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Why sustainable period products are experiencing growth

I was gifted a menstrual cup in 2008, back then they were still quite a new thing. I’d been raised as a bit of a ‘greenie’ so we had already switched to cloth nappies, and I cannot even picture the amount of waste that otherwise would have been generated from our four children! I was always a tampon girl, as I grew up doing a lot of swimming and going to the beach, so switching to a Menstrual cup was fairly smooth sailing for me and just made sense since I was a fan of reusables for baby, then why not for me and my period?

Since launching Lunette Menstrual cups in New Zealand in 2016, and Modibodi period underwear a year later, we have seen a huge shift towards sustainable and reusable period products. Single use pads and tampons are being ditched. 

Why is there a shift towards reusable and sustainable period products?

The reasons to switch to a menstrual cup are varied and through regular customer surveys a huge 99% of Lunette Menstrual Cup users would recommend them to others. We have also seen steep upward trends in the demand for reusable period underwear and swimwear, particularly for tweens and teens. Even reusable cloth pads have seen steady growth over the past five years.

Consumer surveys reveal these main reasons for making the switch:

Savings

An investment of $50 in a quality Menstrual Cup or $200 worth of period underwear is worthwhile as opposed to approximately $1000 over 5 years for conventional single use period products. 

Environmental

Reusable products greatly reduce the amount of period rubbish going to landfill and waterways. Teaching about sustainability is now a part of the New Zealand school curriculum and as a result tweens and teens these days are more environmentally aware and moving towards reusable products over single use, plastic-filled throw aways.

Health

Conventional sanitary pads and tampons contain chemicals, dioxins and bleaches, which can leach into the body or cause reactions and chemical burns to the skin. Menstrual Cups made from Medical Silicone do not leach chemicals into the system, and they do not absorb any of the body’s natural lubrication. Period underwear and reusable pads are usually made from organic cotton, the top layer, made from natural fibres, is moisture wicking and will not cause chemical burns to the skin. Many people experience less cramping and a much more pleasant, “free-flowing” period when using reusable period products.

Convenience

A menstrual cup can be worn internally for up to 8 hours between emptying, which means more time for play, sleep, work and study. They hold 3-4 times as much blood as a tampon and school students do not need to worry about a lunch-time pad change and many menstrual cup users say, “it’s like not having your period” or it’s “Life-changing”. Reusable period products don’t run out, so there is no need to dash to the supermarket or stockpile as with disposables.

Changes in the Period Product industry:

U.S. Menstrual Cup Market Nielsen Analysis – showed that out of all menstrual products during the 2020 ‘COVID year’ menstrual cups had the most growth with a steady 6% growth. Market reports show that the sales of tampons have dropped in the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.

Globe Newswire reports that the global menstrual cup market is expected estimated to see a growth rate of 5.9% from 2019-2027. Did you know there were only 3 Menstrual Cup brands globally 15 years ago to now over 120 brands of menstrual cups?!

It is known that the period products that we are first introduced to are the ones we usually stick with for life… whether it be a disposable pad handed to you at school, or a lovingly-made reusable cloth pad, or a tampon handed to you under a cubicle partition, a pair of period underwear, bought ahead of time in your size for just-in-case or a menstrual cup just like mum/ aunty uses. 

If you haven’t made the switch to reusable period products yet, consider the reasons above why everyone else has made the switch. Which reasons sits best with you?

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