Unfortunately there will come a point in time when your menstrual cup may have served you well, but is now in need of replacing. One of the primary reasons women are turning to menstrual cups is because of the significant amount of environmental waste saved by switching from disposable pads and tampons. So, is your menstrual cup still environmentally friendly even at the end of it’s life? Well, it all depends on what your cup is made out of.
Medical Grade Silicone
The vast majority of menstrual cups currently available are made from medical grade silicone. This includes leading brands such as Diva, Juju, and Lunette. Despite the extensive use of silicone within various industries, there are currently very few (possibly none in Australia) recycling plants that can or will recycle this material. So, the unfortunate answer is, silicone menstrual cups are not easily recyclable. However, on a plus side, unlike plastics which can have harmful chemicals which leach out into the soil and environment, silicone is free of all nasties and will not add any hazardous chemicals to the environment. This means you can cut up your used cup into little pieces and scatter it through your garden. Or, just pop it straight into the bin.
You may also choose to burn your old silicone cup. It will take quite awhile for the cup to completely burn and turn to ash, so it is best to throw it into a bonfire/camp fire, or into your home wood fire. However, do not burn in your home fire if using DuraFlame firelogs. While it may take awhile to completely burn up, the silicone will not emit any harmful fumes or toxins.
Maybe you are feeling creative and can think of other uses for your used menstrual cup. Perhaps as a succulent planter, small watering cup, a stress ball….. If you have any other ideas, please feel free to let us know!
If your cup is made out of TPE plastic, such as the Hello Cup, then the good news is that this type of plastic is recyclable. However, this is only possible if your local recycling plant accept number 7 plastics. If you are keen to see your old TPE cup recycled, then you can wash it, chop it up into little pieces, and then send it to the Hello Cup company in New Zealand. They will then be able to recycle the cup in their factory.
The Keeper Cup is made out of Gum Rubber. This is a natural product collected from the Rubber Tree using a process called ‘tapping’. An incision is made into the bark of the tree, and the seeping fluid is then collected in vessels that have been attached towards the base of the tree. Because the Keeper cup is made from a raw earth material, it is one of the few brands which is fully biodegradable. Chop it up and place it in your garden or compost at the end of it’s life. This rubber is the same product used to create latex products, so do not use the Keeper cup if you have a latex allergy.