The Impact measured by number of Menstrual Cups gifted and sold by My Cup since 2014
kg CO² eq. Global warming potential reduction (greenhouse gases)
Amount saved by communities by buying or being gifted a menstrual cup
Menstrual waste saved from landfills and waterways in New Zealand
Product comparison kg C02 eq over 1 year
A study done by Thesis Weir concluded that a medical grade silicone menstrual cup rates very highly in comparison to single use products over a period of a year.
- Overall, the menstrual cup produces the least amount of fossil fuel depletion.
- A menstrual cup produces the least amount of abiotic depletion.
- A menstrual cup produces the least amount of global warming potential
- A menstrual cup produces the least amount of acidification.
- A menstrual cup produces the least amount of eutrophication.
- A menstrual cup produces the least amount of waste per year.
- A menstrual cup does not change and vaginal pH
- A menstrual cup does not cause mucosal alterations.
- On a single unit basis the menstrual cup has the lowest environmental impact if used over a year.
Production of reusable menstrual cups
The manufacturing of menstrual cups is a shorter and more environmentally friendly process.
The steps involved are few:
- Source raw material" Silica (sand)
- Manufacture raw material into silicone
- transport silicone to factory
Silicone itself is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and silicon. The ingredient silicon comes from silica which is derived from sand. The silicone-making process involves extracting silicon from silica and passing it through hydrocarbons.
Silicone used inside the body should be "medical grade" or pure silicone.
A low quality silicone may contain chemical fillers. You can test a silicone product for chemical fillers by pinching and twisting a flat surface of it to see if any white shows through. If you see white, a filler likely has been used because pure silicone should not change color at all.
A menstrual cup is formed into its shape by a process called injection molding. The silicone extrusion process begins by blending a tow-part silicone mix to produce a medical grade
The True Cost of the Impact on our Planet
Production of single-use products
Over 50% of the worlds population menstruates but the taboos surrounding periods have hindered the development of new products for well over 80 years. People can use approximately 12,000 to 15,000 non-reusable menstrual products over the course of their lifetime.
The resources required to produce single-use menstrual products are huge. From the harvesting of raw materials, packaging the finished product and then disposal, single-use menstrual products are not only having negative environmental impacts, they are also having an impact on human health. However, very little academic research has been completed exploring the effects of possible environmental effects of menstrual product production, use and disposal.
With so many people menstruating we need break down taboos around periods to enable new innovations in period management to be shared and talked about. Are the claims that reusable menstrual products are more environmentally friendly than mainstream menstrual products?
Here are some of the environmental impacts of the manufacturing, use and disposal of all menstrual products.
A huge amount of energy is used globally to produce single-use menstrual products. This includes:
- Harvesting of raw materials: human energy, fossil fuels
- Manufacturing raw materials: electrical, thermal energy & fossil fuel energy
- Distribution and Transportation: fossil fuel energy
- Waste Management: thermal, chemical and electromagnetic energy
The main raw material used for the production of disposable menstrual products is cotton. Other materials may include:
- rayon fiber
- paper pulp
- synthetic polymers
- super absorbent polymers
- bleach, optical brighteners
The following environmental impacts occur through the production and disposal of all menstrual products
- Abiotic Depletion
- Fossil Fuel Depletion
- Global Warming Potential
See descriptions below
Abiotic depletion refers to the depletion of nonliving (abiotic) resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, clay, and peat.
Fossil Fuel Depletion
Fossil fuel depletion. Fossil fuel depletion is the extraction of natural gas, oil and coal reserves at a rate higher than nature replenishes them.
Global Warming Potential
Global warming potential. Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere up to a specific time horizon, relative to carbon dioxide.
Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials which may pollute land or water ways.
Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO. 2) from the atmosphere.
Excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to run-off from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life such as algae blooms.
Social Impact of Reusable Menstrual Products
The impact of using menstrual cup is astounding! Even though we get phenomenal feedback from our customers and community groups we still cannot quantify the far reaching effects of how one menstrual cup can change a life!
Real savings to a person over the life of a menstrual cup (10 years) equates to an average spend of $2400.00. This can contribute to real life consequences when you may have more than 1 person menstruating in your household.
Menstrual Cups collect rather than absorbing, they do not contain harmful unknown chemicals and keep your vagina health balanced. A healthy body ensures you can get on with life!
Reusable menstrual products empower people as they don't have to worry about the financial burden of single-use products and they give them more freedom.
A person can dispose an average of 39.5 kgs of single-use menstrual waste over 10 years. A menstrual cup weighs an average of 15 grams and is disposed as clean waste into landfill at the end of its life.
A cleaner, greener planet and healthy waterways. A healthier planet for our family and future generations.
Practical cleaning tips and products to help you keep you cup clean!
Want to learn more about menstrual cups before you buy?
Find out more about our social enterprise.