OrganiCup co-owner Gitte Dalberg-Larsen explains how vital her hypoallergenic menstrual cup is to the sustainability of the planet…
What was your first experience like with a menstrual cup?
To be honest, I hadn’t tried a menstrual cup before I started working with OrganiCup more than 3 years ago. :) So a couple of days before, I purchased one and was very pleasantly surprised — my first try went smoothly and I felt comfortable with it straight away.
But my first experience might be the exception rather than the rule. In fact, we have learned, through our consumer surveys, that it takes on average 2-3 periods before you’re truly comfortable with your cup, so I always say to new cup users: it takes time, practice and patience but, once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s smooth sailing and you will never consider going back to pads and tampons.
Cups have become quite prevalent in the wellness market — what sets yours apart?
We’re from Denmark – a country with a long history of design that typically focuses on simplicity, clean lines and natural materials. We wanted to bring such ethos to the world of period products. It’s been our ambition since OrganiCup was founded in 2012 to make the menstrual cup more widely accessible to women all over the world, and make it appealing through great design and an engaging brand. Our brand design and aesthetics are incorporated in everything we do: content, website, leaflets, packaging – you name it.
Besides that, being as environmentally friendly as possible and using natural and safe ingredients are at the forefront of our business. Our packaging is made of recycled carton and the instructions have been printed directly on to it to eliminate additional waste. The storage bag is made of unbleached, 100% organic cotton. The OrganiCup is made from 100% medical-grade silicone, which is FDA approved. Furthermore, OrganiCup registered with The Vegan Society, is cruelty-free and is the only menstrual cup certified hypoallergenic with AllergyCertified.
We are all becoming increasingly aware of what we put on and inside our bodies, and this is also reflected in our interest in sustainable period products — why should period products pollute our planet and contain harmful chemicals when it can be avoided?
Tell us about the sustainability of using a cup vs. other feminine care products?
As there are several environmentally friendly period products available, we think it’s very important to consider the impact period products have on the environment. On average, a person goes through 11,000 disposable pads and/or tampons in a lifetime. If you multiply that number by everyone on the planet who gets their period, that equals a substantial amount of waste. And that’s without taking the life cycle of the products into consideration. The time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is centuries longer than the lifespan of the individual who used it – particularly when it’s wrapped in plastic.
It’s hard to say if your personal, period-related waste is worth worrying over in the grand scheme of things. But one thing is for sure — switching to an eco-friendly menstrual product means you won’t contribute to overflowing the landfills with period products; in the US alone 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons pollute landfills annually.
Unlike disposable period products, the OrganiCup is reusable for years and it creates a minimal impact on the environment. The lifespan of the cup means saving the environment for the packaging and material waste of thousands of disposables per user. That’s quite an environmentally friendly solution compared to the conventional alternatives.
What was the inspiration behind creating OrganiCup?
In 2012 there was an article series in a Danish national newspaper about the menstrual cup and its benefits. We had never heard about anyone using it and, with all its benefits, it made us wonder: why not? That same strain of thought made us think about why no period innovations came to be in over 50 years when half the Earth’s population have periods for a large part of their lives. This was kind of mind-boggling to us… when you consider the amount of waste that is created each month by disposable period products, the chemicals they contain that we put inside our bodies and that pollute our planet, and all the girls around the world, not just in developing countries, that stay away from school because they can’t afford period products or because they are ashamed of their period.
We wanted to change that. So we’re on a journey to change the way periods affect our lives, our bodies and our environment.
Your instructional video is very unique and clever! How did that come to be?
Thank you! Periods and period products have historically been associated with shame. There’s a long history of menstrual taboos across nearly all cultures, and these continue to manifest in subtle ways. This attitude towards periods is partly due to lack of knowledge. Many are told to manage their period privately and discreetly. Not being able to ask questions about how to manage your period or the different period products that are available can lead to shame and affect the way you feel about your body. Traditionally, in the marketing of period products, brands haven’t talked about periods in a natural way, which has resulted in manifesting periods as something unnatural and something to be embarrassed about.
So, with our instructional video, and our communication in general, we’re focused on elevating the conversation about periods and our bodies. We want to inform people in a (hopefully) interesting, funny and truthful manner. Periods are natural. We’re all here because of them. Therefore, we don’t shy away from saying ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’ or from using red liquid instead of blue. We talk to our community as they are our friends – we don’t talk down. We want the OrganiCup universe to be a space where you can comfortably ask questions, a place to seek information.
What, to you, makes women remarkable?
Coming from a country where most women work full-time besides taking care of their children and families, I really admire the strength and power of women. I do believe that women have incredible physic strength.
Although, we might be underrepresented in management positions, I think, we make great, nurturing and effective leaders.
We’re good multitaskers.
One thing I do think we should be even better at is helping and empower each other, praising each other’s achievements whether small or big, and encouraging each other to believe in ourselves. Enhancing this “Sisterhood” feeling and sharing important stories are some of the important areas we want to focus on in our coming OrganiCup communication. Because when we help each other and stand together we possess incredible power.
What does OrganiCup have planned in the future?
I don’t want to reveal too much about our product development but I can say that any new products coming from OrganiCup will have focus on sustainability, clean ingredients and have the purpose of bringing healthy solutions to women.
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