You’ve already made the switch from single-use tampons and pads to reusable menstrual cups/discs and that’s big! Congratulations! A couple of things: you’ve made the world a greener place and you’ve changed a woman’s life too. Kind of crazy, right? We all ditch the disposable menstrual products for different reasons. Some gals switch because reusable menstrual products are more convenient or more cost-effective. Others choose a period cup or a period disc because they are better for your body and the earth.
No matter what made you switch, we’re so glad you did! There are a few reasons you could be looking up how to recycle a menstrual disc or cup such as: using period-stopping birth control, pregnancy, medications, menopause or it’s been well-loved and needs replacing! Most menstrual cups and discs are made out of medical-grade silicone, which can be safely disposed of in a few different ways. Continue reading for a couple of suggestions on how to recycle a menstrual cup.
What is medical-grade silicone?
More technically referred to as medical-healthcare grade, class VI silicone tested for biocompatibility, this type is typically the material of choice for a wide range of products, including menstrual cups, baby bottle nipples, scuba mouthpieces, menstrual discs and food and skin contact products. Silicone creates watertight seals, it has antimicrobial properties, is hardwearing and withstands UV light sterilization.
When should I recycle my menstrual cup or disc?
Menstrual products are safe to use for up to 10 years… technically. That being said, the care and keeping of your cup/disc plays a heavy role. Depending on the soap (and if it contained drying agents like alcohol) that was used on it regularly can cause damage. If you notice any sort of cracking in your reusable period product or the outside has become tacky to the touch, recycle immediately. At this point, the silicone has been damaged and shouldn’t be used any longer.
What do you do with menstrual cups and discs that don’t fit?
Menstrual discs and cups come in the same general shape but some are wider or thinner to get the perfect fit. Our bodies change especially after pregnancy or childbirth and what menstrual products fit you before, could very well not be the right fit after. What do you do with old menstrual cups/discs? If the cup/disc is in good shape, it can actually be passed on. If there is light staining or slight odor, there are a few ways to get rid of those! Once your reusable disc or cup is sterilized, it’s germ-free and ready to be used… by you or someone else!
How do you recycle a menstrual cup or disc?
Chop it up. Medical-grade silicone is safe. Safe to be inside your body as a menstrual product, safe to eat off of, doesn’t give off any sort of toxins and is free from hazardous ingredients. You can chop up (or grind down) your menstrual disc/cup and add to the soil of a potted plant or scatter in your garden!
Check with your local hospital. Hospitals use instruments all the time that are made of medical-grade silicone and eventually, they will need to be disposed of. Asking them if there is a procedure or method in place could be really helpful!
Burn it. If you don’t have time to contact facilities for local recycling advice, a super simple solution would be to burn your menstrual cup and reusable menstrual disc! Sounds crazy, we know, but it burns to simple ash and doesn’t give off toxic fumes. Keep in mind that silicone is heat-resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit so it does take some time to break down. Placing it in a wood stove or in the embers of a bonfire is perfect!
How was your menstrual cup or disc journey? Which way will you choose to recycle your menstrual products? Did you wear it out and you need to replace it now? Check out our store for different sizes and styles or read this post to determine what size is right for you!