If any of you remember the popular early naughties film ‘the sisterhood of the travelling pants’ then you will be relieved to hear that I am not proposing sharing a moon cup… but I hope this blog will help to persuade you that MoonCups are not only an incredibly environmentally and purse friendly way of managing your period, but also are perfect for travelling in every country.
I have been using a moon cup for 2 years now, and it has made my life so much simpler, particularly when travelling.
In 2014 I was fortunate enough to end up working in Hong Kong for three months, on a construction site in 40oC and 100% humidity. On my way home I spent a month travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia. While I was there I also did a lot of hiking… and if any of you have been to Asia you will know the toilets are less than appealing and not set up to dispose of sanitary items. In my bag I took 4 months’ worth of tampons and some sanitary towels. This is a lot of stuff to pack away and carry around but in Hong Kong sanitary-ware is extortionately expensive, and in Vietnam it is very hard to find, so I went prepared! Nothing went disastrously wrong, but travelling and periods don’t always mix.
Working onsite in Hong Kong
Having survived my Asian travels without too much incident (minus treading on a Cobra…) I returned to university where I received a truly unique lecture on ‘Menstrual Hygiene in the Developing World’ from Bristol graduate and founder of NoMoreTaboo; Chloe Tingle. I studied Engineering, so the majority of my peers were male, and to my pleasant surprise most of them responded very well to the interactive lecture. The social response to ‘periods’ varies considerably around the world, from embarrassing moments at school to total social exclusion. As well as discussing the impact that menstruation has on young girls and women in developing countries we were shown various different methods of menstrual hygiene control that are used around the world, including reusable pads and MoonCups.
Now, I have always tried to be conscious about how much waste I produce, I recycle everything I can, reuse bags and clothes and anything I can until it crumbles. But I hadn’t fully appreciated how that singular bodily function could persuade me to be such a consumer and waster! In the UK each woman in her lifetime spends over £3500 on sanitary products, uses over 11,000 pads or tampons; creating over 150kg of landfill waste which takes 500 years to biodegrade. Chloe’s inspirational lecture made me re-think the way I handled that special time of the month and I decided to buy a MoonCup.
Planet Custodian – Every month, nearly 432 million females dispose of used sanitary pads
I will be honest and say it took a few months to properly get used to, and in that time I continued to use pads as a backup. But since then I have had no problems. All of a sudden a huge monthly spend had disappeared, but best of all that awkward moment when you realise it has been 4 hours since you changed, or you are having a particularly heavy day, doesn’t happen anymore, as you can use a cup for up to 8 hours. This was a huge relief when hiking through the Cordillia Blanca Mountain range in Peru.
After graduating I volunteered with Engineers Without Borders in Lobitos, Peru with a great charity called EcoSwell. While working for the charity sanitation facilities were not a far cry from what we have here in the UK. However I did do a lot of surfing and running. I think MoonCups function better than tampons when it comes to sports, both in and out of the water.
MoonCups are also great for use in wild outdoor activities, like surfing with sealions
Once I completed my placement we (my boyfriend and I) went travelling for a month through Peru. We spent a week in Huraz, which included a four day Santa Cruz hike; four days without a toilet, and yep… I was on my period. But fear not… I did not have to carry my box of tampons and pads and a bin bag…. just the one moon cups, rinsed out with drinking water, saw me through the whole trip, and NO WASTE was left in the mountains!
Camping at 4,200m : No matter where in the world you are, menstruation happens
I know MoonCups may seem odd, unhygienic, and unfamiliar; but they are much more convenient than tampons, much more hygienic and so so much easier for travelling.
If you are unsure… just give them a try… and like me you will never look back.
I would like to add that NoMoreTaboo and charities like it are doing great work around the world in both developed and developing countries. They not only inform people about the more environmentally friendly options to menstrual hygiene control, but also work with womens’ groups in developing countries to try and break down the taboos surrounding ‘periods’; empowering women to take control, build social enterprises selling menstrual ware, and developing support groups in countries where the taboos can be crippling to female equality.
Thank you for reading this blog, check out NoMoreTaboo’s website here: www.nomoretaboo.org