling less irritability or itchiness compared to a disposable pad due to its breathable quality.


However, using reusable pads would also mean more laundry, and some women have reported to feel more “wetness” compared to disposable pads or tampons, which may feel uncomfortable [5].


Where to buy? - demibumi.id, sustaination.id, zerowaste.id


Here’s the summary


Conclusion


Rather than being exposed to the harmful chemicals in disposable pads or tampons which are also highly wasteful and harmful to the environment, it’s highly recommended to switch to menstrual cups and reusable pads, which the planet would definitely love.


It’s time to convert and join the greener side.

Share your experience with these reusable products! Write in our forum HERE!

Sources:

[1] https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/2/473/htm

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/health/menstrual-cup-periods-women.html?auth=link-dismiss-google1tap

[3] https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/16/health/menstrual-cup-study-intl-trnd/index.html

[4] https://en.tempo.co/read/1305091/menstrual-cups-for-the-environment-and-what-the-doctor-says

[5] https://www.madesafe.org/the-ultimate-guide-to-period-products/

[6] https://menstrualcupreviews.net/reusable-cloth-pads-faqs/

[7] https://kopernik.info/en/insights-reports/kinsights/reusable-sanitary-pads-in-indonesia-may-be-too-expensive-to-be-economically-attractive


Pictures:

[8] https://www.pexels.com/photo/pink-menstrual-cup-in-box-1560288/

[9] https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-white-menstrual-cup-3683065/

[10] https://www.peacewiththewild.co.uk/product/small-reusable-sanitary-pads-3-pack-earthwise-girls/


#femininehygieneproudcts #menstruation #menstrualcup #reusabalepad #zerowaste #eco-friendly

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