recycleOur new neighborhood’s informal recycler piled a load of flattened cardboard boxes and crumpled newspaper on his wheelbarrow and hobbled off. He relieved us of our packaging after an exhausting series of moves between small towns and the big city. It was such a relief to discard those boxes that had held everything while we remained in limbo between moves for the last several months. As environmentalists, tossing out the trash had never felt so good.

That got me to thinking about the Keeper.

For the very first time in my life, my period never came this last cycle. My stress level has been so high throughout this transition (also, trying to decide where in the wide world we’ll live for the next move in a year’s time) that my body must’ve gone into anti-baby-production mode.

It was a strange month with the Keeper tucked inside its purse the whole time.

That pouch is the genius of what other users and I love the most about the Keeper: there’s never anything to throw into the garbage can. It’s part of The Keeper‘s philosophy as an eco-friendly company.

How does the company minimize packaging and save you a bundle?

The Bag: Only the essential is included: the cup inside a sturdy drawstring pouch.

First of all, it’s gosh darn cute. My cup’s purse came in a paisley pattern, as if the good folks at Keeper intuitively catered to my inner hippie!

Second, when’s the last time you used something that was hand-sewn, and not by underpaid sweatshop workers in Bangladesh or your good intentioned but frumpy grandma?

Retired American seamstresses make your bag, so it’s quality stitching. Your purchase supports your female compatriots (and probably somebody’s grandma).

Finally, their purses are made out of a breathable, cotton blend cloth, there is no plastic or other disposable materials in our purses. A breathable, cotton blend cloth purse. This is important because you do not want the cup to be to stored in an air tight environment in case the cup hasn’t completed dried before storing it away.  If the purse ever wears out, you can just patch it, turn it into a rag or even sew a new one of your own.

The Envelope: Unmarked envelopes usually mean the arrival of a new credit card for you, or in the worst case an Anthrax scare for post office workers. None too fun. But why do things have to be made more attractive by announcing its appeal in neon colors? That’s a lot of chemical dyes and often is a smoke screen to detract from the product’s inferior quality. All that glitters is not gold.

The Keeper comes in a plain manila envelope, the kind that common folk like you and I could buy at the dollar store. It doesn’t gleam with shiny plastic, nor does it scream the company’s logo. Tastefully discreet. You wouldn’t want your mailman to read in bold red print “TO BE INSERTED INTO VAGINA”, would you?

You don’t have to strip a layer of plastic off the box, pull out a block of Styrofoam or dump out an elephant’s share of packing peanuts just to get out your precious cargo. And then dump the box in the trash. Ugh.

The Cost: You know that you’re being price-gauged if the product comes in pretty packaging. They’re probably investing more in catching your eye for an impulse purchase than in developing a quality product. When’s the last time you bought something that’s made to last a decade in our world of planned obsolescence?

No-frills packaging means lower costs for the company, and if they’re fair, they’ll pass those savings on to you with an economical price. Over the cup’s 10-year lifespan, the $35.00 price tag gets snipped down to a measly $0.29 a month. Right up the alley for us coupon-cutters.

The Environment: Plastic wrap, cardboard box, Styrofoam cushioning–it all goes into the trash.

Before every single use of a disposable menstrual product you have to first unwrap and toss a plastic baggie and liner like with a pad or a plastic casing and applicator like with a tampon. Then the actual product goes in the garbage. That’s all kinds of awkward on camping trips.

In contrast, the Keeper comes with zero excess packaging upon ordering and using the product. Everything you need is right there. Nothing more. That’s the beauty of simplicity.

Back in college I took a course on French Minimalism, one of those oddball offers for a 1-month term. Even more random is that je ne parle pas français. Yet the beauty of minimalism needed no words. You cut the frills, you cut the fuss. That’s what the Keeper and its sachet is all about.

The best part of all? Simplicity is stress-less.

I’ll be tranquil and waiting to take my cup out of its purse next month.



Carrie is an environmental educator, anthropologist, and translator. She took her passions for ecological, health, and women’s rights advocacy from the offices of Washington, D.C. to the streets of South America. Now in Colombia, she is slowly opening women’s eyes to the wonders of “la copita de luna” (Moon Cup) and Keepers.


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One Response to Keeping it Simple: A Packaging-Free Product for the Planet
  1. […] packaged in a plain cloth pouch […]


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