Posts tagged #RUMPS

Disposable Menstrual Products Contributing to the Climate Crisis

Photo by  Markus Spiske  on  Unsplash

In honour of the #climatestrikecanada that is happening now across this great land I would like to revisit how important your choice of product for managing your menstruation is. Each product we buy and use contributes to the greater human and planet condition. How you manage your monthly period is one way you can make a small but integral change for the better and if more women did so, the better it would be.

The traditional disposable products of sanitary napkins and tampons that many of us use are adding to the plastic problem every time we bleed. Just take a moment and think about the amount of garbage a single box of tampons or pads contain. The larger packaging is generally recyclable but the contents are not. Each tampon or pad may come wrapped in plastic and the tampon applicator may also be plastic. Unless you have a specified recycling bin in the washroom - which I have never seen anywhere in my life - the majority of these are going directly into the trash, not to mention the actual used tampon or pad (remember NEVER flush your tampons or pads down the toilet. NEVER).

I caution you to be discerning when choosing a menstrual product to manage your monthly flow. The average woman bleeds only about 3 tablespoons of blood each month. I think we can agree that’s not a whole heck of a lot and yet we tend to consume disproportionate amounts of product to manage this relatively small inconvenience.

Not only do traditional pads and tampons cost a fair amount of your hard earned money and you must keep restocking them over and over again but some are also made of nefarious materials that may cause health problems. Always check the ingredients on the box and if there is no list of ingredients, consider it toxic. Don’t you want to know what you’re putting inside or against the most delicate part of your body?

Alternatives do exist. They are called ReUsable Menstrual Products or RUMPS.

Rumps include menstrual sponges, menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads and menstrual underwear and a brief synopsis and examples of each are below.

 
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Menstrual Sponges are made of sea fibre that is an all-natural alternative to tampons in that they are inserted into the vagina and soak up the blood. One advantage of a sponge is that they conform to the individual’s body and thus are very comfortable once in place. Each sponge needs to be thoroughly rinsed and wrung out before insertion and will absorb for about 4 hours when it will need to be rinsed, wrung and reinserted or a new one used in its place. The bonus is that sponges are natural and contain no toxic chemicals that could harm you. The use of sponges is a learning curve (much like tampons and cups) but if you’re concerned about environmental waste then this could be the option for you.

Find sponges on Etsy or at JadePearl.com

Find sponges on Etsy or at JadePearl.com

 
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A menstrual cup is a little silicone rose-shaped cup that once inserted into the vagina it catches the blood of your period. The cup can remain in place for up to 12 hours before it will need to be emptied, rinsed and reinserted. 12 hours! That’s a full day of life. Wowza!

Our friends and favourite, the DivaCup, a Canadian company, is widely available and comes in 3 sizes and retails for about $29.99. One cup can last for up to 10 years. Imagine the money you can save! The hassle of running out of product will no longer be a problem AND you are helping save the world, one period at a time.

 
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Cloth pads are incredibly comfortable and can be personalized in an infinite variety of fabrics, pattern and sizes. The common cloth pad is made from cotton and is free from harmful chemical that may be found in traditional pads. Using cloth pads is better for the environment as there is no waste and easier on your budget as you simply reuse your cleaned supply every month. Without a doubt there is more work required when using cloth pads because in order to reuse them you must quickly rinse them in cold water and eventually wash and dry them before reusing. This takes time and effort. You have to ask yourself if you’re the type of woman who walks the walks and does all the little things that grow your integrity. They might prove to be a bit tricky if you have a heavy flow and need to change them often but all the negatives can be easily resolved with a little ingenuity and determination. You can custom order or make your own pads and really be in control. You can unleash your creativity with the colour and pattern of the fabric you choose and change the absorbency potential of each one by adding or deleting the layers in the middle. You can have butterfly themed pads for light days and watermelon ones for the first few heavy days. Heck, invite your crafty friends over and have a pad making and swapping party. Here is a link to a sight that offer a tutorial and pattern to make your own. Happy sewing!



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This category is the newest in the marketplace and one that I personally have not tried but would love to hear from anyone who has their honest opinion on the effectiveness of them. The general idea is that instead of adding a pad to your underwear, the pad is built right into the gusset of the panties themselves. This means that you can just wash and wear them again like you would regular underwear and although the initial cost might be quite steep, you will be set for a year or more. Brands like Knix, Lunapads and Thinx all offer different sizes, colours and styles. For example, Knix offers leakproof underwear for light days or as a back-up for peace of mind while Lunapads states their underwear can hold 2 tampons worth of blood.

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I urge you to really have a long hard think about what you use for your period every month. The fact that periods are a repetitive business means that whatever product(s) you use will be habitual and the ramifications of them might be as heavy as your flow. By choosing an option with little to no waste you will be making the world and your period environmentally friendlier and isn’t that empowering?

Photo by  Ross Findon  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Instagram Inspiration

Feby recently joined Instagram and was pleasantly surprised to find various accounts run by teenage girls about all things menstrual related. One such account has turned into one of our biggest fans and supporters. The femme_wear Instagram account is run by Courtney, a 13-year-old girl living in the US. According to a recent '20 facts about me!' post, she loves Lana Del Rey, photography, menstrual cups, AMPS and RUMPS (alternative and reusable menstrual products) and would one day like to own a cloth pad business AND be a chemical engineer AND work for NASA. Gosh! I just love a girl with ambition!

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Recently I conversed with Courtney via email and asked a few questions as I was curious to know what got a 13-year-old interested in running an account for other teenagers to turn to with questions and concerns regarding AMPS and RUMPS.  

Please note, all exclamations! are Courtney's own. 

Feby: How did you personally first discover reusable menstrual products?

Courtney: I can't quite recall how I discovered reusable menstrual care. I think it was around June 2013. I think I was on YouTube and came across a video/review about the DivaCup. As I was curious, I went online and found out what these products were and how they worked.

Feby: What motivated you to start an Instagram account and website about RUMPS? 

Courtney: The motivation behind my Instagram account and website is to inform girls and women about the amazing benefits of reusable products. I felt that not enough young girls in our generation had proper information about all the different types of menstrual care out there and I needed to help spread the word :)

Feby: Do you feel your success (400 + followers) reflects the current need for more information about RUMPS to the teenage consumer?

Courtney: Absolutely! I think my success in the followers I have gained shows that other girls my age are interested in reusables. It shows that not enough information is being presented by parents and teachers that they come to my profile for their questions! 

Feby: You gave a favourable review to the Feby bracelet. Would you recommend one to all girls your age? What do you think is the most important information you have gained from this bracelet?

Courtney: I'd definitely recommend this bracelet to all young women! It empowers us to be proud of our menstrual cycles and not to be ashamed. I personally think this bracelet is amazing because it shows what's happening to us during these hormonal changes within our cycle...(example: when we'll experience PMS or when we're most fertile). No period tracker app can tell you all of that!

Feby: Do you feel comfortable talking about menstruation with your friends and family? Do you believe this subject should be dealt with more openly? How do you think people can make that possible?

Courtney: I'm open about menstruation with my sister and mother, but not my friends. I do personally believe that periods should not be taboo, because it happens to every woman! My mother actually thinks that all my pads and cups are really cool, even though she has never personally tried them! If we had an open conversation about menstruation, it doesn't have to be awkward! We all sleep, go to the bathroom etc., why can't it be the same with our menstrual cycle?

Why indeed? 

If girls like Courtney are any indicator of the next generation, the future is in very good hands. 

You can follow Courtney on her Femme_wear Instagram and her blog here

 

 

 

Posted on July 11, 2014 .