There’s no set expiry or lifespan for most menstrual cups, because it really depends on how frequently it is used and how well it is cared for. It’s best to always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to how to care for your cup.
Most menstrual cups can be reused for 5-10 years, but should be replaced if you notice any damage like cracks, tears or holes developing. Even though these might not affect how well the cup performs, it can make the cup harder to clean properly and put you at an increased risk of infections like TSS. You should also dispose of your menstrual cup if you notice it has a smell that can’t be removed with cleaning or if the surface changes texture in any way. Stains on the surface of your menstrual cup are normal and don't necessarily mean it needs to be replaced - find out more about preventing and removing menstrual cup stains.
It depends on what material your menstrual cup is made of and where you live.
In Australia, most (if not all) recycling facilities do not accept silicone for recycling. This means that unfortunately, medical-grade silicone menstrual cups like the JuJu Cup, Lily Cup or OrganiCup, can’t be easily recycled. It may be worth reaching out to your local council to see if there are any facilities in your area that recycle silicone.
TPE (a type of plastic) menstrual cups like the Hello Cup or MeLuna on the other hand, are easier to recycle. Just make sure your local recycling facility accepts number 7 plastics.
Silicone menstrual cups should be cut into small pieces and placed in your household rubbish. If you don’t want to throw it out, a silicone menstrual cup can also be burnt down to ash at home - it takes a while, so is best done in the fireplace over many hours. Or you can always get creative and repurpose your old menstrual cup around the home or in the garden!
TPE menstrual cups can be recycled at any facility that accepts number 7 plastics or can be cut into small pieces and thrown in the rubbish.
Even though some menstrual cups can’t be recycled and are not biodegradable, they are still a great way to save waste when compared to disposable pads and tampons. For every year of using a menstrual cup, you save around 300 disposables from heading to landfill! That’s a win-win in our books.
You’ll find a huge range of the best menstrual cups available in Australia here.