Monday Monthly Mission #4

July 6th, 2009 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


Sorry mens, but this one’s for my girlies. Not that you can’t play too! Every guy has women in his life, be it a mother, sister, partner, daughter, or friend. Why not politely pass this info along?

Let’s start with some troubling statistics. An average female uses (and throws away) 12,000 tampons or pads throughout her lifetime. That’s over 250 pounds worth of biohazard waste. Over 12 billion tampons are making their way into North American landfills each year. Or, you know, not making their way. For example, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected on American beaches from 1998-99.

And that’s just the waste! I won’t even get into the carcinogens contained in tampons or the noxious production of the polyethylene plastics used in pads.

Ladies, it’s time to take action! We have choices here, real options that aren’t harmful to us or our environment. There’s quite a variety of cotton/cloth washable pads, as well as safe reusable ‘menstrual cups’. For more info on a wide selection of products, check out the Lunapads website, or find cloth pads on Etsy, or give the DivaCup a shot. Or, why not try making your own cloth pads?

If you’ve already traded your disposables for an alternative, what do you use and how does it work for you?

To my other fellow females, do you choose to accept this Mission?


  • Kirstin

    I ditched the disposable junk early last year, both because of the health benefits, and the waste issue.
    I found a great lady on who sent me a full set of eight pads, six regular, one light, and one heavy. I picked the cute pattern on the cloth, and also got a soaking container (covered in a matching cloth bag for discreet-ness) and wet-bag for being out and about.
    Best $40 I ever spent.
    They are really easy to clean(rise immediately after use, soak with tsp. of baking soda in container, then toss in with loads of clothes in washing machine!) and I feel good about myself because I’m doing something good for my body, and its a better situation for the planet we all live on.
    I love that you used this as your monthly mission, and I really encourage all the ladies out there to at least check it out as an option. It helped me be more comfortable with my body too, and feel connected to all those generations of amazing ladies that came before us -they didn’t use bleached plastic-wrapped options!…I’m also turning my sister on to the idea right now!

  • sarah

    I have been using the Diva Cup for a long time and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. It may sound weird (no weirder than toxic tampons) and there is definitely a learning curve that will require patience and caution for a while, but it is totally worth it.

  • Mrs. Money

    YAY!! I love this!! I just tried out a Keeper menstrual cup and I love it. I am giving one away on my blog now if you’d like to enter.

    I’ve also made my own cloth pads!

  • Marissa

    Had to give a recommendation for New Moon Pads ( They’re great, and Renee, the owner, is a total sweetheart.

    Excellent choice for a Monday Mission!!

  • Erin

    I love my Diva Cup too. I was very apprehensive at first, but now I’ll never go back. I have a few cloth pantyliners for super light days, and it makes me wonder how I could ever wear that irritating plastic next to my most tender bits.

  • Meghan


    I use a ladycup and cloth pads! I love, love, love my ladycup. I have it in both sizes. I tried a Keeper first, and like it, but the ladycup just fits seems to fit me better. I tend to use cloth pads as a backup. I don’t find that I need it except at night, but I’m a little paranoid, so I’ll keep ‘em.

    There are tons of different menstrual cup options too, so it’s good to check out different options and sizes. Diva is certainly the most popular brand in the US (and one of only two brands you can buy without using the internets) but there are numerous other cup companies out there. This post on a livejournal community has comparisons of all of the available cups complete with full measurement information. Woo!

  • Sue

    I made the switch early last year too. I couldn’t stand the wasted and the issues surrounding the disposable versions. My absolute favorites have been from –

    They have been fabulous. No leaks and they are so much more comfortable than the disposables. Now, I can’t even understand how anyone can stand them.

  • akeeyu

    I made the switch after the girls had been in cloth diapers for a year. I figured that since everyone swore that cloth was more comfortable for *them*, why not me, too?

    For the record, yes, it is more comfortable. Leaps and bounds and miles more comfortable.

    When I started using the DivaCup (I’m a belt AND suspenders kind of girl) I said “That’s it, my crotch has now gone Full Hippie.”

  • Ginger Baker

    DIva Cup, how I lurves it! My sister got me one for Xmas (as she knew I wanted one, and got it on sale!) and I have been pleased as punch ever since. My sister prefers cloth pads (which I have used upon occasion and do like, just prefer the DC for my general activities) and has a whole collection of various prints – and in doing her part to demystify the whole process, will ask my kids (she’s the daytime caregiver) their opinion of which pad she should use that day LOL!

  • Sayward

    You guys are awesome! Never cease to impress me. =)

    Thanks for all the input guys, and the willingness to share your stories. I’m sure our other readers can learn so much from all this information and experience. I can’t wait to share my own!

    Thanks guys!

  • Valerie

    I have been meaning to try the diva cup. I know they are available at whole foods, but I have been waiting for my whole foods shopping list to get bigger so that I am not driving 5 miles out of my way for 1 item. I’ll try to get one by the end of the month and try it out and give you a report on my thoughts.

  • sarah has them as well in both sizes.

  • Diane

    I switched my birth control method to a Mirena IUD two years ago and have not had to use tampons/pads since because I no longer get my period with it (completely safe and happens to most). It is more expensive than other methods of contraception up front but over time (you can keep it for 5 yrs) it ends up being cheaper…

  • Charley

    I’m on the pill for various health reasons and I only have a few periods a year now. When I do my flow isn’t heavy enough to use a Diva or any of those contraptions but I know people who do with great success. I tend to use sanitary pads by Natracare which I first started using quite a few years ago after a gynecologist recommended switching to organic to ease recurrent yeast infections and irritation. It all went away almost immediately which shows how bad normal sanitary protection is. I’ve been trying to get my mother to switch my sisters usual brand and I sent her this the other day actually..

    I keep meaning to get some Lunpads or washable ones, now I’m living with electricity and water for the time being there is no excuse.

  • Jenny B.

    I have been checking out the diva cup, standing in front of it at our local health food store, lazy acres, for years now….contemplating… this is perfect an extra push to do what I have been wanting to do for so long…yet somehow scared from a teenage experience of red on white… cycle 7 days away…diva cup here I come! Thanks Say…This is a great one.

  • Devi

    Are you serious? You expect people to wash their own blood out of a bloody cloth?

  • Samantha

    Devi, it’s way more common than you think! And I’d much rather it be my own than someone else’s!

  • Sayward

    Thanks again everyone for all the comments and tips. I’m thrilled at the popularity of this topic! You guys are so great!

    @ Devi – Yessssss! haHA!

    Keep being awesome guys!

  • sarah

    @Jenny B
    You will NOT regret it. Just backup so you don’t have to worry about it, because there is some trial and error at first.

    Your reaction is awesome but wow… Try bringing up this subject with the hubby. HA – now THAT’S funny. I have to admit I had the same thought…still kinda do. I am trying it for DivaCup backup so that’s kind of different. I would be a little weirded out by going JUST cloth… emm.. yeah.

    Thanks for the recommendation for New Moon. I’ve done some research and decided on her site for my “cloth test”. Natracare IS getting expensive.

  • Mari

    My copper IUD went on safari and had to come out, and I’ll spare you the first post-IUD removal period (PIRP) story, but suffice to say, it was a blood bath. I was so frustrated having worn the hugest conventional pads possible for a year (copper IUD will increase your flow 50-75%), that I decided something had to give. While I was researching if other ladies had experienced such a dramatic PIRP, I came across mention of the Diva Cup on BUST. From there I found their website, checked if I could get them in the Netherlands, and went right out and bought one. I haven’t looked back. I do still tend to have a heavy period, so I did end up purchasing the long pantyliners from Lunapads, but I love them too. My period is no longer the hassle it used to be, and for this I’m eternally grateful!

  • Sayward

    @ Mari – Eek, that’s too bad you had such a poor experience with the copper IUD. Mine almost eliminated my periods, and then when it was time to come out it was easy – just a sneeze and a tug. =) Of course al bodies are different, and I was prone to lighter periods anyway.

    That’s great that you’re using a cup and cotton pads already. My favorite thing about this mission has been seeing how many women have found these alternatives on their own. So wonderful! Let’s change the industry standard!!!

  • Nina

    Revisiting thanks to the mission recap: I use a DivaCup and love it. They have a life expectancy of 10+ years and I’m hoping to use mine for that long. I feel like some people get really excited about menstrual cups and buy tons of different ones which almost defeats the purpose a little. I only need one so one I’ll have. It took about a month or so to get used to and figure out how to make it seal correctly but now that I’ve got it down pat I can’t imagine going back to tampons. I also use cloth pads on heavy days, but generally the Diva holds enough for even my heaviest days.

  • amber

    this is a MMM i missed! i am stoked, Say, that you referenced it again.

    i have been strongly considering switching to reusables, but am scared because i read that using the cups is contraindicated when a woman has an IUD in place, which i do. can anyone speak to this?

  • Sayward

    @ Nina – I’m actually looking forward to getting by period again after this pregnancy, so that I can FINALLY try a cup. Is that weird? haha. I just hear such great things!

    @ amber – I have heard the same thing, though I have read reports from IUD girls who have had great success with the cup. I think it’s something you should talk about with your OBGYN, do some research, and decide for yourself whether it’s something you want to do (I suspect it’s the kind of thing they caution against but perhaps it’s not really that bad – but like I said I don’t know for sure)

    If you find anything out I’d love to know!

  • Laura

    Hi Kristin,

    Who was this lady?? I can’t seem to find her on etsy and I’d love to use this little system in conjunction with my Moon Cup (aka lunar chalice lol). Thanks so much!