Our bathroom cabinet is almost as green as it can be, between the recycled TP and natural fiber washcloths, chemical-free cleaners, and all-natural shampoo. There's one thing, though, that could be even greener. Last year, when this women's-only topic came up, there was an overwhelming response advocating the use of one very green product...
An overwhelming number of comments on the post I wrote about switching to unbleached organic cotton tampons instead supported something else: the menstrual cup. (For a general explanation, head to Wikipedia.)
Though I'd read all the comments and been mostly persuaded last year, I was a bit nervous about switching and hesitated; in the meantime, I forgot all about this option, honestly, until seeing DivaCups at our local food co-op in the toiletries aisle, and then again at another natural foods store in town. Not to mention, we brought up the topic again on Re-Nest just last week!
Needless to say, I've been doing more research and it adds up: the amount of money spent (and waste created, regardless of whether or not it's organic) buying and using tampons or pads each month instead of an alternative like the menstrual cup or reusable pads makes a significant difference.
We're talking $150 or $200 annually, especially when you factor in the extra cost of buying green feminine products. Consider this: the menstrual cups made from latex, silicone, or TPE are made to last for half a decade or more. At 12 cycles a year, the math is a no-brainer.
Then there were all the helpful tips from readers' comments; here are a few highlights from women who have used them:
• More comfort (There's less drying because the cups don't absorb)
• They can be used at night
• Getting used to wearing them is like learning to wear contacts
• They're an option with more freedom than a pad
• No health risks have been found (Ever been worried about toxic shock syndrome? Not with these...)
• They produce NO trash
I don't know about you, but those factors alone make me want to swap out my organic unbleached tampons for something even more eco-friendly. Not to mention...they sound a bit more comfortable (see point number one).
Anyone else convinced?
Here are a few of the manufacturers (note that not all are available in the States):
The Keeper and Mooncup (US)
Instead Softcups (US)
Lunette (outside US)
(Image: Flickr member Linda N. licensed under Creative Commons.)