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Maddie Hiatt

I switched to sustainable period products and here is what you should know

After 7 years of using pads and tampons, I decided to make the switch to sustainable period products. There are tons of types available (the diva cup is the most well known) but I decided to switch to using a Ziggy Cup and cloth pads.



I chose the Ziggy Cup, because it has a unique ring shape rather than a cup shape and you don’t have to rely on suction to keep it in place. It is inserted in the exact same way as the birth control Nuvaring, to give you a comparison, but there are instructions that come with the cup too. I was a little scared to make the switch, because I was not sure how different it would be, but once I switched I was so glad. So to make it less scary for those considering making the switch, here are some things you should know.

Cups are not as scary as they seem! You just have to get the hang of them.

I was terrified to use my cup for the first time. What if it got stuck? What if it leaked? What if it didn't fit? These questions were racing through my mind my first trip to the bathroom. But once I actually tried it, it really is not that bad. It slides in super comfortably and, once it is in, you can’t even feel it. When it is time to take it out, you just have to relax and hook the edge to pull it right out. If you are scared, then you won’t be able to focus and pull it out (I freaked out the first time I took it out and couldn’t hook it properly). But once you’ve done it once, it's as easy as riding a bike.

The clean up process to empty the cup, clean it and reinsert it, is more effort than in using tampons or pads.

Now this is the important part that deters many women from switching to sustainable products: emptying the cup. Emptying the cup can be a very difficult process if you are not prepared. First, make sure you have a paper towel and cup of water. You will need to rinse out and dry off the cup before you can reinsert it. I just bring a cup with me to the bathroom and fill it with water, so I can rinse off the cup in the toilet and dry it off. A little awkward, but to save the planet I'm all for it! Then I’d put it right back in. Once you get used to it it is actually quite easy!

You do not even notice the cup is there (if it is in correctly)

The cup sits right behind your pubic bone, which holds it correctly in place without any suction. This means that once you put it in, you won't be able to feel a thing! It is so comfortable and makes you feel way more free than wearing unsustainable products.

Yes there is blood and yes it can get messy. 

Blood is part of your body; it is nothing to be grossed out by. When you empty the cup, you are using your hands and, if it is full, the blood can get on your hands and your thighs, but it just takes some practice and some paper towels to perfect your process.

Cloth pads are much more comfortable than the disposable ones

Cloth pads are so soft that they feel much better than the plastic based pads. There is no sticky back, only a little button on the reverse side, so nothing will stick to your skin or hair. 

Pads are kept in a odor block bag until you’re ready to wash them

You are probably thinking that cloth pads would be so gross to use because you aren't going to wash them everyday. Well, they come with a cute little bag for storage and they fold up really small so you don’t have to even worry about them until the end of the week, and it is time to throw them in the wash.

The pads are extremely cute!

They come in so many fun colors and sizes so you can find the ones that best suit your style and makes you feel confident!

You are saving the planet!

According to Organicup Co, a menstrual cup producer, “Tampons, pads and panty liners along with their packaging and individual wrapping generate more than 200,000 tons of waste per year, and they all contain plastic – in fact, pads are around 90% plastic! The average user throws away an astonishing 125 to 150kg of tampons, pads and applicators in their lifetime.” So by switching to sustainable products, you are helping cut down on waste and keeping our planet clean.

Hello! I am Nicole Poirier and I am attending Cal Poly SLO as a first year. I have extensive background in the media industry. I have completed an internship with my local 92131 Magazine as a writer as well as an internship with the NBC 7 Media Academy. I was a part of my high school newspaper for three years and was the Editor in Chief. I love traveling, volunteering with shelter animals and spending time with my dog Lola at home. I have earned scholarships from the Scripps Ranch Women's Club as well as from the Scripps Ranch High School counseling department. I hope to share some of my story with you though each article I produce. Enjoy!
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