Mooncup – Can you really have an eco-friendly period?

Something I have found whilst researching for this blog post is that surprisingly, in 2018 the topic of menstruation is still a taboo subject. Period talk is definitely met with mixed reactions, particularly from males, and my husband is no exception. All talk of periods are pretty much banned in our house as it makes him extremely queasy and uncomfortable. You can only imagine his disgust when I broached the subject of menstrual cups with him. I think I remember him saying “we don’t need to save money that badly” and “I’ll buy you tampons if you can’t afford them” from my sister. I found both highly amusing and if I’m honest it only spurred me on to want to try them even more. So here I am, five cycles in and about to tell you exactly how I made the switch from tampons to the Mooncup and why I’ll never switch back again.

What the hell is a Mooncup?

For those of you who haven’t come across a Mooncup before I’ll explain a little bit about what it is. It is a replacement for other disposable sanitary products and is a silicone, reusable menstrual cup, it is inserted, rinsed, sterilised and reused as necessary. Yes, a reusable cup that you empty, rinse and reuse.

When I first heard about the Mooncup I have to admit I was just as grossed out as I imagine you are right now, but bear with me for a moment.

Reasons I wanted to try the Mooncup

First and foremost the most important reason for me to want to try the Mooncup was is that it claimed to be a safer alternative to tampons, with a very small risk of toxic shock syndrome which is associated with tampon use.

Recently there has been a new study published which states otherwise (Read here) the long and short of it is to avoid the risk of potentially fatal Toxic Shock Syndrome menstrual cups should be sterilised at the end of a cycle (in boiling water or as you would baby bottle teats and pacifiers) and changed more often than stated to be safe.

I wanted to save money

Once I calculated how much money I spend in a year using tampons (around £100!) it definitely prompted me to consider it more!

I also wanted to be a part of the solution not the environmental problem and if I’d known about the impact sanitary towels and tampons have on the environment I would have considered switching a long time ago.

“A Life Cycle Assessment of tampons conducted by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, found that the largest impact on global warming was caused by the processing of LDPE (low-density polyethylene, a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene) used in tampon applicators as well as in the plastic back-strip of a sanitary napkin requiring high amounts of fossil fuel generated energy. A year’s worth of a typical feminine hygiene product leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg CO2 equivalents. (https://rctom.hbs.org/submission/the-ecological-impact-of-feminine-hygiene-products/)

DID YOU KNOW? Tampons actually draw away natural moisture leaving you susceptible to infections!

So here it goes, I bought one, which cost £21.99 from Mooncup.co.uk.

They come in two sizes, one for women under 30 who haven’t given birth vaginally and one for women over 30 who have, it’s that simple.

The next thing I had to contend with was how to use it. The instructions are pretty self explanatory, you just fold it in half and insert. I recommend rinsing with water first to lubricate it slightly. They are made of a soft pliable silicone so bend easily. They have a coil effect handle which means you can easily take it out when you want to empty it.

The next bit was the bit that put me off the most and I think the people that I had mentioned the Mooncup to, “what do you do with the blood?” So basically, you have to take it out and empty it, rinse or wipe, then reinsert. Sounds gross and if you are a squeamish person it would probably be a bit weird and uncomfortable for you at first, cos let’s be honest no one really wants to have to see what comes out on their monthly cycle. As gross as it seems, all you have to do is pour it out into the toilet and rinse the cup out afterwards. For me this was completely fuss-free at home as I could rinse it out and spray my sink with bleach afterwards but I don’t think I’d be very comfortable doing this out in a public toilet or at anyone’s house so I could advise carrying wipes instead. I can’t imagine anyone would be that comfortable rinsing a cup out in front of other people in a public loo but if that’s your bag then fair play! Otherwise, definitely wipes are the way, or else I would change it just before I went out and I rarely needed to empty it whilst out. It also safely lasts 5 hours anyway but obviously for heavier periods then you would want to change sooner. You’ll soon get used to knowing how often to change and what works best for you.

So, I’ve talked about the good points, it’s better for the environment, cheaper and potentially safer but there must be a downside and there is.

It can be uncomfortable, if you don’t position it right the coil you use to pull it out pinches slightly, I shouldn’t really put this down as a negative as I’ve only recently realised you can trim the coil if it doesn’t fit comfortably so I think this is where I went wrong! Don’t forget to trim after testing it!

The only other negative for me was that it wasn’t completely leak-free, particularly on the first couple of days of my period which are relatively heavy. I had to use pads in addition, which defeats the object. This didn’t happen every time so it must have been something I was doing wrong with positioning.

Despite the negatives I haven’t used a tampon in over 5 cycles and I don’t plan on using them again anytime soon,

The verdict

Do I recommend Mooncup? Definitely, and I think if you make the switch then there’s a very high chance you’ll never use another tampon again.

Have tried a menstrual cup? I would love to hear your thoughts, or if you have any questions please share in the comments 😊

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there 😊

you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter 😊 follow the hashtag #thriftygreenlife for all things eco!

Eco Egg – Is it a gimmick or a revolution?

When I first heard about the Ecoegg I was both excited and sceptical…

But what is an Ecoegg?

An Ecoegg is a complete replacement for washing powder, liquid or liquitabs. It comes in the form of a plastic egg-shaped cage that you fill with tiny detergent pellets and place in your washing machine drum.

The Ecoegg is environmentally friendly, is manufactured in the UK and is endorsed by Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society as it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. It is also dermatologically tested and cruelty free. Sound good so far?

How much does it cost?

You can buy an Ecoegg for as little as £7.99 for 54 washes ranging up to £19.99 for 720. It comes in three fragrances and also fragrance free. I went for the 720 wash egg as it was the most cost efficient option, and I chose Linen Fresh and purchased mine for £19.99 from Amazon.

Ecoegg claim that the 720 wash egg will last around three years but be aware it does state that the figure is based on 3-5 loads per week. In reality I do around two loads per day, sometimes more which means mine will last a lot less than three years. In comparison my usual washing powder only lasts a couple of weeks or so, so the Ecoegg still sounded like the much better option.

Is it cost effective?

With two children in our family and a husband with sensitive skin we usually use Fairy products which range from 15p to 28.9p per wash depending on the product you choose. By doing around two wash loads per day, in a year using Fairy Liquitabs for example, it would potentially cost me around £211 per year.

Ecoegg claims that it costs as little as 3p per wash with an Ecoegg. This would mean that that by switching to an Ecoegg I could potentially save our family a whopping £189 per year! Seems like a no brainier to me. If you’re anything like me and do around two loads per day, not the 3-5 per week Ecoegg bases their advertisement on, then a 720 wash egg priced at £19.99 is going to last you just over a year. At a cost of £21.90.

How does the price of Ecoegg compare to other products?

Fairy – 15-28.9p per wash

Daz – 10- 27.8p per wash

Persil – 10-27.5p per wash

Bold – 12.5-25p per wash

Ecover- 21.4- 29.4 per wash

Tesco own brand (including Tesco loves baby non-bio) – 10-15p per wash

Asda own brand – 5.2-10.9p per wash

Morrison’s own brand – 5.6-16.4p per wash

Sainsbury’s own brand – 10-13.8p per wash

Waitrose own brand – 13.6p per wash

Aldi own brand – 7.5p per wash

Lidl own brand – 7.5-8.6p per wash

Ecoegg – 3p per wash.

(Information based on MySupermarket prices and are correct at time of posting, subject to change based on supermarket and brand pricing guidelines and promotions.)

Saving money is the aim of the game for me but the product still needs to do the job it is made for.

How does it work?

The Ecoegg uses two types of mineral pellets inside the egg, which produce a natural cleaning foam. It’s been laboratory proven to work just as well as a regular detergent but without the harsh chemicals.

So how does it fare?

I’ve been using the egg for 17 days now, it’s had to deal with various different stains courtesy of my little boy, from tomato to avocado to orange juice which are all notorious for staining. Lets compare it to Fairy, it seems to be working just as well, I always use Tesco’s own oxy action spray on bad stains prior to the washing so I can’t confidently say that the Ecoegg is sufficient on tough stains by its self but it’s definitely on par with Fairy non-bio.

The downside

Yes, there is a downside, to be completely honest when the washing comes out of the machine it’s clean there’s no doubt about that but it is kind of odourless.

I decided not to use any fabric conditioner as the Ecoegg website states that it is not needed and I wanted to see how it performed by itself. The clothes came out as soft as they had done with liquitabs and softer than they had done previously having been washed with Fairy powder, so pretty impressive.

Unfortunately, after a fair few washes I gave in and bought some fabric conditioner as I began to miss the smell of fresh, clean washing. So if I have to say anything negative it is the fact that the clothes don’t really smell like they’ve been washed, or they don’t smell like I would expect my washing to smell. I did opt for Ecover eco friendly fabric conditioner and it happened to be on offer at the time at only 5p a wash, bonus! Now my washing is clean and smells lovely again.

May I also add that Sainsburys own brand laundry pearls are amazing and only a tiny sprinkle is needed, they are also half the price of other branded products of the same type. These could definitely replace fabric conditioner if you decided to to use it with the Ecoegg.

So, would I recommend the Ecoegg? Absolutely! It’s quicker and easier and I imagine pretty good for the washing machine, no gunk build up (unless you use fabric conditioner)

Will I be swapping my usual detergent for an Eco Egg on a permanent basis? Definitely!

Would I give up fabric conditioner? No chance!

Have you tried an Ecoegg? What are your thoughts? Or perhaps you have some amazing cost saving, eco-friendly products you’d like to share with me? Comment below and don’t forget to follow the blog 😊

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there! You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter 😊 follow the hashtag #thriftygreenlife for all things eco.

My name’s Nikki and I am an eco warrior! ♻️🌎🤘🏻

When I first started Thrifty Green Life at the beginning of last year it was with the intention of documenting our families money saving journey. We made a plan to change our money wasting habits and find “thrifty” ways to make changes to our lifestyle. We wanted to own our home, but we had no money to be able to afford a deposit for a mortgage and this was our goal.

Over the last year I’ve realised that this blog and our journey has become so much more than I ever anticipated. It’s become less about saving money and more about protecting our planet and the health and future of my family.

We still desperately want to own our own home but we also want to build our own home. We dream of living a more minimalist, sustainable and self sufficient life. We still want to save money on unimportant things but we also want to spend the money that is necessary to improve our lives and the health of our family and the planet.

I never anticipated that I would become extremely passionate about zero waste, plastic free shopping and recycling. Or that I would become a forager, a gardener and start my very own eco community. But, here I am today, with my little old blog, documenting not only my journey to sustainability and self sufficiency but hopefully providing a useful source of info and inspiration to help you change the future of our planet too (If you want to 😊)

Come and share our experiences and who knows, it may even inspire you to do the same! I promise I will have some amazing products and ideas to share with you along the way.

I am really excited for the year ahead and what ever experiences and challenges it may bring and I can’t wait to share it all with you, 2019 Lets do this!

Fellow eco warrior? Don’t forget to…

1 – Follow my blog ✔️

2 – Come and join my eco army (we are always recruiting 😉) ✔️

3 – Follow me on Instagram and Twitter ✔️

Welcome to my thrifty Green Life

Nikki x