Cut carbon foot print

Thanks to a growing consciousness towards environmental safety, for women who want to explore healthier, more nature-friendly solutions, there is the menstrual cup, writes Elsa Mathews.

In India, only 42.6 million women can afford sanitary napkins and they use a whopping 21.3 billion napkins in their lifetime. Alarmingly, conventional 
sanitary napkins are made from materials like crude oil plastic and chlorine-bleached wood or cotton pulp that don’t just pose a serious health hazard, but are also unsafe for the environment.

Isn’t there any alternative to these napkins that end up creating 
insurmountable amounts of toxic waste? Thanks to a growing consciousness 
towards environmental safety, for women who want to explore healthier, more 
nature-friendly solutions, there is the menstrual cup.

Made from high-quality, medical-grade silicone this innovation is reusable, 
cost-effective and, most importantly, can play a crucial role in reducing a woman’s carbon footprint. In India, Shecup and Mooncup are two brands of the menstrual cup that - unlike sanitary napkins - collect blood, instead of absorbing it.

For Swati Maheshwari, 28, who owns an organic products shop in Mumbai, Shecup has proved to be a boon. “I only check on it once in the morning when I am putting it on and then again at night when I have to take it out. The greatest advantage is that I don’t have to worry about changing sanitary napkins at odd times. It is a blessing, particularly for a working woman like me, as I travel a lot and often work late,” she shares.

With a capacity of 28 ml, the menstrual cup can easily handle heavy flow. When it is worn, it pops open inside the body creating an air lock that allows it to 
remain in place, eliminating any chance of leakage. 

Swati has been using the menstrual cup for six months now, although she 
admits that initially she was quite sceptical. “Any new concept takes some time to be understood and get used to. My outlook changed after I attended a workshop organised by Shecup representatives at a local school.

I was surprised to find out that it can take up to 500 years for a sanitary napkin to 
degrade! That was the chief reason I decided to make the switch,” she says.
Amrita, 26, who lives in Gurgaon, finds the menstrual cup a far more hygienic option. “It has helped me a great deal because I have very sensitive skin and 
using sanitary napkins was getting to be inconvenient,” she says. “With the 
menstrual cup I don’t even feel that I have something on,” she adds.

The menstrual cup has definite economic advantages as well. While the regular sanitary napkins and tampons need to be restocked frequently, the cup is a one-time investment that, with proper care, can last a long time.

Katie Holland, a local stockist for Mooncup in India, swears by this method. “I have been using the Mooncup since 2002 and managed to convert most of my friends in the UK as well,” says the belly dancer, who runs her own dance 
studio in Delhi.

According to Katie, the majority of women who buy the product from her are in the age group of 27-40 years and come from all walks of life. Allaying any apprehensions one may have about feeling discomfort while inserting the menstrual cup into the vagina, she says, “The first few times one uses the product it can be a little awkward as one has to find the position that is suitable.

Of course, once that minor hurdle is 
overcome, women just feel relaxed. The menstrual cup is made of soft medical grade silicone that allows you to fold and insert it. Later on, you can dance, swim, jog and live your life as usual.”

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