We’d like you to meet Ruby Cup: the period cup for good.
Founded in 2011, Ruby Cup seeks to dismantle menstrual taboos and provide a sustainable solution to period poverty worldwide. How do they do this? Through their unique business model: buy one, give one. This means that every time someone buys a menstrual cup, one is donated to a person suffering from period poverty and struggling to access safe products.
So, every time you buy a Ruby Cup, you change someone else’s life, too.
So far, Ruby Cup users have donated approx. 140,000 menstrual cups to people without access to safe period products.
What is a Menstrual Cup?
Menstrual cups are soft, reusable bell-shaped cups that fit easily and sit comfortably in your vagina to collect your period blood instead of absorbing it. You can wear them leak-free for up to 8 hours during the day, while you sleep, and when working out. And it's easy to learn how to use a menstrual cup. Say goodbye to sanitary pads and tampons. Hello, unparalleled freedom! Find out how to use one here.
We sat down with Amaia Arranz: CEO of Ruby Cup, to discuss all things menstruation, feminism and sustainability.
How did Ruby Cup come about?
The company first started when the founders became menstrual cup users. They realised that it was a much cheaper and more sustainable option than using tampons. They started thinking about how women in low-income countries cannot afford pads, and often have to turn to unsafe options such as socks, paper, bark and so on. So, they realised that if women and girls were willing to use cups, it would be a much more sustainable option than constantly having to find funding to distribute free pads and tampons. That's how it all started.
How has the donation side been going?
Ruby cup started in Kenya with the aim to create a situation where nobody was held back for a week every month because of their period.This entails donation and education. So far the Ruby Cup users have donated 140,000 cups. Often the woman receiving the cup doesn’t have access to a computer to learn about the cup, and there are taboos about insertion products. So we also provide education and try to dismantle harmful social stigmas. Really it's all about just giving information about menstruation. That it isn't dirty or something to be ashamed of.
How do you ensure that your manufacturing process is sustainable?
Manufacturing the Ruby Cup is not a labour intensive process. It is made entirely by a machine with sustainable, high quality medical-grade silicon. Also, when we send Ruby Cups to Kenya to be distributed, which can be as many as 25,000 cups, the instructions and cotton bags for storage are manufactured locally. This means less travelling for the goods, fewer CO2 emissions and it also encourages employment in Kenya.
Do you think that feminism and sustainability are interlocking projects?
Yes of course. We cannot keep on having a society where 50% of the participants are being punished for their bodies. That is unsustainable. I think feminism, in a way, means that we have to have a more sustainable society. This is in how we distribute work, how we use resources, how we live, and how cities are built.In terms of menstruation, feminism and sustainability are super, super connected. Being punished with shame, being punished in our pocket, and having to dispose of single-use period products in a way that doesn't agree with our lives is not sustainable.
How does Ruby Cup help you make a positive impact?
1. By donating a menstrual cup to a young person living in period poverty without access to safe sanitary products.
2. By facilitating and funding empowered period education that helps de-stigmatise menstruation in low-income countries.
3. By giving you a reusable, zero-waste alternative to plastic single-use menstrual products that you can use for up to 10 years!
4. By providing you with a sustainably manufactured product.