December 2012 Review of the Year from Mooncup Ltd's Director Su Hardy
2012 has been a busy but exciting year here at Mooncup. It has seen us mature as a company as we honoured our tenth birthday. We celebrated in style with a lovely party held at the Swan in Brighton on a very wet day in June. Our Facebook fans will know how fond we are of cakes and, in true Mooncup tradition we indulged ourselves with a fabulous elderflower and gooseberry birthday cake baked and beautifully decorated with a 'Love Your Vagina' theme by local cake-maker She Bakes We were joined on the night by suppliers, customers, friends and family for music, dancing, a couple of games of pass-the-parcel and some lively banter, and a jolly good time was had by all!
This year, in addition to our usual Spring visits to Germany for Biofach, Europe’s largest organic food and natural products trade fair, and to London for the Natural Products exhibition, we had our first sojourn to Scandinavia for the inaugural Natural Products exhibition in Malmö, Sweden. Eileen, Éowyn and I had a lovely trip, thoroughly enjoying the restful calm efficiency that seems to pervade the Swedish culture. Luckily the Mooncup proved popular there too, so we shall definitely be going back for more!
September saw the launch of our new range of elegant packaging, available in a wider selection of languages which now includes a Russian, Czech and Polish usage guide and box.
The Mooncup has made three appearances on primetime TV here in the UK during 2012. As well as featuring on Embarrassing Bodies in May, the Mooncup was also featured in the first episode of ITV2's Switch when Stella includes a Mooncup in Hannah's going away pack, along with birthday cards for the rest of the Coven and other essentials! The Mooncup also received a mention in the late night comedy political satire The Thick of it when Malcolm Tucker insults a colleague with the words 'You ******* human Mooncup'. The insult was later featured the Guardian's roundup of the programme's ‘Lines of the Week’. Well I suppose they say no publicity is bad publicity...
2012 has seen a few changes to the Mooncup Team too. We have said goodbye to Sally who joined us on a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership in collaboration with the University of Brighton. Sally brought a fresh pair of eyes to the business and helped us to streamline and update our internal systems and processes, amongst other things. She also brought much cheer to the office and we now have a Sally shaped hole where she used to be! Sally is currently sunning herself in Thailand and probably doesn't miss us quite as much as we miss her!
We also wave a very fond farewell to dear Helen who has held the reins in Dispatch for nearly 6 years now. If you received your Mooncup through the post between October 2006 and April 2012 it will almost certainly have been lovingly packed and prepared for posting by Helen! She has also been responsible for organizing the shipments to all of our distributors as well as ordering and keeping tabs on everything we need, and sometimes we can be quite needy! Luckily for the rest of us Rowan, our then Office Assistant, was very able and willing to step up and take on Helen's role, and the lovely Amy joined us in March and slotted perfectly into Rowan's shoes. We managed to hang on to Helen for a little longer by involving her in a particular project that only she could complete, however she finally left the UK last Sunday for a new and exciting life in France, so we will have to manage without her from now on!
Now we are all busy thinking about how we are going to spend our most welcome seasonal break as the Mooncup office closes its doors for two weeks….. and I’d better remember to turn the heating on again on New Year’s Day otherwise there will be a very unhappy Team when we return to work on 2nd January!
Su - Director, Mooncup Ltd.
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December 2012 Naomi Wolf: A New Biography - Reviewed by Mooncup's PR and Campaigns Manager Kath Clements
I usually manage to avoid reading critics before forming my own opinions, but somehow with the long-awaited launch of Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A New Biography, my curiosity had got the better of me. Rightly or wrongly, a book with ‘vagina’ in the title, published by a feminist author adept at courting publicity was bound to garner coverage - not all of it positive- too! I was delighted to discover that I could pick up a copy (and hopefully a few responses of my own) at a talk by the author herself in our beautiful hometown, Brighton.
For those who haven’t been bombarded by the Naomi Wolf publicity machine, the seed of her latest book is personal: Naomi suffered a spinal injury that over time compressed her pelvic nerve, resulting in a loss of her previously euphoric orgasmic experiences. From this biological event, the general colour of Naomi’s life dimmed. The book tells her journey to recovery, while exploring the central proposition that there is a “brain-vagina connection” with far-reaching individual and collective implications.
'Vagina: A New Biography' offers scientific evidence of the hormonal and holistic impact of sex on a woman, addresses the impact of rape, narrates a history of the representation of the vagina and the female sexual experience and culminates with Tantric guidelines to help unleash the potential power of a truly sexually fulfilled woman (whether through masturbation or with a partner).
At the talk, I sat in a packed and buzzing auditorium next to a fascinating sexual historian, Cornelie Usborne-who instantly unfolded Suzanne Moore’s critical review of the book from the Guardian. Cornelie confessed that she didn’t expect much from Wolf, though, like myself was here to find out more for herself. Throughout the talk, the lovely authoritative Cornelie, would mutter objections to Wolf’s various claims in gravelly Germanic tones: “that is not true”! It was clearly going to be an interesting evening!
Over the course of the evening, Wolf’s disclosures made me warm to her irrespective of dissenting critics’ voices. There were humorous asides (as she first addressed her own orgasmic experiences, she stepped into the darkness of the stage “here’s where I want a cigarette!”) and a direct address of her recent controversial stance on the Julian Assange rape trial, expressing her understanding of the real horror of rape and her dedication to its punishment and eradication, having committed many years to working with victims of rape. She spoke of some regret at the confusion caused by her initial Huffington Post letter, yet maintained that her questioning of the Julian Assange rape case, came from a fundamental position of believing that an honest discourse about sex and rape in the eyes of the law and society will only come when the acceptability of a woman’s legal “yes” (i.e. her consent and appetite for sex) is addressed as well as the absolute inviolability of her legal “no”.
In the wake of her engaging talk, on reading Vagina: A New Biography, I’m not sure how much many of the revelations within the book truly warrant being called “headlines” as Wolf referred to them on stage. The central tenet that there is a “brain-vagina connection” seemed to me (admittedly no scientist) as self-evident as that there is, say, a brain-toe connection: causing you to jump about swearing when stubbed! Still, the rigour of the book’s science has been dissected by those who know more than me!
However, Wolf’s examination of the representation of sexual women and vaginas through religious, sexual and popular cultural history makes for a fascinating read, as does her at times fumbling explorations into the impact of sexual fulfilment on the lives of female artists. Adeptly weaving together fascinating historical moments including the possible collective trauma of the 1860s Contagious Disease Act, and an enquiry into the glamorous ascent of the clitoris in the 70s (radically demoting the vagina as a ‘dowdy matron’ ever since) it calls the reader to investigate her own sexual narrative and even perhaps re-write it with her real individual needs in mind.
While at worst Vagina: A New Biography smacks of self-help and poor science (not helped by my discomfort in reading about experiments with rat libidos), in my experience there was value in it simply providing the time and space to reflect on the vagina and the impact of love making/masturbating and sexual release on our general wellbeing. There are some glaring omissions (eg. How could Naomi fail to mention Mooncup’s Love Your Vagina Poll within the chapter Modernism: the Liberated Vagina?!) and the closing instructions for vaginal well-being err towards repetition and New Age platitudes. Still, if the “brain-vagina connection” is as potent a force as Naomi Wolf contests, I can’t help but feel that surely, the very act of reading this New Biography may just leave us with a happily rewired vagina too …which has got to be worth a shot!
Kath - Campaigns and Marketing, Mooncup Ltd.
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September 2012 Mooncup Ltd - pioneering a new business model in Brighton
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"Mooncup is a business that has both an innovative, disruptive product AND does business differently". Will McInnes looks at pioneering businesses in Brighton, and how Mooncup could be leading the way in a new business model. Read Full Article
July 2012 We take the Mooncup stall to Lush Cosmetics' Annual Conference (but it's really a festival!)
When we got the invite to attend the Lush 2012 annual conference with our Mooncup stall we jumped at the chance to be part of what inevitably turned out to be a fantastic event. Lush Cosmetics hold an annual conference for their employees from all over the world - the only difference is, it's a festival!We thought it was incredible; there was even a big wheel!
In the camping field bell tents had been pre-erected for staff and some select few got a small brightly painted beach hut to stay in with solar panels for phone and computers. Lush staff had their conference Wednesday to Friday, then family were allowed to join in on the Saturday and Sunday.
We arrived, trudging through the muddy fields, to be greeted with smiles, enthusiasm and - amazingly - the sunshine.We pitched ourselves in the ‘Feed Your Mind’ campaigns tent alongside Ecotricity, huntsabateurs, Save the Tiger and many more admirable campaigns. As the weather had been pretty horrendous the day before many staff and traders had gone home, we were offered a day in the Lush Lounge as an apology for the weather (yes a whole day of being ‘Lushed’) but thought we should set up the stand and see how it went first before succumbing to pampering!
We had a steady stream of people to chat to for most of the day - the weather just got better and better and the mud drier, squelchier and stickier! Many men and women coming over to the Mooncup stand had heard of us already, others wanted to know much more and some wished they had heard of us earlier. We were also visited by various happy Mooncup users, who came over to say how brilliant the Mooncup is and generally smile! We gave lots of demonstrations, handed out loads of leaflets and badges and talked about our latest advertising campaign: the beautiful ‘Stop using tampons’ posters in motorway service station toilets across the UK.
As the day wore on and numbers started to dwindle, Amy and I had a walk around the site. There were two huge marquees where you could make your own personalised Lush products, two areas showing the making of current Lush products both with friendly, helpful staff to inform you of where the ingredients come from and how they arrive at the factory (large blocks of Shea butter for example), music and comedy marquees and a vintage clothes stall with its very own photo booth where Amy was magically transformed into Lady Gaga!
We left Lush Fest feeling we had spread a little Mooncup love amongst the festival punters, and were handed an exclusive festival shower cream to clean off the mud when we got home. To say that Lush Fest 2012 was a success would be an understatement, we can’t wait to see what they think up for next year!
Kate Lintott (Mooncup Advisor and Research Officer)
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Book Review How to be a Woman - Caitlin Moran
"There is no manual for becoming a woman, even through the stakes are so high", Times columnist Caitlin Moran announces in the prologue to her much applauded 2011 book 'How to be a Woman'. Determined to fill the vacuum, she sets out to tackle all things oestrogen from periods to pubic hair (or rather, the lack of it) and oversized handbags to undersized pants. The result is a highly entertaining, cackle inducing and eye-opening page turner.
Moran uses her personal life experiences as a backdrop to an exploration of issues related to coming of age right through to marriage, childbirth and more taboo subjects like abortion. Tackling subjects we can probably all relate to on some level, there are hilarious recounts of relationships that exist entirely in Moran's head, deplorable boyfriends and "stupid" hen nights.
We hear her rail against the multi-billion dollar porn industry she blames for the current obsession with excessive vulval grooming, perfectly round plastic bosoms and acrylic nails. Not that Moran is anti porn - on the contrary she calls for more of it, at least more of what she terms the "free range" as opposed to the "factory farmed" variety.
Moran explores sexism, comparing it to the absence of good old fashioned politeness and manners, and overeating which she claims would be more widely discussed if it had "the same perverse rock and roll cool of other addictions"
I laughed so much reading this book - it had me snorting loudly on trains and made for a cheering companion whilst in bed with the flu. I have to admit to raising an eyebrow at certain points - Moran's calls to jump on a chair and shout " I am a feminist" had me cringing under the duvet. Nevertheless she makes a compelling case for reclaiming the word 'feminism' and certainly helped me realise the importance of an agenda I had for so long relegated in favour of a focus on global inequality and ecocide. I certainly wish 'How to be a Woman' had been on the bookshelves during my late teens/early twenties.
This book might not be for the fainthearted and the demure - but we might well all benefit from the advice Moran offers and at the very least have a bloody good laugh while reading it.
Eileen Greene, Administration Manager
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April 2012 Mooncup sponsors Surfers Against Sewage
This year we’re proud to be sponsoring Surfers Against Sewage: a not-for profit environmental pressure group who fight for clean oceans, waves and beaches free from sewage effluents, toxic chemicals, nuclear waste and marine litter. As a coastal company ourselves who without a doubt love our beaches, we thought it was about time we gave this superb campaign group our support.
SAS campaigns cover six main areas: sewage; marine litter; climate change; toxic chemicals; shipping and protecting the recreational wave resource including access to waves for surfers. The SAS approach these issues innovatively and imaginatively- like their Sewage Alert Service, which has already sent almost 80,000 texts since its launch in May, warning us when raw sewage has been discharged at our favourite beaches.
SAS also deliver an educational programme in schools, universities and the community, both formally and informally, using interactive tools like the 3m x 3m board game Marineopoly to bring environmental issues to life in a playful and engaging way. Beyond that, SAS are active in lobbying for change and conservation work as well as implementing beach litter picks. At Mooncup we’re doing our small bit in reducing the 30 used sanitary products found on each kilometre of UK beach (Beachwatch 2010), we hope that our support will lend even more muscle to this small NGO's marine missions throughout the year!
To find out more or get involved, visit the SAS website
Kath Clements PR and Campaigns Manager
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April 2012 Mooncup turns TEN! Founder and Director Su Hardy looks back on how far we've come...
Here we are in 2012, and we will be celebrating Mooncup’s 10th birthday this very year! Looking back across the decade it is amazing how much has changed since the days when I carried lovingly packed envelopes containing Mooncups from my house down to the local Post Office in my homemade wicker basket, accompanied by my small daughter.Way back then I never dreamt that the Mooncup would become so popular, or that I would end up managing a ‘proper’ business! I certainly don’t get time for basket-making these days, and my daughter is a grown-up and very wise …..teenager!
Today, the Mooncups are lovingly packed by Amy, and the Post Office collects them in sacks each afternoon from the bright and cheery Mooncup office, located just one block from the beach in Brighton. But these are not the only changes...
The Mooncup is no longer associated exclusively with the pioneering environmentalist, but has become much more widely accepted as a serious and preferable replacement for disposable towels and tampons, not just for it's eco-credentials, but also for the health and financial benefits it brings. The team here have definitely seen a change in the responses of visitors to our stands and stalls at the shows and festivals we attend. In the early years our attempts to talk to women about the Mooncup were almost always met with shock or disbelief, (sometimes horror!), but more recently many women have a friend or relative who uses one; the concept is generally much less alien. Mooncups are becoming ‘normal’, and luckily we are not the only ones who have noticed! The discovery of a Mooncup mention in the Euromonitor International Report on Sanitary Protection for 2011 was accompanied by much excitement in the office. Euromonitor collect and analyse consumer sales data and produce detailed reports on current and future trends. These are used by businesses to feed into future product design and marketing campaigns. Figures given in the 2011 report relate only to throwaway sanitary products, however in the ‘Prospects’ section it states:
‘ A potential threat to forecast growth(of the disposable industry)could be the increasing attention that products such as Mooncup are attracting; this is an ultra eco-friendly alterative to unsustainable tampons and towels. As green concerns continue to increase, launching more sustainable products should be the next step for many sanitary protection companies’.
Reading this was a particularly glowing moment for me personally because the environmental impact of disposables was what drove me to produce the Mooncup in the first place, and this little paragraph suggests that that message is finally getting through! But of course this could never have happened without all of you evangelical Mooncup users out there who listened, believed, trusted, invested, persevered, were delighted by and spread the word about… the Mooncup! Thank you all! Here’s to another ten years!!
Su Hardy - Mooncup Founder and Director
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November 2011 Mooncup has been voted 'Best Eco Product' by readers of Healthy Living magazine» back to top
March 2012 News from Kate at Mooncup Advice
Hi, its Kate here, Mooncup Advisor and researcher. I wanted to write a few words to give everyone an update about recent changes and developments in the Mooncup Advice Team.
2011 started off with my Advice colleague Cathy travelling (by train!) to Germany with Su and the Sales team for the annual Biofach trade show. Closer to home, I attended a Health Visitor Conference and the University of Brighton’s annual Midwifery conference with speakers discussing vaginal childbirth and post-natal post traumatic stress disorder. Midwives are always hugely interested in Mooncups for women when they return to having periods.
Along with supplying informative and supportive information to all women contacting us about using the Mooncup, the Advice desk has been adjusting to a new high-tech database system and - as always - keeping updated on menstrual health and related issues...
As we work in a democratic office we all get involved in many areas of the business, and the 2011 advertising campaigns were exceptional fun to be involved in, particuarly the ‘Love your Vagina’ song (currently with over 300,000 views on YouTube!) and the ‘Love Your Beach’ poster campaign of the Summer, which you may have spotted in the papers too!
Cathy had discussed going back into her first love - health visiting - and decided to look more closely into this. She started to attend a Return to Practice course (which nurses can go on if they have been out of their area of practice for too long). So, I need to let you know that Cathy has now left Mooncup and returned to her previous field of nursing, after six very fruitful years working at the Mooncup Advice desk. We will all greatly miss Cathy - her cooking (her Dahl is immense!) and cakes and biscuits for the weekly team meetings, her radical and enthusiastic aspirations for all things green including her local community garden and the Green party, along with random acts of kindness such as rescuing poorly baby seagulls on the way to work! To say a loving goodbye to Cathy we presented her with a bench for her garden from the Brighton Wood Recycling Project, engraved with Cathy’s special French phrase for looking after us all and acting as the maternal overseer of the office, ‘Nou Nou’!
So, this leads me onto to introducing Irene, our new Mooncup Advisor! Irene has a long history working as a sexual health nurse, having run clinics for young people and sex workers as well as working as an orthopaedic and practise nurse earlier on in her nursing career! I am really looking forward to working with her and continuing to improve the advice service we offer to women. Irene and I are looking forward to taking the Mooncup Advice department forward for 2012!
Lots of love, Kate - Mooncup Advisor and Researcher
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September 2011 Under Wraps-a history of menstrual hygiene technology, Sharra l. Vostral
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Who could be more interested in the minutiae of sanitary protection than us in the Mooncup team? How lucky was I to be given the job of reviewing this book!
It is really heartening to see anything published which talks openingly about menstruation. It remains such a taboo subject and a difficult topic to discuss, and as such Vostral’s book is a really positive and inspiring read.
This book is dense and incisive, written with much academic rigour and as such is an excellent reference for most matters of sanitary protection. It sets off to analyse how and why women in the U.S. have reacted to the mass produced technologies invented to manage the menstrual cycle (i.e.sanitary pads and tampons).
Using the analytical tool of “passing”, Vostral takes the reader through many women’s personal stories, U.S. social history and the rise of advertising and consumerism.
‘Passing constitutes the ability to represent to the world and oneself a different identity, to forego a prior self, and be perceived as other than formally identified.’ (p14).
Thus she shows how women pass for being non bleeders throughout the month, obscuring the fact that their bodies are bleeding cyclically and women are actually moving through a different identity for certain days of the month.
She argues that this passing has had a profound effect on women’s rights and roles within American society and is a way in which women themselves have engaged with the technology to enable them to participate more fully in society. By focussing on menstruation, Vostral unwraps a taboo subject and airs it to reveal how women’s voices and stories have in fact played a part in shaping menstrual health technologies.
Many commentators have traditionally seen menstrual health technologies as having subjugated women. Vostral, whilst acknowledging this process, also insists that women have not just been passive recipients of male knowledge and technology and in using the analysis of passing, she allows for a much more complex and dynamic picture to emerge.
Under Wraps shows how women have not only been controlled by these products, but have used them as an important tool for challenging women’s status, in particular by enabling them to participate fully in the workforce whilst bleeding.
Vostral guides us through a fascinating exploration of the political, educational, medical and societal influences that have shaped the technology around the manufacture of menstrual pads and tampons. I particularly enjoyed reading about the medicalisation of periods, women and the civil rights movement in America and the Toxic Shock scandal that shook the U.S.A in the 1970’s and how women fought back.
It is a real shame though that menstrual cups get only one mention towards the end of the book. Menstrual cups, although not part of the mass produced menstrual health technologies which provide the bulk of her analysis, are an interesting parallel technological development. Menstrual cups were, interestingly, invented at the same as applicator tampons (1930’s) although have only recently really become popular.
Part of the raison-d’etre for the development of the menstrual cup was in defiance of the conventional sanitary protection industry. Menstrual cups are also a piece of technology that assists women to pass as non bleeders, whilst simultaneously resisting the taboos which permeate the industry. They are also a way in which women have played a more active part in the shaping of the technology. It would be interesting to hear Vostral’s opinion of this development in the light of her analysis.
This book made me feel proud to be part of the Mooncup movement which challenges the traditional sanitary protection industry without getting diverted by the allure and obsession for consumption and sales. As Vostral says in her final words of the book:
‘Whether or not menstrual hygiene technologies can deliver political freedom is another question. The products embody the trappings of feminism, albeit in a consumerist venue. However it is womens’ use of them and how women choose to employ technologies of passing (or not )that redefines the technologies, knowledge and practices’ (p164)
I am so glad that the Mooncup company ethos remains true to the origins of the menstrual cup – as a product which allows women to use it in a way that makes sense for them and which remain free of the trappings of consumerism that Vostral so vividly portrays: no glitter , no colours, no wipes, no special washes or soaps-just the wonderful Mooncup.
Cathy Marchand, Mooncup Advisor and Researcher
September 2011 Time to get out of the office and into the hills...
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Following a week of torrential rain, plans to spend our annual Team Day Out hiking through the south Downs seemed likely to be shelved. Would we have to go and have a spa day instead? (sigh)
Miraculously, the allotted day (which had taken for ever to choose as our growing team struggled to find a day that suited us all) dawned with blazing September sunshine and a cloudless sky. We would not be hanging out in a jacuzzi after all...
Kate, from the Mooncup Advice Line, had taken the responsibilty of finding us a walk and did us proud with a seven mile hike taking in some of the most beautiful spots in the area. Anyone who's ever taken the train between Brighton and London can't have missed the view from the viaduct just outside Hayward's Heath, where the Sussex weald sweeps away underneath you in a breathtaking curve of green: I had the chance to fulfil a personal ambition of walking under the viaduct (which like the end of the rainbow) had so far proved impossible to find.
The Ouse Valley (or Balcombe) Viaduct was built in 1841 and consists of 37 semi-circular arches, which we had a lot of fun climbing around on and posing for perspective-shattering photographs. It has been described as 'probably the most elegant viaduct in Britain' - and we all fell in love with it a bit.
We're a close team at Mooncup and very much friends as well as colleagues, so these days of outdoor activity, which Kate introduced when she joined us in 2009, are not so much 'team building' (although we did build a raft last year!) as making the time to get out of the office and just hang out with each other. As the company get busier all the time, time out together becomes more important!
We had lunch at the viaduct's feet, and then trekked on to the reservoir at Ardingly (scene of last year's team kayaking adventure, and sadly much depleted since then due to increased local water demand), and on to Wakehurst Place, described as 'Kew's Country Garden' and housing plants from all round the world as well as the awesome Millenium Seed Bank, which currently conserves seeds from an incredible 10 per cent of the world’s plant species, and aims to be conserving a quarter of the world’s plant species by 2020. Inspiring and sobering stuff.
We ended by walking around the huge Wakeurst Place gardens, sat for a long time by a river in the fading sun and headed for home (via the pub, of course), having ascertained that we live in a beautiful part of the country, and that we have (probably) the best team in the world.
Eowyn Towers (Mooncup Sales Coordinator)
October 2011 "Would you like crushed beetle with your menstrual cup, madam?"
(or Why the Mooncup Will Always be Dye-Free)
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Over the years, we’ve occasionally been asked if we have plans to make the Mooncup in different colours. Our answer has always been ‘no’ – quite simply because dyeing the Mooncup is at odds with the health, ethical and environmental benefits characteristic of the Mooncup and our company. Cathy Marchand, Mooncup Ltd.’s Nurse Advisor and Research Officer, explains why:
Health: a dubious safety record
Since 1918, it has been known that toxins can be absorbed into the blood stream through the vagina. Coloured menstrual cups are either made with the addition of food colouring or pigments.
Food colourings are used to encourage people to buy certain foods over others. They have a chequered safety history, which has led to strict regulations around food additives being developed, as some colourings were found to be carcinogenic and have a systemic effect on the body. Several types of artificial food dyes that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA) had originally approved for use in food have since been banned, as subsequent research determined that these were no longer safe for human consumption.
Standards and regulations on food colourings, including maximum daily limits, vary throughout the world, with some regulations being more stringent than others. In America, for example, ‘F’, ‘D’ and ‘C’ numbers (which generally indicate that the FDA has approved the colourant for use in foods, drugs and cosmetics) are given to approved synthetic food dyes that do not exist in nature, while in the European Union ‘E’ numbers are used for all additives, both synthetic and natural, that are approved in food applications.
The pigments industry is distinct from the dyes industry, which manufactures a separate class of chemicals. Many pigments are not biodegradable and are often made from petroleum products. As with the disposal of any chemicals, there are a variety of environmental concerns associated with the manufacturing and handling of pigments, including how best to dispose of them without polluting fresh water sources
The material we use to make the Mooncup – medical grade silicone – was chosen by us because of its excellent and universal safety record: we do not want to compromise the health of Mooncup users by using unnecessary additives that may have a question mark over their safety now or in the future.
Environment: a commitment to people and animal-friendly practices
Mooncup Ltd. is proud to have been awarded ‘Ethical Business’ status for its commitment to people and environmentally-friendly practices. Adding another stage to manufacture means more energy is consumed and, when using dyes or pigments, makes the process more complex and less environmentally sensitive.
We are also committed to offering a product that is vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Many natural colourings are animal-derived, such as carmine/cochineal (E120 – red, purple, pink) made from crushed beetles; shellac (E904) from insect secretions; gelatine (orange) made from animal bones and L-Cysteine (E920), sometimes made from hair or feathers.
Call us boring(!), but we’re not willing to compromise our ethical status for a non-essential additive with a dubious health and ethical history.
The Mooncup ethos: Less is More
As consumers, we are constantly encouraged to buy more products and told that those we already own should be replaced by new items. Using the Mooncup offers women an opportunity to ‘step out’ of the cycle of consumerism in at least one aspect of their lives – and this is one of the reasons that so many women love the product. In our opinion, coloured Mooncups would make something beautifully simple into something unnecessarily complicated. We also think the Mooncup looks rather nice just the way it is.
September 2011 The Mooncup team get down and dirty (with gloves!) at the annual Beachwatch clean-up and marine litter survey
Sunday 18th September saw the Mooncup team up bright and early to take part in Beachwatch 2011. Beachwatch, the Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach clean and marine litter survey, is the biggest and most influential project in the fight against beach litter pollution in the UK.
Each year, around 5000 volunteers gather across over 350 British beaches. At the same third weekend in September every year, Beachwatch is also part of a global movement, joining the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), which involves over 70 countries. Volunteers worldwide are allocated a stretch of beach, and then set to work tallying the quantities and types of beach litter found. Once figures are collated, a global snapshot of marine litter emerges that can then be used in awareness-raising and campaigns to reduce marine litter at source.
Alongside fishing, public and shipping litter, one of the main sources of the UK’s coastal clutter is Sewage Related Debris (SRD) – basically, the end of the line for many of the products we flush down our toilets. Of course, it’s this un-sanitary waste that the Mooncup team feel particularly passionate about…though the number of random plastic pieces, sweet wrappers and cotton bud sticks on our stretch of beach this year was pretty disturbing too!
During Beachwatch 2010, an average of 30 feminine hygiene items (tampons, applicators, panti-liners, backing strips and pads) were found on each kilometre of British beach. That’s not even counting feminine wipes or plastic wrappers. Figures for 2011 are now being collated. However, if the tampon applicator that Eileen found is anything to go by, our work here still isn’t quite done…
As a seaside business ourselves, caring about the state of our beaches feels like common sense. This year, we began sponsoring Surfers Against Sewage, and have caused a bit of a stir in the UK with our ‘Love your beach? Love your vagina’ advertising campaign. Beachwatch felt like the perfect way to round off the summer months and keep us firmly in touch with what we’re really working for …and you’d never guess how enjoyable a few hours of litter picking can honestly be! To find out more, go to the Marine Conservation Society's website
Kath Clements (PR and Campaigns Manager) » back to top
August 2011 In response to popular request...
Love the Love Your Vagina song? You can now download the love your vagina lyrics and sheet music. Video yourself singing along and we'll feature it on our website!
August 2011 Planet Organic offering the Mooncup menstrual cup in new Liverpool Street store
Planet Organic - the UK's largest fully certified organic supermarket - is including the Mooncup menstrual cup in it's latest store. Check it out at 10 Devonshire Square London EC2M 4AE
June 2011 Caroline Lucas, the UK's first Green MP, describes Mooncup's Su Hardy and Cathy Marchand as two of her local green heroes
Following an historic win in Mooncup's resident Brighton, Caroline Lucas has cited Mooncup founder Su Hardy and Nurse Advisor Cathy Marchand as two of her local green inspirations. She described Mooncup Ltd as "an innovative company which has grown and grown" in an interview with a local magazine
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May 2011 Mooncup Ltd is proud to be screening the award-winning documentary The Moon Inside You as part of the annual Brighton Fringe Arts festival
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Since puberty, documentary filmmaker Diana Fabianova felt trapped by a legacy of menstrual pain, shame and secrecy inherited from her family and beyond. Lifting the lid on ‘the curse’ with humour and insight, The Moon Inside You explores the cultural stigmas and physical realities that shape how women and men experience menstruation. Interviews with experts in medicine, sociology, anthropology, psychology and philosophy are woven together with wit, arresting cinematography and animation: you may never look at periods the same way again...
After last year's sell-out screening, we're really delighted to be showing The Moon Inside You again - this time in the beautiful Duke of Yorks (Britain's oldest cinema) as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival. For those of you that didn't get to see it first time round (and those who want to see it again!), Mooncup will be hosting a special evening including Q & A with the filmmaker Diana Fabianova, featured psychotherapist Alexandra Pope and author Sjanie Hugo.
April 2011 Finally! Mooncup's twin sister arrives for USA residents
Since its origins as a one-woman venture nine years ago, Mooncup Ltd has become a truly international company, selling to women all around the world every day. Sadly, however, we have been unable to supply to USA residents because another company trademarked our brand name there. Over the years, we’ve been inundated with requests for the Mooncup from women in the USA and so we have (finally!) created a special version of the Mooncup – the MCUK® (Mooncup UK, as abbreviated by the menstrual cup forums who’ve been following the story) – available exclusively to women in the USA from www.mcuk.com
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January 2011 Mooncup Nurse Advisor Kate Lintott brushes up on her gynaecological expertise!
In the Mooncup Advice department Cathy and I get asked all sorts of gynaecological questions, you’d be surprised! As a registered nurse, it is a legal requirement to keep updated, and nurses can do this through relevant publications, training courses, placements, and nursing practise experiences. Last week I attended a course aptly named Gynaecology Assessment and Examination, and I duly joined the rat race on the station platform rather early (!) on a very wet Monday morning for the London Victoria train.
The course was run by a consultant nurse in Gynaecology and attended by Nurse Practitioners, whom you may have come across: these highly skilled nurses have undergone three further years of training to enable to work, for example, in Doctors surgeries and walk-in centres alongside your general practice doctors (GP). Other nurses on the course included Practise nurses, some who regularly take smears and give contraceptive/menstrual health advice, and Nurse Health advisors.
The topics we covered during this two day course were sexually transmitted diseases, smears, fibroids, cervical cancer and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), intermenstrual bleeding, post coital bleeding, endometriosis, prolapses, menopause, and contraception.
The two days involved some fairly intense theory and also some practical training on taking smears and examination using a model female pelvis. If you are up to date with having a smear taken (every 3 yrs over the age of 25 yrs) you may have found your most recent experience of having the cells taken from the cervix felt different/took longer, this may have been due to a new type of ‘brush’ being used to sweep the cervix which needs to be turned FIVE times to collect the cervical cells. This may sound like unnecessary torture, but the idea is that research has shown more cells are collected and there is much less chance of you being recalled to have the procedure repeated due to the sample being inadequate.
Many of the nurses attending the course spent time taking a menstrual history with women. Usually there is a chief complaint, such as “I have really heavy periods”, “I can feel something there”, and understanding the chief complaint with symptoms and the time period of it are usually the first details to establish. This would usually involve finding out details such as age of menarche (onset of periods), duration and amount of bleeding, interval between menstruation, pain, any intermenstrual or post coital bleeding, premenstrual symptoms, and menopause details where relevant. If necessary, further discussion/blood test/pelvic examination may be the next step. The UK government National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines (NICE) state that pelvic examination is not always necessary prior to starting any treatment for menstrual problems so don’t worry or let it stop you visiting your surgery. You are also entitled to have a chaperone present if it makes you feel more at ease if you did need an examination.
All this may sound pretty full on I guess, so please remember that many menstrual issues can be simply treated, either medically, homoeopathically, or using acupuncture for example. You just need to find what feels right and works for you.
We discussed prolapses, defined as ‘a downward decent of the uterus and/or vagina’, caused by the relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles, they can occur alongside childbirth, constipation, being overweight and fibroids for example. At this point I must admit I sat up very straight and started to do some pelvic floor exercises! Prolapse can affect bladder and bowel function, altered vaginal discharge and backache along with a sensation of ‘something coming down’. There are a number of options for treatment depending on the severity of symptoms which can vary enormously between women. To maintain a healthy pelvic floor and help prevent prolapse, pelvic floor exercises, limiting pelvic floor trauma during childbirth, physiotherapy yoga and Pilates are all excellent.
Vaginal pessaries can be used to support the vaginal wall, and are usually ring shaped devices worn in high the vagina (similarly positioned to a diaphragm or contraceptive cervical cap) to support or correct the position of the uterus, made from latex or silicone. Vaginal pessaries were first used by Hippocrates around 5BC, when half a pomegranate soaked in vinegar was sewn into a ball and inserted high into the vagina. We were also anecdotally told that cow dung was also used in a similar way, causing infection, which could create a strong immune response in the tissues of the vagina creating scar tissue, which is more rigid than the normal lining of the vaginal wall, so therefore helping to ‘hold up’ the walls of the vagina again! Ouch!
I could carry on but I think this is all probably enough for the time being! If you have questions on women’s health there are some good websites out there: www.patient.co.uk; www.nhs.uk and www.womens-health.co.uk are a few, and you can always keep updated here on the Mooncup website too. If you have concerns about your health you can visit your Doctor, Practise nurse or Sexual health Clinic.
And don’t forget to love your Vagina!
January 2011 The APHRC (African Poplulation and Health Research Centre) explores the benefits of Mooncup use amongst schoolgirls in Kenya
The APHRC (African Poplulation and Health Research Centre) has implemented a trial to explore the potential benefits of menstrual cup use amongst schoolgirls in Kenya. With support from the Department of International Development (DFID), UK and subsidised Mooncups from Mooncup Ltd., the key findings were...
- a decrease in girls reporting that having their periods stopped them from attending classes
- Use of the Mooncup seemed to improve school girls’ concentration during their periods
- Overall decrease in embarrasment and self-consciousness during menstruation, due to less worry about staining their clothes
- School girls using the Mooncup felt able to participate in all school activities during their periods, as summed up in this extract from an in-depth interview with one of the girls:
"I believe I will be able to participate in most activities at school like sports and even in class. I will no longer feel the fear and embarrassment I used to have before when I was using the strips of cloth. I will also not be begging for help once I have the cup with me. I never used to feel comfortable begging because others were helpful while others thought I was just misusing them and I didn’t want to buy my own pads."
You can read the full report from APHRC here » back to top
January 2011 Washing machine, mobile phone, Mooncup. Three of the "top ten technologies that have improved the lives of women and midwives"
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The Mooncup has been selected as one of the top ten technologies that have improved the lives of women and midwives, in an article in "Essentially MIDIRS" - the monthly journal for maternity healthcare professionals. Rubbing shoulders with the washing machine, the mobile and the modern car, the Mooncup was described as a life-changing invention that "solves the cost and hassle problem...of menstrual products". You can read the full article here
November 2010 Mooncup's Kath Clements gets intimate with Sugargroup...
After five years at Mooncup HQ I thought I knew everything there was to know about vaginas…until last night! I had an incredible evening presenting the Mooncup to the women of Sugargroup . Little did I know when I agreed to do a talk, that I was to end up joining the Sugargroup women on a journey of discovery through the fantasy rich warrens of the naughtily sumptuous She Said Boutique, just off Brighton’s Ship Street, happily topped up with champagne and sushi. We took in the exquisite corsets and designer dresses of She Said, demonstrations of the Secret Ceres - an apparent libido enhancer and vaginal detoxifier(?!),and beautifully designed sex toys by companies like Jimmy Jane and Lelo. Then it was on to the hilarious anecdotes of Emily Dubberley, agony aunt and founder of Scarlet magazine and Cliterati.co.uk, who has clearly found her niche - delighted at her role as sex toy reviewer: paid to masturbate! The evening was topped off with a visit to Jamie’s body casting studio and my first glimpse of the ‘Great Wall of Vagina'.Yep – 500 women’s vulvas cast in plaster… and what a range we have between us! Bit of an unfortunate conversation starter with Jamie - “so when are you going to mount them?!” – still, I’ve been left with my toe firmly propping open that door: to new worlds of knowledge for me to explore professionally… and might well be personally too!!» back to top
September 2010 A-list Mooncup advocates!
The past few months have seen so lots of well-known women stepping up to talk about the Mooncup! First, there was the beautiful Thandie Newton, of Mission Impossible, ER, and Crash fame, telling the world that she uses the Mooncup in the National Geographic Summer issue. Then, The Times journalist Caitilin Moran tweeting “I've just had to ring my husband and ask where my Mooncup is: "You left it on top of Harry Potter" ‘. And those 140 characters set off a surge of twittering resulting in the Mooncup trending: a social media coup for our trusty silicone cup! What with Dawn Porter telling all in her Talking about Periods, and Amy Winehouse unexpectedly announcing “Va je jew” as her vagina’s pet name during our Love your vagina campaign… who knows who’ll be next to get talking about Mooncup…can’t wait to find out!» back to top
July 2010 Mooncup voted 'Best Personal Product' in Health and Beauty Awards
The Mooncup has been voted 'Best Personal Product' in Ethical Living Magazine's Health and Beauty awards. Ethical Living said the menstrual cup could enable you to "revolutionise your life, save you money and reduce waste while you're at it". Thanks! Check out Ethical Living's website here» back to top
May 2010 From snowy Germany to sunny (!) Somerset - here's where the Mooncup team have been so far, and where we're going in 2010
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Our first trip of 2010 was in February, to snowy Nuremberg in Germany for Biofach/Vivaness: the world’s largest health product exhibition. Helen, Éowyn, Kath, Eileen and Cathy went along to meet some of our international distributors, tell people about the Mooncup and practice our German. ‘Reusable menstrual cup’ is Wiederwerwendbarer Menstruationsbecher’ auf Deutsch: bit of a tongue-twister but we had it down to a fine art by the end of the six days.
After a beautiful trip home on the Eurostar – four countries in one day! – we were back to work and getting ready for Vitality in March – London’s annual ‘girls day out’ at Earls Court. Mooncup Ltd has had a stand at this health, beauty and pampering show for six years: it’s always a laugh and as it runs for four days, the whole team tends to get involved. The loveyourvagina campaign was running throughout London at the same time and we gave out tons of free badges and postcards (recycled of course), which went down very well!
April saw the Sales Team back in London for Natural Products Europe - and back to our favourite hotel: the Beaver (where else?!). This show is all about catching up with our UK distributors, updating them on the latest news and finding out how they’re all getting on. We also always meet lots of interesting new people and this year was no exception.
Coming up next for us is the annual mud-and-fun fest that is Glastonbury festival, where the Mooncup stand has been a much loved feature since 2002. If you’re going - come and visit us at the Green Futures Field: we’d love to see you there.
Éowyn Towers, Mooncup Ltd.
5th February 2010, Brighton UK Screening of The Moon Inside You
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In February we were lucky enough to screen ground-breaking documentary The Moon Inside You in Brighton, followed by a discussion with Alexandra Pope (coauthor of The Pill: are you sure it’s for you?) and Sjanie Hugo (The Fertile Body Method: a practitioner’s manual). Sorry to those of you we had to turn away at the door: the event quickly sold out! We’ll be updating our Facebook events page with screenings internationally, and certainly plan to put on another screening in Brighton someday soon!
Facing the menstrual etiquette with doses of humour, creativity and insight, The Moon Inside You is a fresh look at a taboo that defines the life of both women and men in a more profound way than society might be willing to admit.
Documentary film-maker Diana Fabianova’s grandmother died from cancer of the womb, and her mother was later diagnosed with the same disease. As if having inherited this pain, Diana went on to suffer menstrual pain and depression herself but was thankfully not prepared to accept this as ‘her lot’.
Along Diana’s personal journey to crack open ‘the curse’, the documentary meets with experts from different fields: medicine, sociology, anthropology, psychology and philosophy, as well as alternative ones such as dance and Taoist yoga. The sheer intelligence of Diana’s approach, alongside the film’s humour, creativity and warm inclusion of men within the conversation makes for a documentary that really hits the spot!
Clearly moved by The Moon Inside You , the discussion after the screening was a privilege to be part of, as individuals in the audience - in the experienced hands of Alexandra Pope- spontaneously shared tales from their own menstrual journeys, often speaking openly about their experience for the first time. There were stories of legacies of misgivings (or alternatively pride) handed from mother to daughter as well as women having been prescribed the pill from their first period in order to stay focussed academically...
Even having worked with Mooncup for 5 years – and having clearly shared a fair few privileged encounters with women around the subject of menstruation- it was hugely inspiring to be in such a charged space with women really ready to ‘lift the curse'. Thank you so much for those of you who were there...we look forward to the next time!
Kath Clements, Campaigns Manager Mooncup Ltd.
March 2010 Mooncup launches bold new ad campaign urging women to love their vaginas!
‘Loveyourvagina.com’ – not something you see everyday on the tube! Last month saw the launch of our bold new advertising campaign where beautifully illustrated posters of some of the pet names women call their vaginas were plastered over London Underground and pulled along by adbikes with the url loveyourvagina.com. The campaign has received a huge amount of publicity with the Guardian naming it the model for future green advertising. It’s been a thrilling month and the first time we’ve done a campaign on such a big scale.
We worked with creative agency St Luke’s to devise the campaign – Rebecca Lewis from St Luke’s explains how they arrived at such an unusual route and how our fans played an important part in the success of the campaign.
“We were presented with quite a few challenges when we started thinking about how to advertise Mooncup. First of all, the feminine hygiene market is a crowded market place to advertise in; it is dominated by two types of product – tampons and sanitary towels. As you’re probably well aware from talking to your friends and family, women’s behaviour can be ingrained when it comes to our sanitary protection - most women don’t want to think about, let alone change their protection. Furthermore, when they first see it, lots of women find the Mooncup a challenging product. When presented with it, people’s reactions can range from shock to disgust!
With all of this in mind, we decided we needed to take women on a journey - manage their introduction to Mooncup and lead them online where they would be able to fully understand and engage with the product. Breaking the final taboo of getting women to talk about their vagina would create buzz and talkability - after all, we want women to care for their vagina in the same way as any other part of their body such as their hair or skin.
We approached this by launching the campaign with unbranded posters simply featuring beautiful designs of names that women use to describe their vagina and a url - loveyourvagina.com.
When women visit loveyourvagina.com they see an explanation of what the product is and why they should think about the type of sanitary protection they are using as well as getting the chance to submit their own 'pet name' to the online poll.
Finally, we knew that Mooncup have lots of loyal advocates - if we took the first step in instigating the conversation online, we hoped that Mooncup fans would then step in to spread the word.
The microsite has received over 250,000 unique users and our poll has received over 32,000 votes with 11,330 different names submitted....definitely worth a look! The campaign has received coverage in The Guardian, Heat, The Sun, MTV, Radio 4, The Independent and Marie-Claire among others. Comedian Jimmy Carr tweeted about the campaign and Amy Winehouse spoke out to support the Mooncup, revealing she calls hers her ‘Va jew-jew’!
The breadth of reach of the campaign is best summed up by Trendhunter:
’How strong is the reach of the Mooncup campaign? My boyfriend came home shouting, “Love your vagina dot com! Love your vagina dot com!”
To take a look at the poll results, visit loveyourvagina.com
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1st December 2009 Are your periods a positive experience? Mooncup Ltd's very own Kath Clements discusses...
"As the Mooncup stall hits the festival circuit every summer, we have the privilege of talking to women from all over the country about one of the last taboos…periods.
In spite of huge progress in women’s rights, periods are still often associated with shame, secrecy and embarrassment: ‘the curse’.
With periods a monthly reality until menopause, surely it makes sense to reclaim menstruation and work towards a positive experience of periods..."
You can read the article in full and comment on the Positive Life website
9th October 2009 Mooncup picks up two awards at the BAHBAs
Mooncup Ltd were delighted to have won not just one but TWO awards - the Entrepreneur of the Year and the Responsible Business Award- at the Brighton and Hove Business Awards 2009
Having been shortlisted for two categories, the Mooncup team attended an award ceremony at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on Friday 9th October, where winners from each of the 16 categories were to be announced.
Judges were looking for companies and organisations that really capture the spirit of Brighton & Hove. The Responsible Business Award evaluated the human, environmental and ethical benefits of Brighton businesses, while the Entrepreneur of the Year was set to celebrate the combination of vision, creativity, acumen, dedication and energy that makes for a successful entrepreneur.
Su Hardy, delighted Mooncup Director explains:
“The Mooncup is health conscious, environmentally savvy, and taboo-busting: I can’t think of a more fitting winner to represent Brighton!! We’re so proud to get this recognition. It just goes to show that people are ready to open up and make new choices. We’re here to tell every woman: there’s another way, and it’s a winner: Mooncup!!”
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8th September 2009 Brilliant online TV programme on the menstrual cup learning curve.
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August 2009 Jill Tunstall trials the Mooncup in the Guardian...
...and concludes that "the Mooncup's here to stay". Read the article in full here» back to top
July 2009 Angela, from Rowley Projects, reports on the Mooncup project at Kolweny Kingsway High School Western Kenya.
"Rowley Projects began work in Nyandiwa in 2001 in response to the dire water situation. Among other projects we now have a secondary school for local children. The first final year in 2007 had 8 students who went on to university or college but given the Kenyan competitive education system the girls are disadvantaged in that they have to stay at home for one week in four due to lack of sanitary protection".
"After their initial embarrassment at discussing such issues, I identified three women with teenaged daughters who were willing to trial mooncups for six months. This trial was a resounding success so in May this year, 2009, I distributed Mooncups to all 24 girls in Forms 3 & 4 (equivalent to sixth form) and the three women members of staff who are now my second trial group. One 18 year old girl from the original group is an orphan now being cared for by extended family in the community who are helping her to complete her primary education. She will be in the High School from next January and agreed to be the ‘mentor/counsellor’ for any girls having problems with use of the mooncups as she is already well known to them all".
"New latrines have been built on the site with gutters, tanks and wash basins. In the event of poor rainfall, as at present, the tanks can be filled from the well. After officially opening the latrines- a cause of celebration!- I took the opportunity to explain to the boys why the girls seemed to be getting preferential treatment in the hope that better informed young men will have more respect for their female fellow students".
"The intention is to supply the Form 1 & 2 girls with mooncups in October and then introduce them to the top classes in the primary school and other women in the community. Mooncups are already revolutionising the lives of the girls and women in our community, giving them freedom from the monthly problems and equality of opportunity. Thankyou to all at Mooncup for your help with this project."
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July 2009 Mooncup's bag manufacturer wins the BITC Award of Excellence
Supreme Creations - who make the Mooncup bags - have been awarded the BITC 'Responsible Supply Chain' Award by HRH The Prince of Wales at Clarence House.
Winners of the top 'Business in The Community Supply Chain' award in this year's Awards for Excellence, Supreme Creations has been showing the big boys how it's done. The accolade recognises the company's pioneering product development and commitment to creating secure working conditions and sustainable communities for its 2,000-strong workforce.
Spring 2007 Measuring Menstrual Blood Loss: The New Mooncup
Menstrual disorders are the second most common cause of hospital referral for women.(1)
While blood, urine, stool and sputum samples are fundamental diagnostic tools, the measurement of menstrual blood loss has been a real obstacle for the medical profession until now.
Over the years, doctors have tried to measure blood loss using various techniques from complicated weight estimates to radio-isotope methods. Today, a case history is collated including amounts of sanitary protection used, blood clots/or flooding and how frequently these symptoms are experienced.
However, women’s perception of their blood loss is very subjective and often inaccurate. The majority of women still don't discuss menstruation and discard sanitary products with as little attention to their menstrual blood as possible. One study showed that 50%of women who complained of menorrhagia actually had normal blood loss (2).
“Perhaps this is why the treatment of menorrhagia is frequently so unsatisfactory and approximately 25000 apparently normal uteri are removed each year”(1)
The new improved Mooncup, with convenient millilitre markings, allows women to keep track of their menstrual flow and accurately report blood loss to their doctor. As Cathy Marchand, Mooncup Nurse Advisor states:
“The Mooncup holds significantly more fluid than conventional products - so many women with heavy periods already use it, and comment on how they feel positively aware of their real blood loss for the first time. The millilitre markings were the obvious next step in improving women’s menstrual experience”.
(1)E.Gangar and V.Allanach 2001 Gynaecologycal Nursing - a practical guide
(2) E.Malcolm-Symonds and I.Symons Essential obstectrics and Gynaecology 4th edition 2004
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August 2008 Which? magazine recommends the Mooncup
The prestigious independent expert advice magazine Which? featured the Mooncup as the recommended green alternative to tampons.
In the article Personal Preference, expert Alison Eastwood compares the cost, performance and environmental impact of various brands of tampons: non-applicator, applicator and compact applicator. She then investigates greener alternatives.
Ever pondered the mysteries of absorbency testing? Apparently, in 1964, absorbency was tested by dripping ox blood onto tampons. Nowadays, of course, things have changed. Plastic bottles are rigged up, each fitted with a non-lubricated condom with a tampon inside. Room temperature pink saline solution is drip fed in and, once the tampon is saturated, the amount of solution absorbed is calculated, and changes in width, length and weight are measured.
Alison Eastwood goes on to enumerate the 11,000 tampons or towels used by one woman in her lifetime- around 22 per period- amounting to about 4.3 bn products in the UK alone each year. From the costing of tampons in the article, this works out as a spending of roughly £1070 in a menstruating lifetime...
Meanwhile, seven testers were given the Mooncup to trial for two periods. Not a saline solution in sight...Much simpler!
Out of the seven testers, four became -
"enthusiastic converts, won over by the cost...how well it works and the convenience of not having to carry tampons around or dispose of them".Go to the Which? article for more details of the trial.
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November 2008 Brighton Beach clean with Surfers Against Sewage
Surfers Against Sewage is an environmental campaign organisation who campaign for clean and recreational waters for all. Several of their excellent campaigns share a lot in common with Mooncup’s company aspirations. So when we heard they were organising a beach clean at Brighton we sent a crack team of volunteers to help out.
The day was great fun, over 50 people volunteered and more than 220kg of litter was removed from the beach! More information can be found on the Surfers Against Sewage website website and we urge you to check out their 'Think Before You Flush' campaign actions, victories and especially the latest campaign video.» back to top
May 2008 Menstrual cup washes - what is the point?!
We work closely with Mooncup users through our advice and support facilities, and place great value on the customer feedback we receive, ensuring that we offer the best possible service.
The most frequently asked question on the Advice line is about cleaning the Mooncup – what to use, how often to do it and can you put it in the dishwasher?! (No!). We decided to do a quick survey of Mooncup users to find out which method of cleaning it between periods they preferred, and found that most of you like to keep it simple...
- 73% Boiling in water
- 9% Microwave
- 9% Sterilising solution
- 9% Just washing with water
We were interested to know if our customers felt they would benefit from a special wash to clean their Mooncup - some other menstrual cup manufacturers have produced washes that they sell alongside their cups. We received a resounding and reassuring NO from 78% of our users.
Did you know that the feminine hygiene industry is less than 100 years old? It is an industry that endlessly creates new designs, new gimmicks and new reasons for buying unnecessary products. The Mooncup was created as an antidote to this and, as a company we firmly believe that reducing and re-using is the most environmentally responsible way to manage our business.
While we want to offer our customers the best possible service, we weren’t keen on the idea of producing another product that wasn’t necessary – but we thought we should ask what you thought about it! Following the survey, we can confidently say that our customers agree and that we can keep things simple and continue to stick to our philosophy of environmental responsibility and ethical principles.» back to top
February 2008 Mooncup on BBC Woman’s Hour
Radio 4 Woman’s Hour contacted us asking for information for a discussion on the environmental impact of sanitary products entitled ‘wings, strings or cups?’ Aware that so many women love the show, we were excited at the prospect and asked if they wanted a speaker from Mooncup, but they declined and so we sent the information and looked forward to hearing what they had to say.
Gathered round the radio with coffee and croissants, we listened to the discussion between Tracy Stewart from the Absorbent Hygiene Product Manufacturers Association (AHPMA), Harriet Reuter Hapgood - a freelance journalist representing the environmentally friendly ‘alternatives’, and the presenter Jane Garvey.
The comments from AHPMA were unsurprising – the ever-increasing range of ‘feminine hygiene' products existed to give women “the best possible choice” and “embraced femininity”. Harriet argued that women are told to feel insecure about their bodies, and “the industry has gone beyond periods” quipping, “that’s what knickers are for”.
She went on to explain the Mooncup and, to our disappointment, it seemed that the information we’d sent had not been read, and that Harriet did not use a menstrual cup herself: in fact seeming more than a little uncomfortable about the idea!
Readers may remember having concerns about using the Mooncup in a public toilet, and how with experience this is really not as problematic as it may first seem. But Harriet described “cheerily tipping away your fluids into a sink and your colleagues are sort of looking at you in horror…” But why you would take your Mooncup out to the sink to empty it and not just tip the contents down the toilet?
Jane Garvey, trying to restore balance to the argument, challenged AHPMA on the environmental damage caused by disposables, to be told - “the companies that make these products by and large are leaders in environmental stewardship” – a dubious statement that went unchallenged, as did the one that followed – that high levels of packaging were there to stop people using the toilet as a bin.
Harriet, when asked to summarise the discussion, concluded that women do not “necessarily have a choice” in what sanitary protection they use – and that there was no “middle ground” between the “hippyish” Mooncup and the “very sanitised” disposables. But what about other alternatives such as washable pads? And haven’t we moved beyond environmentalism as a ‘hippy’ pastime?
Overall, we were disappointed and felt that reusable products were not given a fair or accurate representation on the discussion itself, but there was a great deal of activity and frank discussions on the Woman’s Hour message board, which you can read here» back to top
February 2008 Viva la Mooncup!
Mooncup popularity in Italy has soared after the municipality of Maserada sul Piave - a town near Treviso in the north east of the country - launched a campaign encouraging resident women to use the Mooncup.
“It’s not the answer to all the emergency waste in Naples but, with this one initiative, environmental officer Giuseppe Quinto and mayor Floriana Casellato wish to promote ‘small acts of virtue’ amongst the citizens”, reported the Italian broadsheet La Reppublica .
The launch of the Mooncup campaign in early March coincided with International Women’s day and the escalation of the rubbish problems in the city of Naples, resulting in unprecedented media coverage throughout Italy.
Maserada sul Piave is no stranger to such forward thinking initiatives: last year it ran a campaign to promote the use of washable nappies, facilitating the provision of discounted nappy packs to residents with small children. In 2006 it was proclaimed recycling capital of Italy, recycling an astonishing 80% of its waste.
The Mooncup was presented at a special event organised by the Maserada town council to which all the women of the town were invited.
"It is estimated that disposable sanitary products take 500 years to break down in landfill” - explained Guiseppe Quinto – “disposable sanitary protection therefore represents an environmental cost as well as a financial cost to every woman."
In the same week Beppe Grillo, the contentious political commentator and comedian whose blog consistently ranks as one of the most visited in the world, spoke on the Italian national television channel RA12 about the waste problems in Naples, citing the menstrual cup as a superior alternative to disposable sanitary protection.
Grillo has long been an advocate of the Mooncup – holding it up on stage night after night in his 2007 Italian tour
You can read the La Reppublica article (in Italian!) here
None of this would have been possible without the hard work of the women at La Bottega Della Luna who distribute the Mooncup in Italy – so a big thank you to them!
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April 2008 Early Day Motion 1341 to Lobby MPs on reusable sanitary protection
Jo Swinson, MP, is calling for the Government to encourage use of reusable sanitary protection in an Early Day Motion.
Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons and are useful in drawing attention to specific events or campaigns and for demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view
The massive surge in awareness of real nappies over the past few years is, in part, thanks to similar Early Day Motions bringing the issues around disposable nappies to the attention of the Government. Jo Swinson's EDM is an important first step in putting reusable sanitary protection on the political agenda. You can help in this process by emailing your MP and asking them to sign the Motion.
To make sure that Mooncup is on the government's environmental agenda, please copy the letter below and email it to your MP. You can find your MP by entering your postcode on They Work For You.com. The more MPs we get to sign this, the closer we get to all British women knowing that they have a reusable sanitary product choice too.
Early Day Motion 1341 - Resuable Sanitary Products
That this House recognises the importance of reducing waste in tackling climate change; notes that the average woman will dispose of 11,000 sanitary products during her lifetime, adversely affecting the sewage system and contributing to landfill waste; congratulates Mooncup Ltd as a leading producer of a reusable and environmentally friendly sanitary product suitable for use by vegans and those with allergies; expresses concern that this product's availability is restricted to the internet and a limited number of retailers; believes that greater awareness and availability of such products would encourage women to choose this option where appropriate; calls on the Government to encourage use of reusable sanitary protection; and further calls on the pharmaceutical and health industries to stock and promote reusable sanitary protection.
Dear [insert name] MP
I am writing to ask you to sign Early Day Motion 1341, on reusable sanitary products, tabled by Jo Swinson MP
On average, a woman will dispose of 11,000 sanitary products during her lifetime. This waste will either contribute to landfill or have an adverse effect on the sewage system. One company seeking to find a greener solution to women’s sanitary needs is Mooncup Ltd, whose product, the Mooncup, is reusable and environmentally friendly.
The Early Day Motion calls for the Government to encourage use of reusable sanitary protection and urges the pharmaceutical and health industries to stock and promote reusable sanitary protection.
As your constituent, I am keenly aware of the need to find and promote green solutions to everyday challenges, and I believe Mooncup Ltd should be supported in its efforts to market a reusable sanitary product. Please add your name to the Early Day Motion
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March 2008 Mooncup rated 'Best Buy' in Ethical Consumer review of all sanitary products
The Ethical Consumer launched its Best Buy Label in March, to support companies who have come out on top in the magazine’s research in promoting their ethical status. The aim of the 'Best Buy' mark is to make it easier for the UK’s growing number of ethically motivated shoppers to choose genuinely ethical products and services. The Best Buy Label is only awarded to those companies and products that have met more than twenty animal welfare, environmental and human rights criteria.
Some of the points that marked the Mooncup out as the ‘Best Buy’ included:
- The Mooncup is manufactured in the UK
- Mooncup is the world’s first medical grade silicone menstrual cup
- It is reusable, so only one is needed. With proper care one Mooncup will last for up to ten years
- Mooncup Ltd. is a certified Ethical Business - committed to people, animal and environmentally friendly practices
- The Mooncup packaging, leaflets and usage guide are made from 100% post consumer recycled materials and printed with vegetable inks. Every Mooncup comes with its own Fair Trade organic cotton storage pouch
- The Mooncup office is run on 100% renewable energy provided by a small, ethical UK supplier
- Wherever possible, Mooncup Ltd uses road freight to minimise air miles
- The Mooncup offers a free advice line run by a qualified Nurse to support women with any usage queries or problems
- Made from silicone, derived from sandstone – one of the world’s most abundant resources
Rob Harrison, editor of Ethical Consumer Magazine, an established and trusted name within the ethical business community since 1989, said:
“All too often companies are seen as being part of the environmental problem. We would like to applaud companies such as Mooncup who really are doing their best to be part of the solution.”
“By looking at the whole of a company’s operations as well as the ethics of a product, we believe that the Ethical Consumer Magazine Best Buy Label will be the definitive endorsement for people who want to put principles at the top of their shopping list.”
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