How can I reuse or recycle an expired menstrual cup like the Diva Cup?

Menstrual cupIt’s International Women’s Day on Sunday (8th March) and over at Things To Do Today today, I’ve linked to a number of posts about green sanitary protection alternatives.

We’ve featured what do to with unused but unwanted sanitary towels and tampons on here before and there were lots of good suggestions including keeping towels around to use as bandages in emergencies and making tampons into art/a Thanksgiving centrepiece ;)

But what can be done with expired menstrual cups?

Manufacturers such as Diva Cup and Mooncup recommend they’re replaced every year because of government advice on silicone and because of the “personal, hygienic nature” of the product. I know some people keep using them anyway if the silicone is still in good condition because it seems such as waste to just fling them out – but I wonder if there are any ways to reuse it for other purposes instead.

And what about recycling? Silicone is recyclable, just not particularly widely – are there are programmes to recycle these cups in particular?

(Photo by Jip 26)

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle an expired menstrual cup like the Diva Cup?”

  1. blackic says:

    Huh? I’ve never heard that cups should be replaced after a year – the mooncup site says they will last “several years”…

    • louisa says:

      Sorry, I used the DivaCup’s guidelines to apply to all cups.

      The DivaCup site says a year ( but the Mooncup site says “with proper care, it will last several years”.

      There is obviously a difference about when companies have to say things need to be replaced/used up by, and when they actually do though.

    • tinpan says:

      I’ve got a mooncup which I’ve been using for several years. I remember that when I bought it I got a leaflet saying I could use it for up to 10 years if it was properly cleaned (including boiling it out regularly).

  2. Justlovely5 says:

    I just wouldn’t. There are SO many things to recycle.. this would not be at the top of my list.

  3. mcw says:

    recycling everything should be at the top of your everyones list!

    best of luck finding a way to recycle it, i wish i knew of some way myself.

    • Justlovely5 says:

      Sorry – you can’t do it ALL. I recycle SO much – I drive my family nuts. THIS is one I personally would pass on. Thank GOD for free will.

      BTW – I also removed “shoulds” from my vocabulary.. too many disappointments! LOL

  4. jane says:

    mine said 10yrs if properly cleaned. not one year.
    shot glasses anyone? KIDDING EEWWWW. haha.
    seriously though i got nothing. they seem tossable.

  5. marilyn says:

    Hello, I really liked the idea of what you are doing here and would like to feature this in our web site and wanted to ask you if this would be ok. I look forward to hearing from you.

  6. Rebekah says:

    Every year?!? I’m sorry but I have to say this seems much more like one of those things companies recommend in order to multiply sales. These cups will last for a decade with proper care. That’s one of the prime reasons why they beat the pants off tampons. Just boil it in a pot of water for ten minutes between periods.

    If you really don’t want it anymore you might be able to give it away by convincing someone you’ve boiled it and they can to the same.

    Although probably less likely to accept for health reasons, there is at least one NPO that accepts handmade cloth sanitary napkins for donation to girls in Africa (goods4girls). This allows girls to attend school who otherwise don’t have access to disposables.

    Or for actual recycling, I imagine I could be ant to Dreamscapes, a company that recycles sextoys. They deal in (potentially) “unclean” oddly shaped silicone all the time.

  7. Rebekah says:

    Sorry- that should read “it could be sent.” phone keypads cause me all kinds of trouble!

  8. Elouise says:

    The mooncup website recommends that you boil it once a month. I do that, but I also soak it for a couple of hours sometimes in water with a teaspoon of bleach or Dettol. This removes odours that sometimes remain. I’ve used my for six years and don’t see any problem in carrying on using it. It works just fine and the function/elasticity of the silicone hasn’t changed.

  9. Amy says:

    I agree that it is wasteful to throw things away when they have outlived their first use, but I’m not too concerned about a small piece of silicone that replaced years of disposable pad use. Or tampons. Or even cloth pads. If you are using a cup, you are already diverting a huge amount of trash from the waste stream.

  10. Lisa says:

    I used my Diva Cup one year and the material has become soft to the point that it wont spring back into shape during use. I boiled it 20 minutes after each cycle as I was told to do do. So I bought another one.

  11. Laurie says:

    Well maybe if enough women start using them the companies could figure out a way to collect the old ones and recycle them into new ones. I would most defiantly use something that was heated to a melting point and remolded. I think that process would kill any type or microorganisms.

  12. RMN says:

    I have one I was too stubborn to return when I couldn’t get it in right away. Now I’ve had it for about 8 years. I would like to recycle, sell, or give it away too! And not for silicone oil. I wonder if I melted it if I could turn it into a bracelet or a small funnel?

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