Every single month Canadian women have to trek out to the store and buy tampons and/or pads. To add insult to injury during their menstruating years women also have to shell out federal tax for their feminine hygiene products.
Many argue that menstrual products should not be subject to a tax, since they are essential goods, not luxury items. Over the past decade there have been several attempts to pass a private member's bill on the subject.
But, women don’t have the luxury of waiting for things to change – when that time of the month comes Canadian females must pay for the essential goods, plus tax. Now, an increasing number of women are opting for alternatives to the dominant disposable tampons and pads found in mainstream stores across Canada.
“Twenty years ago when (Lunapads) first started it was seen as pretty out there,” admits Christa Trueman of Vancouver-based Lunapads in a phone interview with Yahoo Canada News. “Slowly but surely that’s changing.”
Lunapads started in 1993 and its most popular product is The DivaCup. While most of their business is online, the reusable products are starting to pop up in more mainstream places, like the London Drugs chain in Western Canada.
An alternative to traditional tampons The DivaCup is a reusable, non-absorbent menstrual cup made of silicone that can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time. Currently the cup, including a storage pouch and use instructions, is available on Lunapads.com for $31.99. In comparison, a box of 40 Tampax Compax tampons are at Shoppers Drug Mart is $8.99.
The second most popular product are the Lunapads. The washable cloth pads feature a removable insert, so women can wear one pad for the entire day. The Heavy Flow Starter Kit is currently on sale for $79.14 on Lunapads.com. Meanwhile a box of Always Infinity Pads (with between 26-36 pads depending on the type) is on sale at Shoppers for $8.99.
While the initial costs for DivaCups or Lunapads are higher than disposable options over time you could save money, or at the very least break even, says Trueman.
The Vancouverite uses both the reusable cups and pads. Trueman says she bought a set of Lunapads over a decade ago and says they are still in useable condition. At first she was intimidated to try the reusable options, but now has figured out what works for her.
While it’s a bigger investment upfront, the costs are likely fairly similar in the long run, Trueman says. For many women the decision to forgo a disposable option has less to do with cost and more to do with health and environmental concerns.
For the foreseeable future whether women opt for The DivaCup or Tampax tampons they will have to pay the sticker price … plus taxes, of course.