The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 19 Jul 2012 16:04 #1958

  • theJourney1
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First of all thanks for your quick response to our project,

We are 4 masters degree students (from different countries) enrolled in the Climate-KIC summerschool program called TheJourney. This program takes us from Paris to Zürich and finally Berlin. During this 5 week program we come into contact with experts in many fields regarding climate change and are asked to develop a business case around climate change.

In response to your comment, we already have come into contact with a company that is producing menstrual cups out of plastic material, rather then high-grade silicone rubber. Also we've had contact with several experts (ETH-Zürich) in the field of material science and found (for now) no reason to believe it couldn't be done. This is supported by the fact that there are already plastic menstrual cups out there.

Lastly, on the amount of recycled plastics issue; We believe that the potential market of this product is huge, and that for this reason the potential plastic savings are significant. Besides this, by transforming the recycled materials into this menstrual cup you remove the plastics from the environment for a very long time, as well as have major environmental benefits by removing the need for other sanitation products (tampons and/or pads).

So besides the technical feasability of this product, could you identify anymore possible barriers surrounding our product?


With kind regards,
Elleore(FR), Erik(NL), Miriam(CH) & Munya(DE)
Climate-KIC TheJourney Participants
Climate-KIC TheJourney 1
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Elleore, Erik, Miriam & Munya

The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 19 Jul 2012 18:54 #1960

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@theJourney1

Great idea, but could you please define "plastics"? Are we talking about PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, PS or a mix of other/various plastic materials?

Also, is the downcycling of the recycled plastic such a sustainable approach?

And: could your manufacturer guarantee that the created products are free of any toxic substances (~ biocompatibility)?
Juergen Eichholz
watsan eng.
water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
www.saniblog.org
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 20 Jul 2012 10:23 #1965

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Thanks alot for the interest, we realy enjoy recieving the feedback;

With "plastics" we are talking about Recycled Polyethylene either LDPE or HDPE (still looking into this). To ensure similar performance as the regular menstrual cup we will be adding an additive in the production process. This additive would only be a small portion of the final product and ofcourse will be an environmental friendly and non toxic material.

For the downcycling part, we believe that every plastic that is removed from the environment and turned into a new usefull product is better then using up new raw materials. In this way we believe this is a sustainable approach (offcourse keeping in mind the added proces and logistic emissions). As the production of 1 cup, doesn't use too much raw materials the impact on this side of the chain may remain limited. But as we've said: we can provide a more sustainable product then the original cup and at lower costs. Keeping in mind the targeted customers we feel that our product provides added value to the customers.

Logically we check to make sure the created products are free of any toxic substances and assure biocompatibility. The final product performs the same as the silicon based cup, only then producted with recycled materials.

We are currently looking into how the end consumer would respond to having such a personal product be made out of recycled materials. We believe that as we can assure the same performance as the original product this should not be too big an issue. What are your thoughts on that?

Please feel free to ask more questions, we love to discuss our idea.


With kind regards,
Elleore(FR), Erik(NL), Miriam(CH) & Munya(DE)
Climate-KIC TheJourney Participants
Climate-KIC TheJourney 1
Summerschool Participants

Elleore, Erik, Miriam & Munya

The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 23 Jul 2012 03:32 #1972

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The menstrual cups are not without their usability issues, as you know if you talk to current users. (An amusing account of the issues is on an Amazon.com page for one cup brand on the North American market.)

The cups must be flexible to allow insertion and to be securely in place. Most easily recycled plastics are rigid. Also, the plastic can go "biological" fast. To avoid toxic shock syndrome and other bacterial diseases, a plastic that does not harbor bacterial growth is best.

Cleaning, pain in use and removal, and sizing are issues.

Note that women using a diaphragm for birth control already are using something not unlike a menstrual cup. It can be used the same way.

Just an aside: We hear historical accounts of women using the hollow-out rinds of small oranges and lemons for this purpose.

Good luck with finding a solution.
Carol Steinfeld
Ecowaters (etc.)
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 18 Aug 2012 17:32 #2101

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Dear Elleore, Erik, Miriam and & Munya,

Thanks for your great interest in finding more ways of producing menstrual cups. There is a German brand, called Meluna, that are producing emnstrual cups of a material calle TPE: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoplastic_elastomer. You might want to talk to them about your idea : meluna.eu/meluna.html

We have contacted our partners in regards your idea of producing Menstrual Cups out of these recycled plastic materials and I will let you know as soon as I know more about it. It is to be noted, however, that silicone is a very eco friendly material accoring to various articles on the Internet.

Have a lovely weekend!

Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 12 Sep 2012 20:54 #2241

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Dear all,

Thanks for you valuable cost break down of sanitary towels. We provide Ruby Cup at affordable prices in slums. And currently we are looking into ways of further lowering the price. So far, we can sell Ruby Cup at a price that equals 6-8 months (depending on the menstrual flow) of spending on pads. At the same time, as Elizabeth mentioned, we are also a for profit company and need to get costs covered and in some areas this kind of up-front investment, although it saves money on the long run, is difficult to make. For these areas we are looking at different payment methods, distribution methods and are also looking for partners that can help us either cross-subsidizing the price or purchase the product, so that we can sell it below costs while we distribute and educate about Ruby Cup including menstrual hygiene and basic reproductive health.

One challenge has also been to establish trust in the product. Since it is so unknown in Kenya, we have faced scepticism in regards to longevity and benefits of the product. This requires awareness building and marketing. The positive thing: we are on it and going to make it work! However, any input in regards to distribution/marketing is highly appreciated.

Greetings from Kenya!
Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 24 Jan 2013 16:21 #3233

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Happy New year to everyone!

A quick Ruby Cup update from Kenya. We are currently available in 60 pharmacies in Nairobi but not yet available outside the city. We are working on making Ruby Cup available in Kisumu.

Here is a list with pharmacies where you can get Ruby Cup: ruby-cup.com/default.asp?page=buy_now.as...p;diffdel=&idc=3

The price for one Ruby Cup is 1800 KES in Kenya but we are currently running a promotion and you can get Ruby Cup for 1250 KES for a limited period.

Also, we have a discounted price for Ruby Cup if organisations or individuals wish to provide the product to underpriviledged school girls. We offer the provision of Ruby Cups, the education involved about menstrual hygiene and reproductive health and of course how to use Ruby Cup.

In Europe, for every Ruby Cup we sell, we sponsor one and provide it to a school girl from underpriviledged backgrounds in Kenya.

Last year, we conducted a study with the Red Cross in Uganda and I am sharing the postive results with you in the attached document. Happy reading and speak soon!

Sunny greetings from Nairobi!

Maxie
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Maxie Matthiessen
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Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 05 Jun 2013 11:35 #4612

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Hello everyone,

We've got news for you! Ruby Cup has established an office in Berlin. This means we are present in East Africa (Kenya) and Europe (Berlin) with sales increasing in both regions.

In Europe we sell Ruby Cup mostly through the Internet. For every Ruby Cup we sell online, we sponsor one to a school girl in Kenya. The school girls who received Ruby Cups have founded Ruby Cup Clubs, in which they talk freely about menstrual hygiene and what it means to grow up as a girl in Kenya.

In Nairobi, we engage in sales through pharmacies and supermarkets. Here are pictures from our team in Kenya during an event called Blankets and Wine where we promote Ruby Cups to girls and women from Nairobi.

Best greetings!
Maxie
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Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Aug 2014 10:29 #9649

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Hi Maxie,

I have been silently but attentively following and reading about the Ruby Cup experience since I registered in SuSanA forum. Congratuations for your success!

I recently read about MHM in developing countries in a French magazine (Causette) and they mentioned the Ruby Cup, drawing the attention on the problem of excision and how it prevents women from using the cup. I know the development of cup sales does not aim at reaching all women, however it is surely something to consider, since it excludes a significant proportion of women. Have you experienced such situations?

(I am sorry my question may be really naive, I am not at all an expert on these matters, and I guess excision is less common in Nairobi where most of the Ruby Cup sales take place).

Kind regards,

Carlotta
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Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Aug 2014 20:17 #9666

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Hi Maxie and the Ruby Cup Team

I remember meeting you at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Nairobi, Kenya as we waited our turns to see the Chief Health Officer, Dr.Kepha Ombacho. I advanced the idea of publishing a short note of your project in the Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene but you said that the matter was in the teething stages.

That was two years ago and a lot of water has passed under the bridge to say the least.
Isn't it the high time we had that short write-up of your experiences on the hygiene aspect of the 'Ruby cup' for the benefit of thousands of our readers who are not members of this forum?

Kind regards / Mwaniki
Am the publisher of the Africa Water,Sanitation & Hygiene and the C.E.O. of Transworld Publishers Ltd.,Nairobi-Kenya.
Last Edit: 07 Aug 2014 21:53 by mwaniki.

Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 13 Aug 2014 14:49 #9725

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Dear Mwaniki,

I have attached our latest Report on Ruby Cup's work in Kenya, Kisumu.

Hope this helps to clarify? Otherwise, I am avaiable via email on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We are still looking for implementing partners on the ground in Kenya, so should you know of any organisation that wishes to assist in the distribution process, please drop me an email.

All the best,
Maxie
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Maxie Matthiessen
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Last Edit: 13 Aug 2014 14:49 by Maxie.

Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 17 Aug 2014 22:49 #9783

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Hi Maxie

Thanks for the material for publication in the oncoming edition of the Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene.Could I please use the pictures of the sales girls you posted in May and the pix of the product earlier on?

Kind regards / Mwaniki
Am the publisher of the Africa Water,Sanitation & Hygiene and the C.E.O. of Transworld Publishers Ltd.,Nairobi-Kenya.
Last Edit: 17 Aug 2014 22:49 by mwaniki.
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