In 2018 alone, people in the U.S. bought 5.8 billion tampons.
Over the course of a lifetime, a woman will use between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons, the vast majority of which will wind up in landfills.
Tampons flushed down the toilet can end up in the ocean when sewer systems fail.
“We’re still selling shame along with the menstrual products,” Elizabeth A Kissling, author and gender studies expert— “How tampons and pads became so unsustainable,” National Geographic
When a friend suggested this blog topic, I laughed. Even though I’ve been a professional writer for over a dozen years, I’ve rarely been the subject of my own writing. And now you want me to write about my period? Ha!
But then I found myself at Walgreens. I headed down the “feminine care” aisle (can we come up with a better name for this, please?). Rows and rows of shelves were filled with disposable pads and tampons. Then, like a lone lily pad in a sea of pink and turquoise plastic, I saw it: the Diva Cup.
It comes in three sizes, and they make it very easy to know what size to get. (I’ve given birth, twice. Enough said.) For around $40, it seemed a little pricey, but when I did the (very rough, I was a journalism major for a reason) math, it just about evens out to a year’s worth of my usual Playtex Sport tampons. Which I just ran out of. So, I guess we’re doing this!
At age 35, with a minor in women’s studies to boot, why have I never considered this before? I could say it’s because I’m a creature of habit and just doing what I’ve always done. But it’s a lot more than that, isn’t it. As this awesome National Geographic article explains better than I can, we have been taught for centuries that periods are dirty, shameful and not to be discussed. Just take care of it, don’t talk about it, and no one needs to be the wiser.
While I’m not about to start conversations about my period on the bus, making this topic part of the climate conversation is something we can and should do. I will do my part by no longer buying tampons and disposable pads, starting now. And I will let you know how I like the Diva Cup, whether you want to know or not!
What reusable period products do you recommend? If you haven’t tried them yet either, why not? Let me know in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org.