For this weekly swaps some absolutely beautiful items for Anthropologie. I love to fill my home with beautiful, but useful things. They serve the dual purpose of decoration and utility. Here are just a few beautiful, waste free items that I saw and loved while perusing the Anthropologie home section.
With beach time in full swing we’ve really perfected our Zero Waste beach routine. Living in Barcelona does have the awesome perk that the beach just just a few minutes away and always accessible.
But it can also lead to excesses like eating out and creating waste if you are not well prepared. How’s a brief look into how we prepare for a day at the beach, especially if we are traveling further along the coast.
Today I want to get very personal (and detailed) and talk about my latest swap: the menstrual cup. It’s estimated that tampon users will go through 11.000 tampons in her lifetime. I personally estimate that I use around
I only made the switch this week because 1) I was a bit scared of fitting this little cup into my lady parts and 2) I still had a stock pile of tampons waiting to be used and I think the first tenant of zero waste would be to not create waste just to make swaps.
Some facts to start. I have a VERY light period. It run from 3-4 days, it’s always on time, and I have a light flow. But I also have dysmenorrhea (read painful periods with lots of cramps and occasional vomiting), so it’s not party time. I don’t use pads or liners, nor wipes or washes. My personal estimate is that I use 8-10 tampons per cycle, resulting in approximately 120 tampons used per year.
Selecting a menstrual cup
To complete my purchase I did a great deal of research online reading other blog. I found this article the most helpful. But in the end I went with the Mooncup that is available in my country. Here’s an excellent article with a Mooncup review that made my choice even easier. I purchased the A version, as I am over 30 (as indicated on the packaging).
I purchased it at a local bio supermarket, Molsa, for 28€ (It’s available on Amazon for $28.45 USD). I find the prices to be steep, but when thinking about safety and the long term use of this product you will absolutely be saving compared to purchasing disposable tampons, pads, and liners.
Inserting and adjusting the Mooncup
I work up at 7am with stomach cramps, indicating my period would soon be on the way, but it was way too early to even think about learning how to insert the cup. I recommend waiting until you are alert, because it requires quite a bit of concentration and trial & error.
Later in the day I followed the instruction to first sterilize the cup. This required boiling the cup for 5-7 minutes but making sure not to boil it dry. After sterilizing I waited 15 minutes for the cup to cool before getting to work.
Choose your first time inserting the cup along with your sleep schedule as you should be cleaning it out every 4-8 hours. I started at 8pm.
Pantsless, and standing I put myself into a squatting position for easier insertion. I wet the cup, as recommended in the instruction, and prepared for the worst.
I found the first method of folding the cup twice to be the easiest way to insert it. You squeeze it flat and fold it in half. It is quite a bit bulkier than a tampon so it will feel quite uncomfortable.
I found it best to press it toward the lower part of my vagina to insert it more easily.
Don’t let go of the fold and side the cup higher you can adjust it down afterwards, but it’s so bulky I found it more difficult to push it up then pull it down into place. It has quite a suction! I used my index finger on the sides of the cup to get it into a more comfortable position.
I didn’t have any problems with the cup opening properly once inside.
This cup has a long stem that you can cut to adjust. The stem should not hang outside of the vagina. I immediately removed it to cut the stem a bit and the second insertion was much easier. But the stem was still to long, but I decide to wait until my next cleaning to remove it again.
How the Mooncup feels inside
When I have a tampon in, I don’t feel anything, but I know many women than do. The Mooncup I can definitely feel inside me, particularly when I was more bloated at the beginning of my period. It feels like a little bit of pressure inside.
After the insertion the Mooncup I fiddle with the it for a few minutes (and every few minutes) to adjust when it is pressing on my insides. I’m sure with further use it will get easier to place it just right the first time.
It reminds me of my first experience using tampons at 17. It took some getting used to getting the right angle. And this is quite the same. There is a little learning curve.
After the first day, I could barely feel it there and it made me a little worried about leaks. Gratefully, there were none to speak of!
Removing the Mooncup
Removing the cup was BY FAR the most difficult part. The trick is to be calm. For this reason, I would not recommend a menstrual cup for younger users. Thinking about my younger self, I would be freaking out (and possibly crying trying to get the suction to give up and release the cup from my vaginal walls.
But as a mature 33 year old staying calm was no issue. I resumed the same standing squat position to remove the cup, as I did when inserting it.
I found the first method of squeezing the cup with two fingers from the bottom to be impossible. Instead I used my index finger to break the suction seal and gentle used it to the slide the cup lower.
Again, I pushed the cup toward the lower part of my vagina to make it easier to pull out. Since the stem was fully outside of my vagina, then I could grasp the cup with 2 fingers and pull it down.
There was not risk of leakage as the cup was quite suctioned in. It’s only in those final moment when you get the cup full out that you might slip, but it you are going slow and cautious I see no possible issues.
Clearing and cleaning the Mooncup
I found it easy to clean out the Mooncup and get it ready for reinsertion. On the first day of my period I didn’t have a big flow, so there was barely anything to clean out. But a quick wash in the sink and you’re all set.
P.S. I would not feel comfortable cleaning out the cup in a public bathroom without a private sink.
At the end of my cycle I again sterilized the cup and placed in into the cloth carry case, ready for its next use.
Pros of the Mooncup
- Easy to insert and adjust (there is a learning curve)
- Clear instructions
- Convenient carrying bag
- Comfortable inside
- Simple, not fancy color or glitter
- No leakage, tight seal
- Certified ethical business
- Two sizes for the best fit
- Translated into multiple languages
- No plastic waste
Cons of the Mooncup
- A bit difficult to remove (but I’m sure it will improve)
- Hurts on the way out as it’s now a full cup, not double folded
- High cost (but let’s test it against durability) – might be cost prohibitive for some potential users
Final thoughts on Mooncup
I’m pretty satisfied with my purchase, as you can see from the PROs far outweighing the cons. I hope it will last me a long time. Buying 150 tampons per year (3 boxes of 50 from Target) runs me $28 (25€). So this purchase will pay off in one year (as I mentioned earlier it was 28€). I think the environmental impact, the impact on my body, and the impact on my finances are well worth the switch.
The little discomfort in starting a new method of managing my period will go away, but the benefits will not. Excellent solution and zero waste swap.
Have you made the switch? Which cup are you using? Let me know in the comments.
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One of the biggest excuses that I hear when I explain living a zero waste lifestyle to friends and colleagues is that it’s cost prohibitive. So I wanted to show them that it is possible on a limited budget to live more responsibly. You don’t have to change everything at once, nor buy the most expensive “tools” to make a lifestyle change.
So I’ve dedicate this post to zero waste swaps under $5, to so that with just a small investment you can start making impactful changes.
After a particularly tough week I wanted to share some of the failure on our zero waste journey. As in everything in life you have to go through ups and downs to be able to find your perfect rhythm. And we’re still figuring out our way. But I think failure is part of the process and if you take it as an opportunity to learn more you’re never really failing.
It’s summer. It’s hot. And we’re extremely busy this week. Those aren’t excuses, but the situation we find ourselves in. And had given ourselves a pass to loosen up a very restrictive lifestyle, that is still new to use.
Accepting our failures with grace
We didn’t get a chance to buy coffee this week, I’m busy building a website for a site project and Alex started a second job in the mornings every other week. So, Alex ran out to a local coffee shop two mornings this week. I was feeling guilty the minute I saw the plastic lids, but it was so early neither of us thought about getting the cups. On the bright side, I was able to find coffee for our Italian machine in the supermarket completely wrapped in paper and recyclable. I picked up two carton, so we don’t have to go out (and it cuts down on expenses 250g per box for 2,50€, beats 1,50€ for a cappuccino!)
What I learned
We’re still learning to manage of coffee consumption. And I need to buy Alex a bamboo mug like that one I have.
Tuesday was by far our most complicated night. I worked from 8:00 to 14:00, had lunch that Alex prepared, worked on the website until 18. Went rock climbing until getting home around 21:30. Alex arrives home around 22:15. I has little energy to make something for us, so I orders in sushi. Great from a meal standpoint. Horrible from a plastic standpoint. Only one thing was in a paper container.
What I learned
I need to investigate options to eat in from places that don’t use plastic. And pizza is a more sustainable alternative 🙂
P.S. – We plan to continue to order in food. It’s a convenience we partake of every once in awhile and something we can find low waste solutions to. I do not find it contrary to our lifestyle.
Celebrating our successes
A deodorant swap
I switched the crystal alum deodorant this week and it’s great! It’s a bit strange to start using. (You we the crystal then swish it around your arm pit.) But so far it’s working out great. I still have some regular deodorant that I am using for sports. So I’ll let you know an update once I’m 100% alum devoted.
Bamboo toothbrushes at bulk prices
I found a cheaper bamboo toothbrushes on Amazon Prime. I was able to get a 5-pack for just 13,50€! These babies run for more than 5€ in the store. (p.s. They are WAY cheaper in the US. I’m going to have to stock up next time I visit.) They came completely packaged without plastic and work perfectly. The only issue is they are all the same color, but a little nail polish can help us differentiate.
My first beeswax wrap
I’ve been holding off on making this purchase for a while, because I wasn’t sure if it was completely necessary. If we have left overs we usually store things in glass containers or use veggies and fruit savers. So went I saw one at our local bulk store I decided to give it a try. I made banana bread muffins with chocolate frosting over the weekend because our bananas were going bad (no food waste in this home!). We used the beeswax wrap to cover them. It worked like a dream! And we had fresh muffins each morning for breakfast.
That was our week of success and failures. How was your week?
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- Weekly Zero Waste Swaps (August 6)
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My boyfriend has shared custody of his son so during the summer we have 15 days of each month with the adorable little monster at home. He is 8,5 and very impressionable. He has seen the change of lifestyle that we have made over the last few months and keep us and himself honest.
Just a few days ago he spent the night with his grandmother and took his football with him. On the way back she gave him a plastic bag to carry it more easily. He told her that he would return the plastic bag when he gets to us because we don’t use plastic at home. It really made it clear for me that when you talk, they really listen.
Summer is in full force and we’re really feeling the heat here. But that hasn’t stopped us from getting out and enjoying the sun and even enjoying the airconditioned indoors by having friends over for dinner parties. Our friends even mention that they are going to start going zero plastic at home, too, when they move to Munic next week! I’m so happy we were able to influence them positively with out success.
Many people believe that Zero Waste is inaccessible because it requires you to find new places to shop to be able to make the lifestyle possible. It’s really not true. Not having specialty stores in your area are not a hindrance to this lifestyle. There are other solutions even if you just have supermarkets near you. I went through the 1000+ items in Amazon Fresh’s WholeFoods selection to show you just how you can make a zero waste purchase from the supermarket (even a virtual one).
We have some major issues in our bathroom of late and I needed to remove absolutely everything to give the workers free reign to fix the leaks. After seeing the piles of items that we has stored inside it was finally time to take the plunge and declutter and let go of many things that really were just gathering dust until we could find an opportunity to use them.
I learned that we’re not so good with throwing away packaging when we have a little left in the bottle and we never plan to use that little bit because we were more concerned with replacing it with something else or we’ve already outgrown this plastic packaged product.
I delayed my usual Monday blog post to send on this day, the 31st of July because I’m a super nerd and it’s Harry Potter’s birthday! I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that you can find to fit your zero waste lifestyle that are HP branded.
I remember reading all of the books in junior high and high school and to this day they bring me joy. They are really so well written and captivating. I’m now reading them all in Spanish on my kindle. So Happy Zero Waste Birthday Harry!