As I have already mentioned in my review of the TOM Organic tampons, green and healthy period-care can be tricky to find. Greenwashing, using chemicals like dioxin, chlorine and rayon, and the disposable nature of these products in general make it pretty hard to find sustainable and healthy products. This is why I thought that shedding light on some of the companies that seem to be making a genuine effort would be useful not only for me as I strive to make more sustainable choices in my day to day life but also for anyone reading this who wants discover greener and healthier alternatives. The menstrual cup has become more and more popular on the market and rightfully so, since it is generally more sustainable than conventional period-care products like tampons or pads. One company that stood out to me is “OrganiCup,” which was founded in 2012. What I love most about OrganiCup is their commitment to producing high-quality, toxin-free, sustainable products, while also contributing to educating people about periods and reducing the stigma and shame around them. Their devotion to giving back is admirable and should be the norm for any company that claims to put sustainability and health first.
The organic menstrual cup is made of 100% flexible medical-grade silicone and contains no color additives. The medical-grade silicone contains silicon, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen atoms, being therefore toxin-free. The cup is AllergyCertified as well as registered with The Vegan Society, which means that no animal testing has been done. The Allergy certification appears to require thorough assessment by a toxicologist. There is a lot of transparency about the kind of chemicals that are not allowed in Allergy certified products, as well as about the chemicals that are allowed but that require additional testing to determine concentration or purity, which I think is great. The pouch it comes in is made of organic unbleached cotton and the product is shipped in plastic-free packaging made from recyclable cartons. Moreover, to avoid additional waste, the instructions are printed directly on the packaging. As opposed to more conventional options like pads and tampons, which no matter how sustainable, still need to be disposed of, the organic menstrual cup can last years. This is great for the environment as it drastically reduces the amount of waste. For comparison, during their lifetime, a menstruating person would use approximately 11.000 tampons/pads, which needless to say, aren’t all easily compostable or biodegradable. This means that most of them would end up in landfills, each of them taking up to 500 years to degrade, resulting in a major source of pollution.
According to the company, the silicone, which is sourced from quartz, is made in the U.S. However, according to them, the cups are then produced in China, so regionalizing their manufacturing would be great as this would reduce their carbon footprint.. The menstrual cups are also made in Germany, using silicone that is also made there. However, there is no information on where the organic cotton used for the pouch is sourced from. It is mentioned, however, that manufacturing is done in compliance with ISO 9001 and ISO 13485. The ISO 9001 certificate ensures that the company meets process-based requirements, like customer focus, leadership, recognition and empowerment of the workers, improvement, evidence-based decision making, and a good customer-supplied relationship. The ISO 13485 certification requires companies to demonstrate ability to manufacture medical devices that meet customer and applicable regulatory requirements. Something I like about how they make the products is that they make the packaging small in size in order to reduce emissions from transportation. The organic cup is supposedly manufactured at top-grade facilities which are audited to ensure they meet CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) requirements, which focus on the ethical social, environmental, and economic behavior of an organization.
OrganiCup was started in 2012 in Copenhagen out of a wish to address the need for more sustainable period-care products, as well as for education and alleviation of period poverty. Besides the obvious environmental impact of menstrual cups, OrganiCup is also focusing its resources on addressing the cultural and social impact of periods. Since periods are still a taboo topic in most places, OrganiCup aims to foster conversation and knowledge in order to avoid the perpetuation of the stigma. They are doing this by establishing partnerships with organizations that fight to combat the shame that comes with having a period. For example, OrganiCup donated 660 cups to the “Rethink Periods” project which provides teacher training and product boxes for schools to keep and use. Moreover, to point out the impact of periods, OrganiCup highlighted the statistics regarding period poverty and the consequences of it being taboo across screens in London’s Oxford Circus station. Finally, the company also acknowledges the issue of period poverty by donating products to organizations like Freedom 4 Girls, which fights period poverty and the lack of education on menstruation in Kenya, where 60% of girls and women do not have access to sanitary protection. With all that said, OrganiCup is undeniably an amazing company that works to change how periods affect the environment, people’s lives, and their bodies.