Is it really possible to have a more environmentally friendly period? Apparently so. In the UK alone around 1bn tampons and sanitary towels are thrown away a year, contributing to a global average of 200,000 tonnes of waste from menstrual products, a large proportion of which is destined for landfill or the ocean. Faith Barker, an SH:24 supporter, shares her experience of using the Mooncup, an easy and environmentally friendly alternative to tampons and sanitary towels.
An over-sharer at the best of times, things reached a peak when I got my Mooncup. After a few drinks at parties, I become a Mooncup evangelist. “I haven’t bought a tampon in five years! I’m saving so much money! And the planet! Yeah, it’s just like a fun menstrual goblet!”
I hope to have converted some people, or at least made them curious about the option. In the hope of reaching even more people, I’m here to tell you about my experiences with the Mooncup.
A Mooncup is a brand name for a menstrual cup; in America they’re often known as Diva cups. They are a flexible, bell-shaped cup worn lower than a tampon, at the entrance of the vagina. They cost around £20, and come in a couple of sizes. I discovered mooncups in a very progressive sexual health book my mum gave me when I was 12, and finally decided to buy one when I was 19. I was sick of filling the planet with more waste from tampons and wrappers and applicators, sick of carrying tampons around, and interested in saving some cash. (it’s reckoned you can save up to £90 a year!)
My first few experiences with the Mooncup were less than ideal but I'm now a complete convert. After struggling to get it in (you fold it in half, put it inside your vagina, where it pops open and forms a seal on the walls of your vagina), I had even greater difficulty getting it out. I considered ringing my mum and asking her to get the train for an hour to come and help me because I wasn’t sure any of my university friends would be too sympathetic.
I want to be honest, then, about the fact that the Mooncup might not work for you immediately. It’s definitely worthwhile to keep trying until you get the hang of it! It took me about three periods until I figured out how to get it out with one hand, whilst in the dark without ending up looking like I’d committed a horrific and gory crime (Editor: Faith, you are a period ninja). I would never go back to tampons.
I love the Mooncup because it saves me money and helps me feel like a better person, environmentally speaking. It’s also changed my attitude to my period. I was never squeamish but being able to actually see how much I bleed means I feel more in touch with my body and my menstrual cycle. It wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too messy, it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was perfect.