This post is mostly for the ladies/femmes, but if you boys want to know more stick around. So, periods are a topic I have been asked to write about for the past couple of years but always balked at. Mostly because I just was a little turned off from the zero waste menstruation products that were on the market. Period panties, diva cups, and lunapads oh my! It was just so much to take in. This post is going to be a frank look at what works, what doesn’t, and what to expect. Can you really have a greener period?
Last year I finally took the plunge and bought my very first product, the Diva Cup. This menstrual cup is sort of the gold standard of cups. They come in three sizes- 0 (for those under 18 years old), 1 (for those who haven’t conceived) and 2 (ones for those who have had children). I chose the 1 for obvious reasons.
These silicone cups are quite flexible, have a small pull tab at the bottom for removal and measurement lines on the sides.
So what did I think of the cup… Well, I’ll tell you honestly: it’s great and kind of a pain all at the same time. Why is it great? Well like the old TV infomercials used to say “You set it and forget it!”. For real. The cup can stay in for about 12 hours, but I’ve only pushed it to 8.
The other thing I love about it is that once you get it in position it’s comfortable and you don’t even know it’s in there. Also, it doesn’t matter if it’s a heavy or a light day the cup does it all without any painful removal.
The upside, is once you have mastered inserting the diva cup, it is really so much better than tampons or pads. Not only are you not creating waste, but you’re not subjecting your body to an assortment of chemicals which are found in those other products. Chemicals found in tampons commonly are dioxins, fragrance, aluminum, and drying alcohols. All of which you don’t want absorbed into the body.
Alright, the down side is that changing your routine is hard and this calls for a change. You need to spend some time learning how to insert the diva cup which requires a fair bit of silicone origami and toilet yoga. Once you get it though, it’s like riding a bike and I haven’t had a problem in months. Another thing is that it needs to be emptied, which is difficult in public bathrooms, homes which are not your own, and, heaven forbid while camping. Trying to not drop it in the toilet is literally my biggest hurdle.
The other thing is that it needs to be appropriately sanitized between uses- that means at night and in between periods. They make a special wash for the cups which is safe for the silicone, but personally I wash it with plain water and then boil it for 5 minutes to really clean it.
There are many different companies who make different kinds of cups now as well which will be suited to different body types. So it’s best to read reviews about specific cups if you think you may need one.
The cost is fairly reasonable for something that you can use for years. Diva Cups are $37.00 and their competitors range from $25.00 to $40.00.
But you can’t wear a cup all the time since you are still at risk of toxic shock syndrome still, like with tampons. So what do you do then?
Well I purchased my very first Lunapad when I bought the Diva Cup, and it’s still going strong. Made in Vancouver, this company designs pretty good reusable pads in varying levels of absorbance and lengths. There are now hundreds of companies who make these products now, so there isn’t any shortage to choose from. The anatomy of the pads is fairly standard- an absorbent section with two wings which clasp together with a snap.
Again, the upside is that you’re not creating waste and they are fairly comfortable. I personally don’t wear them during the day, just at night because they are a bit bulkier than your standard disposable maxi pad. They do produce various sizes as well ranging from pantyliner to regular to maxi, so they are accommodating for most needs. I think I will be adding a few pantyliner’s to my roster this year.
Additionally, like your cup, there is a certain amount of maintenance. They need to be wash daily/nightly and have a small arsenal of them on hand for this reason. I wash mine by themselves, in the washing machine on hot/warm and then hang to dry. The Luna Pads I have are black, so there isn’t any unpleasant staining though I have seen some companies who only use natural cotton for theirs.
So, I also started a little experiment for you all. I ordered 8 Bamboo Reusable Pads from Wellwear on Amazon and were EXTREMELY affordable. 8 pads for the price of just one Lunapad… These were made in China, so not local whatsoever, but they are said to be made with organic bamboo liners, charcoal for odor neutralization, a waterproof membrane, and colorful exterior patterns. I will test them out, rate their usefulness, and durability and write an update for you all. I haven’t had a chance to use them yet, so stay tuned for this in the future!
Have some thoughts you want to share with the group about your zero waste period routine? Leave a comment below! We would love to hear from you. Also,want to read more about green and sustainable products I have tried? Click here for my Top Product Reviews.
Thanks again everyone,