This month is Plastic Free July, and we are kicking it off with interviews, articles, and so much more on plastic free living. We were very lucky to get an interview with Hedi who founded the company June. June is the menstrual cup company we reviewed yesterday.
Here is our interview!
1. Apparently menstrual cups have been around since the 1930s. Tampons were actually invented after. Why don’t you think they caught on in the same way?
It’s funny you mention this because when I started JUNE, this was one of the first things I learned. I was actually pretty surprised to hear this because I had only become aware of menstrual cups maybe in the last 10 years or so and even then, none of my friends, family members or women in my life had used one. Honestly, I think it’s because the first tampon was invented by a man and because it was introduced as a solution for women to “plug” their vaginas. My other thought was that it could be due to the plastic industry. They have a lot to gain and a whole lot to lose if they don’t push single use products like tampons which come in a plastic applicator, plastic wrapping, and what I was horrified to find actually use a tiny plastic string to hold together the cotton in tampons.
2. I also read that people with heavy periods who use a cup frequently
experience fewer period days and lighter periods. Have you heard much of that from users?
I have to be honest, when I first made the switch to menstrual cups, this is one thing I was so excited to find happened to me. I traditionally used ultra and super plus tampons for the duration of my period which from start to finish was around 6-7 days. When I first switched to the menstrual cup, I wasn’t happy with the ones on the market, but when I finally created JUNE and started wearing it regularly during my cycle, I found my periods were shorter and my cramps were less intense. I learned this is a result of no longer putting chemicals in my body that are traditionally found in pads and tampons like dyes and bleach (yes that cotton is not actually that white – its the bleach). When I founded JUNE, I also started an online community for our customers called the Official JUNE Community. I started noticing comments popping up from our customers experiencing the same amazing phenomenon. Who wouldnt want a shorter period!
3. Obviously one of the major concerns for people using menstrual cups
is to lower their plastic waste. You mentioned starting June in order to
help cut down on the sheer volume of waste in the world. How much do you think using a menstrual cup helps?
Yes this was a huge factor as to why I started JUNE. I wanted to offer a low waste and low cost alternative to traditional menstrual care products. I will use tampons to compare, but the average women uses about 5 tampons a day during an on average 5 day cycle. That’s 25 tampons per cycle. Assuming on average one menstruates beginning around the age of 13 to the age of 45, that is about 32 years, 12 cycles a year, 384 cycles x 25 tampons = 9600 tampons in your lifetime. That isn’t just the single use cotton tampon itself, that includes the applicator and the packaging all down the trash. I believe last year, traditional menstrual care products contributed 220,000+ tons of waste last year. So you can imagine using a menstrual cup which can be worn every cycle for up to 10 years can seriously reduce the waste problem.
4. What sparked your desire to found June?
I actually started JUNE because I wanted to solve a problem. As I mentioned, I was a long time tampon user and I had tried other cups on the market and found them very uncomfortable and also could not find the type of leak protection I was looking for. So I decided to create JUNE. I also wanted to find a way to empower the women around me. To get to know their bodies and what exactly they put in them. Most of my friends and family had never even heard of a menstrual cup and I had been exploring them for a few years. What I learned along the way is that JUNE could empower more than just women, but could empower anyone who menstruates, and that is what JUNE has focused it’s efforts on. Empowering the community to make the switch to simple, safe, and sustainable menstrual care.
Hedi has agreed to answer any follow up questions from readers, so if you’d like to ask something please feel free to comment below!