I finally tried out a product that is going to save me a lot of money. The Diva Cup. There are other, similar cups on the market and I can't plug one over another (get it? plug? Alright, I'll stop.) because I bought the first one to show up on a steals site. It came with a little cotton storage bag and the above lapel pin.
A Diva Cup is a flexible, silicone cup that replaces pads or tampons. While menstrual cups have been around for generations, this style has been on the market only since the 90's. The Diva and its competitors come in two sizes, the larger for women over thirty and/or those who have had babies. There are detailed directions at the site and on the package for how to use it, so I will skip all that.
Money! They cost between $21-$33 and can last a year. A package of twenty Seventh Generation non-applicator tampons costs about $5.19, times twelve months is $62.28. The cups can be worn during minimal-flow days, eliminating the need for panty liners. I am seeing some serious cost savings here.
Less Waste. One little washable cup replaces a year's worth of tampons or pads. Pads often have their weight in additional wrappers, none of which are recyclable. Most tampons have extra packaging and applicators to dispose of. The used products in a little wastebasket can get stinky before trash day and flushing the "flushable" little O.B. types can get you in really expensive trouble with your plumber because of the strings. No more!
No Extra Laundry. I made my own mamma cloths for a few months. Since we are already washing diapers, it was no big deal to add to the wet bag. Once we are done with diapers, I think I will be content with not having bio-hazard laundry for a while. (I know that family cloths are the next step in green frugality, but we aren't quite there yet.)
Confidence. Following the directions, you fold the cup up before inserting it. It opens up, making a good seal. I was surprised that I used it right the first time and had no accidents, not even at night.
Can be left in for 12 hours or changed more frequently. For safety, tampons are not supposed to be left in long enough to get a good night's sleep. With a silicone cup, you can leave it in all night or all day. You can take it out after a short time as well.
No chemicals. Feminine hygiene products are treated with all sorts of chemicals, from bleach to perfumes. While some brands offer unbleached products, having a hypo-allergenic cup means not having to hunt those brands down.
Public Restrooms. It would be hard to dump, wash, and reinsert if you did not have private access to a sink. The directions suggest ways to handle public restrooms but I am funny about that sort of thing. The Lady MacBeth in me would obsess for the next few hours about it. If you work somewhere with long shifts and a multi-stall bathroom, you might not be comfortable with your cup at work.
(I'm out of cons.)
My only regret is that I did not buy my first one years ago. I even used to live in the city where Diva International is based, Kitchener Ontario, but never heard of them at the time. I am a money-saving convert now.
I shared this post with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and Small Footprint Friday.