The text message simply read, “Come by the house tonight, we will be hosting two cycling tourists who are talking about menstrual cups”. Not one to pass up a learning opportunity and a chance to make tasteless jokes about human anatomy, I headed over to meet my friend and the ladies in question for dinner and conversation. Over the course of the evening, I was fortunate to meet Toni and Kaitlyn and listen to stories about their cycling adventures and discuss the wonders of sustainable menstrual products.
On their way through San Luis Obispo from Seattle, the duo pedaled hundreds of miles living on only $4 a day and the generosity of people they met along their route. In the name of women’s health, environmental responsibility, cost-efficiency, and female empowerment, Toni and Kaitlyn have given away over 230 cups, taught women how to use their new piece of equipment, and encouraged others to share their enthusiasm by spreading the word. Just yesterday, I received an email from them as a follow-up reiterating what they went over in their talk, troubleshooting tips, and links to their blog and other helpful resources. These girls are truly an inspiration!
Over a lifetime, the average woman can spend upwards to $2,000 on single-use pads and tampons. These disposable products create an enormous amount of trash from being tossed into the landfill as well as pollution/energy waste through growing, processing and bleaching the absorbent materials. By contrast, the cups are made from latex and silicon, last for ten years, and cost around $35. They catch rather than absorb moisture and do not leave fibers in the body or harbor the same amounts of bacteria as tampons (which can contribute to Toxic Shock Syndrome). The cups do not need to be changed as frequently, and are easy to clean. Most brands of menstrual cups are made by small companies which a nice change of pace from purchasing products from giant businesses that feed into the agro-industral complex.
Menstrual cups are at times a bit difficult to find, but can be ordered online or requested from your local drug store. For more information, links and flyers about reusable menstrual products, browse the Sustainable Cycles resources page! Make your period less of a pain for the environment and your wallet by using a menstrual cup!