Whether you consider your "aunt flo" a blessing or a curse, I'm certain that we would all agree that the current practice of using disposable feminine hygiene products creates a lot of waste. While I'm not suggesting that you run off to your moon hut for 4-7 days every month (but doesn't that sound kind of nice?), or do something totally au naturel, like use moss, I would like to share with you my personal, positive experience of using two, re-usable, eco friendly products - The Diva Cup and LunaPads. My hope, is that by sharing my experience with you, I can de-mystify the idea of reliable, green feminine products.
For MANY years, I used conventional, disposable period products - namely - tampons and pads. I'm sure we ladies could go back and forth sharing horrifying and hilarious stories about our early experiences - the worries, the accidents, and the the emergencies - it is truly something that unites us as women under the umbrella of shared experience.
When I was in my early 20's, I had reached a point where I felt increasingly uncomfortable with the products I was using. Having my period had become such a chore and I was open to exploring alternate products. My physical discomfort was not the only factor that inspired me to search out alternatives but was matched by my desire to create less waste. Initially, I spoke to all of my girlfriends to find out what they used, what had worked for them and what hadn't, and after these conversations, I though I might look into the Diva Cup.
At first, I was just as skeptical as you might be feeling now. Hey, I get it, when something is new, unknown, it's a little scary. So here's the 4-1-1.....
The Diva Cup is a reusable menstrual cup, made of silicon, that lasts 2-3 years. It holds up to 1 fluid ounce of liquid (twice as much as a heavy flow tampon) and is easily cleaned with soapy water. If you're used to using tampons without an applicator, your transition will be even easier than mine was! Rather than absorbing your flow, like a tampon would, the Diva Cup collects it, meaning you don't have to deal with the dryness and scratchiness of inserting, essentially, dried cotton up into your business. Another bonus - you don't have to worry about TSS anymore! hurrah!
Initially, it feels like a real investment - after all the Diva Cup is about is about $35! But do the math - Even if you only use it for 2 years (mine have lasted longer, more like 3 years), that equals about $1.45 per month based on a 2 year product lifetime or 97 cents a month based on a 3 year product lifetime. Not only does the Diva Cup make economic sense, it makes sense from an environmental perspective. It's estimated that in her lifetime a woman will create 250-300 pounds of trash by using disposable period products. The Diva Cup is easy to use, and easy to clean, and truthfully, it began a process for me, of building knowledge and reverence towards my personal moon cycle.
Depending on your preferences, I also encourage you to look into LunaPads: washable, reusable cotton pads. I sometimes use these as a "safety" on long days or overnight, but it all depends on how you flow. This Vancouver based company often offers Pad Kits on sale and has an incredible program they run called One4her. Much in the way that shoe retailer Tom's gives a pair of shoes to a child in need every time someone purchases their shoes here, One4Her's Buy One Give One program provides pads and cups for girls in need in Africa and South East Asia primarily and jobs to local women.
Luna Pads also feel like an investment at first, but the pay-off is worth it. They have an estimated product life of about 5 years and come in so many fun patterns and colors. So if you were going to get a starter kit, priced at $88, that would average $1.70 a month.
So if you're still reading (awesome!), thank you! I hope you're inspired to try something new, or do more research and really consider your choices. SO often, we forget that we have choices to make in our lives. It's so much easier to just stick to the status quo and leave things unconsidered. But consider this, once I changed the products I was using to "surf the crimson wave", what had felt like a monthly curse, turned into a monthly celebration! And of course, I love knowing that I have cut out yet another source of waste from my life.
If you have any other questions for me about either of these products, feel free to shoot me a PM on Facebook or email through the site, and we can discuss further in private - I realize what a sensitive and personal issue this is but I also know how important it is to speak up and share our experiences as women.
Namaste and have a green day!