Today we’re talking about periods. Wait – don’t go! We can’t be our eco-fiercest selves if we don’t talk about ALL of the ways to go green. Periods included. We are quick to commiserate with each other in private conversations but not usually in a public forum. Let’s become menstrual activists – periods don’t have to become dinner conversation, but we don’t have to be ashamed either. That’s the shit keeping girls around the world from getting an education and being treated as equals. So don’t hide behind the bathroom door running water so your boyfriend or husband doesn’t hear the pad wrapper. When he yells through the door that “it sounds like you’re unwrapping a present in there”, yell back “yeah, it’s your you’re not a father’s day present” and be proud of being a woman.
Are you with me now? Great – let’s chat. When it comes to greening your period, there are actually a lot of options. It just depends how well you want to get to know your own body. The Diva Cup has been around since before Diva Ø was a diva. I tried this item in my teens, not because I was green, but because it promised to be more convenient and less time-consuming than traditional tampons and pads.
The Diva Cup worked really well. Stick it in and fuggedaboutit. No worrying about leaks or overflow or changing or anything. So why did I stop using it? In a word: removal. I’m not going to get too graphic, but any item with “cup” in the name means it gets filled…and needs to get emptied. That was a bit much for my 16 year old mind. And eyes. And hands.
Now that I am older and wiser, it may be time to reconsider. The average woman will dispose of 16,800 pads and/or tampons in her lifetime. That’s a lot of rotten eggs in the trash. We definitely need to start thinking about how to make this monthly “I’m not pregnant!” party more eco-friendly. So what will it be – The Ruby Cup, The Moon Cup, or old faithful with a name near and dear to my heart? Wait! Don’t answer yet – there are even more options! There’s the granola route of biodegradable pads and tampons from Natracare or you can go down the Martha Stewart rabbit hole with DIY pads. If you’re feeling fabulous, then Dear Kate is feeling you. Dear Kates are revolutionary panties that eliminate the need for panty liners and pads. (And they’re cute!)
So many choices…I wish I could say “so few periods to try them all”, but we all know there’s too many of those suckers! Well, you lucky ladies, here’s a handy guide to help you choose:
Pros: Reusable. Lasts 10 years. For every purchase, a Ruby Cup is donated to a girl in Kenya so she can attend school during her period. Now that is girl power!
Cons: Costs $30-$40*. Made in and distributed from Germany, so add more for the financial and environmental cost of shipping. Self-removal and product cleaning.
Pros: Reusable. Lasts for years. Free delivery in the USA (the product is called MCUK here).
Cons: Costs $30*. Made in and distributed from England, so add more for the environmental cost of shipping. Self-removal and product cleaning.
Pros: Reusable. Lasts for years. Sold in stores in the United States, so no shipping. Fabulous name!
Cons: Costs $30*. Self-removal and product cleaning.
* Actually, $30-$40 is very reasonable for something you only need to buy one of for 10 years. I only list that as a con here because $30-$40 is pretty steep if you just want to try it out and aren’t sure you will use it regularly.
Pros: Made from organic cotton. Biodegradable. Cheaper than Always and Tampax. Sold in stores in the United States.
Cons: Even though they are biodegradable, they are still thrown away with the frequency of regular pads and tampons.
Do It Yourself
Pros: I don’t know…you save money? Have a sense of accomplishment? (Can you tell I’m not fond of this one?)
Cons: You have to carry a “wet bag” for when you have to change them. You have to wash them (and we all know how easily blood comes out of fabric). You have to redefine your identity as the chick who makes her own pads.
Pros: Stylish and cute. Not bulky. Various styles – even thongs! Decreases waste for a few days out of the month – just throw ‘em in the laundry.
Cons: Does not completely replace pads or tampons. $30 a piece and they are just like underwear so you need multiple pairs. Made of nylon, lycra and micro-polyester – not exactly natural. You have to buy them online and have them shipped (perhaps this will change as they get more popular).
So gals – which of these are you stoked to try? Have you already tried any of these items? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As for me, I’ve got my eye on a pair of pink and black Dear Kate bikini cuts and the coral lace thongs.