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Hello Cup Co-Founder Robyn McLean On Why We Need To Address Menstrual Waste

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 1 year ago | Features

Image: Hello Cup founders Mary Bond and Robyn McLean. Image source.

Menstrual waste is a huge issue facing the planet right now, which is why we are so pleased to be stocking a reusable option for our menstrual cycles. Enter Hello Cup – a New Zealand company that has revolutionised the period cup by offering them in multiple colourways and sizes. Each reusable cup is crafted from German medical grade thermoplastic elastomer, which is fully recyclable at the end of its life, and is also hypoallergenic. We are already converts to these genius cups – which don't contain any hidden nasties – so we asked the brand's co-founder Robyn McLean to share why everyone should make the switch to Hello Cups.

Rosie Dalton: You founded the Hello Cup with your friend Mary. Can you tell us a little bit about your respective backgrounds?
Robyn McLean: Mary is a registered nurse who specialises in palliative care. Despite working full time on Hello Cup these days, she still manages to squeeze in a few shifts at a hospice in Wellington because she loves it so much. I (Robyn) started my career as a journalist working for years for newspapers in New Zealand both as a news writer and a feature writer. I moved from there into public relations and marketing before starting the Hello Cup with Mary at the end of 2017.

Rosie: How did this lead you to launch the Hello Cup?
Robyn: We’ve been best friends since we were 11 and had always talked about starting a business together but with two quite different skill sets nothing ever seemed to be that ‘light bulb’ idea. Then when I tried a menstrual cup for the first time and realised instantly how life changing they could be, I thought the whole world needed to know about them. I instantly saw it as something that had huge potential and as a business Mary and I could do together, using both our skills to help educate and spread the word about how fantastic cups were. While there were cups already on the market, they all seemed to be largely the same design and we felt that we could design our own based on what we felt would be more comfortable and also attractive. Who said menstrual products can’t be cute and practical?

Rosie: Can you run us through what your research and development process was like?
Robyn: We basically got our mitts on as many different brands of cups as we could and tried them and worked out what we liked and didn’t like about each one. We knew from the get go that creating our own design would give us a cup we could back 100%. We didn’t want any pointy edges or additional ridges on our cups. We went through a couple of prototypes until we settled on our final design. The result is what we think is the most comfortable menstrual cup on the market. It ended up being a relatively straightforward process from start to finish, because we were very clear about what we wanted our cup to be.

Image: the Hello Cup. Image source.

Rosie: Why are Hello Cups better for women’s health?
Robyn: We chose to make Hello Cups from medical grade TPE (the fancy full-name is ‘thermoplastic elastomer’) because it allowed us to create a menstrual cup that was both hypoallergenic and recyclable. Many other cups on the market are made from silicone. We found that some women have a sensitivity to silicone and it can make them itchy. Not ideal! Hello Cups will hold up to three times more than tampons so you don’t have to worry about changing them as much. You can swim, sleep and exercise in them – they are just awesome. The colours we use in our cups are food grade and comply with EU and FDA standards. They contain no rubber, PBAs or heavy metals. Unlike tampons, they won’t leave fibres behind inside you. We get lot of emails from customers saying their cups have reduced their period pain, which is amazing.

Rosie: And why are they also better for the planet, when compared with traditional alternatives like tampons?
Robyn: Tampons and pads can take up to 500 years to break down in landfill. Many people assume that because they are ‘paper like’ that they will biodegrade easily and that is not the case because they often contain plastics. Even organic tampons will take several years to break down. Given that half the world’s population will have a period every month for around 35-40 years of their life, you suddenly realise that menstrual waste is a massive issue and one that hasn’t been addressed – probably because people tend to shy away from discussing menstruation full stop. A single Hello Cup will last at least five years and is reusable and then recyclable at the end of its life – so it’s a zero waste period option.

Rosie: Why do you believe it’s important to steer clear of single use products, not just in the feminine hygiene department, but also in every walk of life?
Robyn: Single use products were born at a time when ‘easy was good’. We need to realign our thinking – single use products might be easy but they are a lazy option. They are also a selfish option when it comes to the planet. We want the planet to be the best it can be for future generations and unless we all take stock of the fact that single use products actually end up somewhere and that it’s not a case of them disappearing when they hit a rubbish bin; our planet will be covered in rubbish before we know it.

You can shop our range of Hello Cups over here.

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