environment recycle reduce reuse

5 reasons why recycling isn’t the answer…

I bought a take out coffee at the weekend. I was manning a nappy info stall at a local nearly new sale, and had had the foresight to take my reusable coffee cup with me. I popped across the road to the well-known coffee outlet and ordered my coffee and handed over my cup. Unfortunately, my cup didn’t fit underneath their machine, so I watched in astonishment as the barista picked up a disposable cup to dispense my coffee and pour it into my reusable cup. I expressed my displeasure – why could she not have used one of their pot cups and put it in the washer? “Oh!” she said, “it’s OK, we recycle the paper cups!”

This attitude seems all pervasive. It seems that we don’t have to worry about what waste we produce because “oh well, it will be recycled.” People are even looking at ways to recycle disposable nappies as a way to remove the impetus to use cloth.

No. Recycling is at best third on the waste reduction pyramid. It comes after REDUCE and REUSE (but others would argue REPAIR and REPURPOSE need to go in there too). Here’s why:

  1. Recycling still uses huge amounts of energy and water. Admittedly, depending on what you are recycling, between 45% and 75% less energy then creating the product new, but still huge amounts of energy;
  2. Recycling doesn’t produce like for like quality. Whilst aluminium can be melted down and just made into more pop cans, most raw materials are acutally down cycled rather than recycled. Recycled glass tends to be slightly coloured and recycled plastic is at best discoloured and at worst is downcycled into something else such as infill for roads or “eco bricks”
  3. Recycling is cost inefficient and largely subsidised by local government (source Popular Mechanics );
  4. We do not have the capacity to deal with the amount of recycling we generate in this country and much is shipped overseas to countries such as Turkey, Malaysia and Poland which is a climate change problem (source The Guardian )
  5. Much of the waste we think we are recycling, may actually ending up in landfill either here or overseas. Recyclable waste that is dirty (or “contaminated”) cannot be recycled, so is diverted to land fill.

Now, obviously, I’m not telling you not to recycle. But don’t think of it as your first port of call when choosing whether something is good for the environment. Think first REDUCE (do I need it, do I already have something else that will do the job, can I borrow it?) then think REUSE (take a refillable bottle or coffee cup, reuse a carrier, use a cloth nappy, cloth san-pro) then, and only then, think can I recycle it.

advice environment reduce

Six ways to reduce your waste…

This is the second in our series on the waste reduction pyramid. Last month we looked at REFUSE, just choosing not to buy, but sometimes we NEED it, so what can we do to reduce our impact on the environment when we do buy?

  1. 1. Buy loose. It’s a no-brainer, but 16 apples selected loose and put in a bag need less packaging than 2 pre-packed bags of apples. Bonus points if you take your own reusable produce bags, or if it’s something like a single pepper or bulb of garlic, just leave it loose in your basket. Supermarkets often have fruit, veg and break rolls. You might be lucky and find your local market has a scoop and weigh where you can get anything from rice to washing powder loose. Some pet shops sell pet treats loose. It also means you can buy just what you need and that will reduce your food waste. Buy packaging free alternatives. Hand soap in a pump dispenser can be swapped for bar soap in paper or no packaging, you can also buy shampoo and conditioner in bar form. Even things that come in some packaging, can often be bought in less packaging (any need for a glass bottle, inside a cardboard box, inside plastic wrapping, or can you buy just the plastic bottle for example). Every little helps, and you’ll soon see a difference in the amount of non-recyclable plastic you are sending to landfill.
  1. 2. Buy in bulk. Obviously only do this for things you use a lot of and/or doesn’t go off. It takes only a small amount more packaging to package 24 toilet rolls as 4, and 5kg sacks of rice or pasta don’t use much more plastic than 500g ones. I buy my washing powder direct from the manufacturer (I use Simply washing as it gets things clean, has strong eco credentials, and doesn’t aggravate my son’s eczema), buying it in the supermarket it comes in small plastic tubs, buying direct means it comes in loose in a cardboard box.
  1. 3. Refill.Certain of the more eco-friendly cleaning and toiletry brands are moving back to refillable bottles (anyone remember when Body Shop did this? I miss it!). Ecover and Faith in Nature have refilling stations in certain outlets (these can be found on their website), Splosh deliver refills for their household cleaning products to your door, and refills for Method products can often be found in supermarkets.
  1. 4. Cut paper waste. Get rid of unwanted mail and junk through the letterbox. I have to say that a significant amount of the waste my house produces comes through the slot in the front of the door. Registering with the Mailing Preference Service prevents organisations sending you speculative direct mail. It won’t stop organisations you have a relationship with from sending you stuff, but you shouldn’t get anything from companies you don’t have a relationship with and you can take action if you do. Affix a sign to your door requesting no free papers or circulars to stop takeaway menus, estate agents flyers etc coming through your door. Investigate whether companies you do have a relationship have a system for reducing paper mail sent to you (opting out of marketing by mail, switching to paperless statements etc).
  1. 5. Buy quality or for longevity. I have a 1980s Kenwood chef. It was my aunts, she used it a lot. I use it a lot too. They are built to last, but not only that, just about every moving part is replaceable. My kids scoot to school on JD Bug scooters. My kids scoot about 400miles a year (yep, you read that right, they scoot an average of 2 miles a day, 5 days a week, 40 weeks of the year, and that’s not including any ancillary journeys in the school holidays). We have in the past replaced wheels, hand grips, quick release pins and more, we didn’t need to replace the whole scooter because a small moveable part needed replacing. There are brands that have a reputation for being built to last, ask around and avoid brands/products designed to need replacing in short periods of time.
  1. 6. Use what you already have. There is a temptation when starting on the waste reduction journey to think we need to buy things to be able to become zero waste, but often we don’t. Don’t buy reusable bags until you’ve used up all the life in the millions of carrier bags, old school bags, produce bags etc that you have knocking round the house for example. At the end of the day, waste reduction is about simple thrift and using what you have. This is the best way of reducing your waste.

So there we have, 6 quick tips to start reducing your waste. Next month we will look at reusable products.

But share with me. What are your quick tips for reducing your waste?

advice environment reduce

Do you really need to buy THAT?!

Waste reduction ladder grow up greenYou know the feeling, you walk into the store and the brightly coloured, well lit display shouts “Buy ME!” You pop it in your basket, pay for it and take it home, filled with a sense of almost euphoria. Even more pervasive are the little ads on your computer, you browse that pretty dress, then every time you log on to check your email or browse Facebook, there it is, looking at you, whispering “go on buy me, you know you want me”  Marketing is everywhere and our whole economy is based on the buy more, buy more mentality.

There’s just one problem. Our earth’s resources are limited, and everything we buy has to be disposed of eventually, whether because we have fallen out of love with it, or because it has worn out.

This is why the first level in the waste reduction triangle is REFUSE.

It is also the hardest of the steps to zero waste for me. I’m a retailer, I love things. My personal achilles heels are stationary and clothes. I end up with so much. The other day I found a jumper at the back of my cupboard. I’d forgotten I even had it, yet I loved it when I bought it. It is enjoying a new lease of life as I am wearing it again, but I was horrified that I had so many clothes, I could forget I owned some. (A piece of research by M&S and Oxfam in 2016 showed that people only wear an average of 44% of clothes in their wardrobes regularly, so I’m not alone).

It’s also hard because there will be times we actually NEED new things (children grow out of things, things wear out and get broken).

So what’s the solution?

For me I started with a no spend month. It was back in September, prompted by a large purchase that came sooner than I had budgeted for (taking advantage of a second-hand bargain that came up!). It was amazing. I could ignore adverts, walk past shiny displays, let the whole marketing industry flow past me.  I was not too hardcore in my no-spending, if you want a really inspirational read check out this lady – she gave up spending for a whole year!

A month, however, gives you chance to ask “do I really need it?” “Can I borrow it from somewhere?” (there is a growing network of libraries of “things”, I run a sling library for example) Just accepting less into our houses will reduce our waste automatically.

Next time I will be looking at the next rung of the waste reduction ladder – reduce – but in the meantime, let me know how you are getting on with REFUSE!

environment recycle reduce reuse

Why we need Zero Waste Week!

Zero Waste Week logoLast week there was a discussion on a local business forum about the best coffee maker to get for the office. Opinion was divided between various big brands of pod-based coffee machines. I took a deep breath and bravely suggested that none of these were ideal, as they all generated a huge amount single-use plastic waste. Well, you’d have thought I’d criticised someone’s choice of baby name, the reaction I got! It all boiled down to “why should we be challenged on the waste we create?!”

It was ironic that this conversation came just before Zero Waste Week. The point of Zero Waste Week is to encourage everyone to think about the amount of waste they create and think of ways in which they can reduce it, with an ultimate goal of not creating any waste at all. It is a challenge, and challenges are hard!

Sculpture made of WEEE waste
Sculpture made of WEEE waste at the Eden Project

The average UK household produces 1 tonne of waste a year, and alarmingly this amount is increased by 3% every year. We throw away twenty times more plastic than we did 50 years ago. The main reason for the increase is that convenience is prized far higher than sustainability. And yet, it estimated that Britain will run out of landfill in approximately 8 years.

So, this is the reason we DO need to be challenged about the waste we create. I don’t claim to be perfect, I am a long way from being Zero Waste, but I do think about the purchasing choices I make. The waste reduction scale starts with REFUSE, then REDUCE, then REUSE, then RECYCLE and finally landfill, and yet a lot of people think they are doing their best by recycling that which is collected kerb side.

I agree that some of our problems with waste are the cause of companies, who have things such as built in obsolesence, contracts that encourage further purchase etc and these need to be tackled by government and by campaigning, but that doesn’t completely absolve the individual of the need to take responsibility for the products they introduce into the supply chain. I’ve blogged before on easy ways to reduce your waste or even just your single use plastic, but it starts with thinking.

Thinking: “Do I REALLY need this?” “Do I have something else that can do the job?” “Can I source this second hand or borrow it from someone?” “How will I dispose of this when I have finished with it?” “What waste products does this product generate and how will I deal with them?” “How long do I expect to use this product for?” If we all did this, then the amount of waste we produce would reduce, and the land we have be kept for housing, for green spaces, for farming and forestry, not filled with 31 tonnes a year of consumer waste!

So, this Zero Waste Week, what steps are you planning on taking to reduce your waste?


environment reduce

Four easy ways to reduce your plastic (or maybe five!)

#plasticfreejulyIn the exciting world of waste reduction, July is known as Plastic Free July. It’s not a catchy title, but the premise is to see how much you can reduce your use of single use plastic during July. Whilst there are some truly amazing Zero Wasters out there, whose waste for the whole year will fit into matchbox, for most of us, cutting down our plastic use can feel quite terrifying.  Here are 4, maybe 5, easy fixes that reduce your plastic waste.

1. Water bottles. In 2015, the UK population consumed 2,141 million litres of bottled water, an increase of 40% since 2008. Most bottles end up in landfill or downcycled to low grade plastic. Taking a reusable water bottle out with you and refilling it from the tap would save thousands of bottles of water ending up in landfill (if you don’t like tap water, get a filter jug and put it in the fridge and fill you bottle from there);

2. Coffee cups. How often do you get take out coffee? Once a week? Twice a week? 52 – 104 coffee cups a year that end up inreusable coffee cup landfill. Most are plastic coated, with plastic lids. Carrying a reusable coffee cup in your bag is easy. Choose a size that suits the kind of coffee you drink. I’ve been doing this since April and have only had it refused once (by a silly lady in a Costa concession, who said that it needed to be one of their’s!!). I love my reusable cup and can feel suitably smug, walking down the street sipping on it! We have some awesome bamboo ones available here

3. Straws. How many of us think about what happens to our straws. Drinks in the pub, take away soda from the fast food joint, iced coffee, we probably throw away hundreds of non-recyclable straws. Solution? Stainless steel straws – easy to carry in your bag, easy to wash and reuse. I’ve gone one step further and got a reusable soda cup and straw.

4. Produce bags. How often do you have to get those flimsy, polythene bags in supermarkets to put your loose fruit, veg, pastries etc in. These thin, translucent bags often end up in our oceans and get swallowed by sealife. There are a number of options for providing your own. A nappy net makes a good produce bag, a reusable cotton shopping bag, a string bag or a specially purchased reusable produce bag.

So there you have it, the BIG FOUR, as they are known in Zero Waste circles. Any of them take your fancy?

(The fifth is of course cloth nappies – did you know that a cup of crude oil goes into creating the plastic and absorbent gel in every single disposable nappy? Swapping to cloth, especially if you go 2 parts so only changing the plastic (PUL) part of your nappies a couple of times a day, can seriously reduce your plastic consumption!)

environment recycle reduce reuse

Waste Free Lent – Week 4

Copy of Copy of Waste Free Lent

Another week has gone by, and the lessons I have learnt again are that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I really do have to get more organised and remember to take food and drink with me when I go out! I have, however, got into the habit of taking a reusable cup with me everywhere I go and find most places are more than happy to use it. In fact, one place I got coffee from offered me a discount on my coffee for providing my own cup – win!

I’m not going to give you a day by day breakdown this week – last week was so manic I can barely remember what I did when, but I will share some wins and some dilemmas!

Wins: I had both a 40th birthday and Mother’s Day to negotiate this week, but didn’t do too badly on the waste production. For the 40th I bought a couple of knitting pattern books (the birthday girl is obsessed with knitting!) and put in a bottle of my home-made redcurrant gin. For my Mum, I bought a selection of posh tonic waters in glass bottles, and again put in a bottle of my home-made red currant gin. So very little waste. I then reused gift bags I had received for my own birthday a few weeks ago.

The bright spring days have highlighted that I have neglected cleaning my windows over winter! The reason for tIMG_20160304_150848his became clear when I tried to find some glass cleaner and discovered I didn’t have any. Now, in a perfect waste free world, I would use white vinegar and water to clean my windows, but I didn’t even have a spare spray bottle to use to do it. I did, however, have some old stock of Eco2Life spray bottles and refills from when I was a Wikaniko rep. Some were glass cleaners, so I opened one and used it. I was impressed and it smelt better than white vinegar too. I have added the rest to my website at a knock down price, in case you want to try them yourself!

Fails: I am really struggling with buying bananas and coffee. My local supermarket only does Fairtrade bananas in plastic bags. I could drive for half an hour to visit a Sainsbury’s, as ALL their bananas are Fairtrade, the loose ones, the value ones etc.. The only low plastic coffee I can find is also not Fairtrade (although I buy most of our coffee in bulk, the lids of the tins it comes in are still plastic). I am passionate about Fairtrade, I believe those that grow my food and drink should earn a fair wage and have access to education and healthcare. Any tips?

environment recycle reduce reuse

Waste Free Lent Week 3

Copy of Waste Free Lent (1)Well, we are almost half way through, and I still feel an awfully long way from being waste free! Lots of people and blogs have given me tips, although a fellow waste warrior and mum and I both agreed there was a dearth of blogs written by parents of children, where all adults work outside the home. Lots of the tips seem to involve having the time to do your weekly shop in half a dozen different shops, whilst making pasta from scratch!

There have been some small breakthroughs this week though!

Monday : One of the reasons I am so bad at taking lunch with me when I’m out at work is the perceived amount of time it will take to make it. Monday, though, I was going to a meeting that required me to bring a dish to share. So Sunday evening I made a mixed salad. I knew one of the delegates was vegan, so wanted to take something she could eat. I shredded a red cabbage, finely chopped some celery and made carrot matchsticks with a julienne maker I’d bought thinking it was a potato peeler! I chucked in a handful of raisins and a handful of mixed nuts. Then I made some jam-jar vinaigrette, which I kept in the jam jar until lunchtime. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes and I’d made a tasty, filling and nutritious lunch that had the added advantage of using up some of the veg in the veg bag!


Tuesday : I’d made so much of the salad for Monday, that I had plenty left over for lunch today. It made me realise that I could make a big batch of salad at the start of the week and just add different protein and dressings as the week went on for variety. I also did some baking for a sling meet. I discovered I could get “baking fat” in foil blocks rather than plastic tubs, for less money than the marg I had been buying and with the added benefit of it being dairy-free so our milk allergic and vegan parents could have it to!

Wednesday : I realised that I am going to have to drink more tap water. Most of what I choose to drink comes in plastic bottles, and the glass bottled alternatives are a lot more expensive. In addition, we don’t have a milk man, so I have no choice but to get milk in plastic bottles. I can’t give up the milk in my coffee, but I have given up drinking it as a drink, and if I’m thirsty I have a glass of water rather than squash or juice. This will be better for my teeth as well as better for the environment. I do find water a bit bland though, so think I need to experiment with putting fruit in my water bottle.

Thursday : I failed. I was too chicken to use my reusable coffee cup when I got a drink at the park to keep warm! In large chain coffee shops I can ask no problem, as I know my cup is the right size for their medium coffees and as they sell reusable cups for this purpose, I know they don’t mind. This cafe though is a small family owned one and only do coffees in really small cups, I was worried they’d think I was trying to get more coffee than I’d paid for so didn’t ask! 

Friday : Another drinking cup fail. We went to the cinema, and ordering a drink is just a habit. I need to get out of the habit, but also get a reusable soda cup for when I do just fancy a cold drink out and about!

Saturday/Sunday : It was the middle child’s birthday party and I was trying to learn lessons from the plastic filled party her brother had had. We still had some party bags left from her brother’s party, but got foil covered lollies for the sweets, a slice of birthday cake in napkins left from another party. Then we made headbands from a craft kit as part of the party and they went in! I also didn’t buy plastic “party” tableware. Instead, I got my proper tea service out, with matching tea plates, cups and saucers. The kids thought they were having a real treat and the table looked fab, with no waste!

Waste free birthday tea

environment recycle reduce reuse

Waste Free Lent – Week 2

Copy of Waste Free LentIf I have learnt one thing over the last week of trying to live waste free is that I need to get more organised. Being caught on the hop makes for a very difficult time trying to find low waste solutions!

I am also compiling a list of things to buy when my self-imposed spending embargo is lifted. I still believe the best way to reduce my waste is to limit what I buy in general, and to that end I will wait until Lent is over to purchase anything. However, on my shopping list are: a metal razor (for years I’ve wondered how to get away from plastic razors, now I know!), wooden or bamboo toothbrushes, net bags for fruit and veg and a reusable soda cup!

Monday: I was feeling good about the fact that I was in the craft shop and ONLY bought what I needed for Messy Church (I am a craft supplies and stationary addict!). But, I was out longer than intended and had brought no food or drink with me. Luckily, I am a northern lass and managed a Greggs pasty and a tin of diet coke. All recyclable packaging. Hurrah!

Tuesday: I began to realise that habits are hard to break. I took the children out for the day and took a packed lunch, with crisps and cartons of juice. It did at least allow me to have a frank conversation with the children about waste and recycling. We sorted our waste into recyclable and not. The venue had paper and can recycling, and we opted to take our juice boxes home as our kerbside collection recycles tetrapack.

Wednesday: Chocolate bar wrappers and a plastic tray waste as we ate up one of our remaining selection boxes on the drive down to nana’s house. However, I am not feeling guilty about waste created by goods already purchased as waste in the house is still waste and we may as well use the products in the way they were intended!

I also made stock with the remains of the chicken. I have frozen it in icecube trays to replace the plastic intensive “stock pots” I use for slow cooking. Now I just need to work out how to make my own “flavour pots”.homemade stock pots

Thursday: Actually was a waste free day! We had a lovely day out and lunch at a friend’s house. She had made pasta sauce from leftovers and desert was home-made ice cream! A total treat and made me consider a bigger freezer and an icecream maker 😉

Friday: You can’t buy birthday cakes without plastic. I could have made one, but I wasn’t home, so was reliant on the supermarket.

Saturday: Once again fell foul of a badly planned packed lunch. Cakes in plastic packaging. Must do better.

Sunday: Was amazed in the supermarket – needed baking fat. I usually buy Stork and reuse the box, but found I could buy supermarket’s own in butter wrapping. However, I’m not sure “foil” as it is described is better as it is not recyclable. Can anyone tell me what it actually it is?

It’s getting better. Let’s see how much less waste I can produce next week!

environment recycle reduce reuse

Waste Free Lent – Week 1

waste free lent blog week 1Just before the start of Lent, I read an interesting article inciting people to give up plastic instead of chocolate. As someone who both worries about the amount of waste I create, and preferring Lenten fasts to make me think, I gave it some serious consideration.

Then I looked around my house and went into blind panic. I read a few blogs on giving up plastic waste and panicked even more. It just seems so hard. I have so  many questions – like how do you wash your hair, let alone dye it, clean your teeth, buy meat, or pasta…

I still wanted to reduce my waste and really think about the waste I was producing though. So here is what I am going to do, post a new thing I did to reduce my waste each day of Lent (40 days if you don’t include Sundays).

So here we go:

Day 1: I hereby undertake to buy nothing new before the end of Lent. I decided this, then went for a meeting with a potential new volunteer in an out of town shopping centre. It was amazing how hard it was to walk past the special offers, and displays. Our whole society is based around encouraging us to buy more, consume more, create more waste.

Day 2: One of my bad waste habits is drinks when out and about. Whether it is coffee in a take out cup, or fizzy pop in a single use plastic bottle, drinking on the hoof is a potential waste minefield. I had already swapped to taking a reusable coffee cup out with me, but today took a sports bottle of squash too. Unfortunately, I also took my toddler, who drank quite a lot of the juice and by mid-afternoon we were both thirsty again. Most of the coffee shops in our town do coffee in washable mugs, but if you want a cold drink you have the choice of disposable cups or single use bottles. I opted for a hot drink to avoid the waste, but unfortunately had to buy a drink in a single use bottle for my son. Must do better next time!

Day 3 – was quite easy to not buy anything, I just didn’t go to the shops! However, I once again struck by how difficult it is to eat meat without producing plastic waste – the bacon at lunch time came wrapped in plastic and the meatballs for dinner were on a plastic tray. I clearly need to have a chat with my local butcher about me bringing my own bags to reuse. Vegetables are easier as I get most of my veg delivered from North East Organic Growers. Although it comes in plastic carrier bags, I send these back to be refilled, so no waste there!

Day 4 – this was a massive fail on the waste production front. My son was having a belated birthday party and I failed to plan for party bags in time. This meant buying plastic bags, and plastic wrapped sweets to put in the plastic bags. In an attempt to reduce the amount single use waste in the bag, the gift I included was a small metal Hot Wheels car. A discount shop had packs of 5 for £5, so not too expensive and more useful that your average party blower or plastic snake! The kids even played with them together at the party, so clearly a win. Unfortunately the pack was also wrapped in single use plastic. Must plan better for my daughter’s birthday in a couple of weeks.  Also did my weekly fruit shop – everything comes in plastic! Resolved to find a way to bring my own bags next week – even if they are reused plastic bags and maybe shop in the my local market rather than the supermarket. Finally I bought a chicken for Sunday dinner. On the whole I buy chicken to have a low food waste week – check out my four meal chicken here (although now my toddler is eating whole portions, it’s more like a 3 meal chicken!). The cashier tried to put the chicken, which was on a plastic tray and shrink wrapped in more plastic into a plastic bag (because the law says she can without charging!). I stopped her, and gave her a reusable plastic bag to put it in, separate to my other shopping!

That brings us to Sunday, and as traditionally Sunday is a day off the Lenten fast (if you count the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday you get 46 – so you take the 6 Sundays off). I shall pause for the week. I haven’t significantly reduced my waste this week, but I have 36 more days to go!

Tips on the following would be appreciated:

  1. How to buy meat without plastic?
  2. Eco party bag ideas?
  3. Drinking cold drinks out and about.


environment reduce reuse

5 Reasons why I love my Mooncup!

Mooncup alternative to tampons

I love my Mooncup. I really do. Completely, totally and utterly love it. I’ve used one for about 9 years now and I hate it on rare occasions when I’ve had to go back to disposable sanitary products.

Some of you may be asking “what is a Mooncup?”. Well, a Mooncup is a menstrual cup. Menstrual cups are used instead of tampons to deal with menstruation, but unlike tampons, instead of absorbing menstrual blood, the catch it. They are about the size of an egg cup, made of clinical grade silicone, and sit just inside the vagina. They collect the menstrual flow and when it’s full, you just empty it, rinse it and put it back. Simple!

The next question, I guess, is “why do you love it so much?” and the answers to that one are many!

1. They save you lots of money. I have been using the same one for 9 years (although I’ve been pregnant and breastfeeding twice in that time!), so I haven’t had to buy tampons for 9 years. Even assuming I only bought one box of supermarket’s own tampons a month, I would have saved £80ish. £80 is a lot of money!

2. They save tonnes of wasted going to landfill. According to the Women’s Environmental Network, a woman will throw away between 125 and 150kg of landfill in her lifetime. (Source WEN report “Seeing Red”) Imagine if everyone stopped switched to reusables!

3. They are healthier. Tampons can and do cause toxic shock syndrome, a potentially life threatening infection. Although they are bleached white and wrapped in plastic, they are not sterile and cannot be sterilised. Menstrual cups are made of clinical grade silicone and can be sterilised either by boiling or soaking a sterilising solution such as Milton.

4. They don’t dry you out. Tampons are made of fibre and work by absorbing fluid. They don’t just absorb menstrual blood, they absorb all the moisture in the vagina, meaning they can leave you dry and uncomfortable. As menstrual cup’s collect the menstrual flow rather than absorbing them, they are not as drying.

5. Less need to change them. As they are safer, non-drying and hold loads, you can safely leave them in for up to 12 hours.

So there you have it, 5 reasons why I love my Mooncup. What do you think?