The Big Reveal
Welcome to the new period aisle, where products are comfortable & effective, shame is shown the door, and sustainability is non-negotiable.Read more
Welcome to the new period aisle, where products are comfortable & effective, shame is shown the door, and sustainability is non-negotiable.Read more
After 27 years in business, we wanted to build something new, for everyone who menstruates.
A new period aisle, where the products are not only effective, but actually comfortable. Where shame is shown the door, and sustainability is non-negotiable.
Every material in our products has been carefully sourced to provide you with outstanding performance while still taking good care of our planet.
Our line of underwear has been redesigned to create a product that blends sustainability with advanced fabric technology. Our new undies are softer, fit better and absorb more.
We've expanded our size range to 5X in two of our styles to start, with a complete size expansion in all underwear styles to be completed later this year. We’ve worked hard with a leading plus-size fit expert to ensure that our undies fit great the first time and we’re so excited to bring them to market.
We've updated our pads and liners with some fun, gender-neutral prints, but have kept the same high-performance, super absorbent materials, and thoughtful construction - previously known as Performa pads.
We're introducing a medical grade silicone menstrual cup to round out our product range, making us a one-stop period shop. Watch out for our cup launch later this month!
💪 Our values - Our commitment to transparency, sustainability and product safety.
👋 Our team - It's still us!
💯 Our attitude - We’re still 100% committed to kicking the patriarchy out of your period and making products for all bodies.
We decided to make this change because we knew, despite our success with Lunapads, that we could build something even bigger and better if we were able to make brave decisions. We’re so thrilled to invite you on this journey with us!
What prompted these women to change their long-held views on abortion?Read more
I was raised in a very liberal suburb of DC where progressive ideals were a given. So, for me, identifying as pro-choice just came with the territory—I never had to wrestle with or challenge my beliefs. But when I got older and started meeting people with different experiences and upbringings from my own, I was surprised (perhaps foolishly) to learn that we aren’t always born with the beliefs we end up having. What we believe can change and evolve—it’s not fully baked the second we enter the world.
These days, we’re even more divided based on what we believe or what we’re taught in our childhoods—and proposed new laws are feeling increasingly out of touch to large segments of the population. I have a hunch (call it “faith” if that’s your thing) that once we start digging into perspectives that are different from our own, we’ll have much more compassion, understanding, and we’ll be better equipped to break down the boundaries.
To help start that conversation, I spoke with five women who’ve changed their views on abortion over time to learn what made them question those long-held beliefs. Most of the women I talked to credit their past ideologies to the religions they were raised in—something that has also played out in abortion policy. Because of that, when it comes to abortion, religion and politics are often linked. (It’s worth noting that while the women I interviewed were all raised in Christian denominations, not all sects of Christianity oppose abortion, and there are other religions that have mixed or negative views on abortion.)
For Angie, being raised in the Pentecostal church meant that the pro-life mentality was all around her from a young age. “I knew my church’s thoughts about abortion far before I ever fully understood what abortion was or the reasons somebody may have them,” she says. Her family reinforced those ideas at home. “My grandma gave me pro-life pins for my jacket—little babies,” Angie tells me. She also had bumper stickers on her truck, including one that said “Abortion is murder.” That bumper stickers still makes her cringe today.
Natalye, similarly, was taught by her church that life starts at conception, and that abortion is murder. Growing up in the “Bible Belt of California,” she explains that the pro-life stance wasn’t really up for debate. “It wasn’t ever just: ‘This is part of what we believe.’ [It was] straight-up indoctrination,” she says. At 10, she went to a pro-life event where a speaker claimed their mother had attempted to abort them, but the procedure didn’t work. “Maybe this person’s story was important,” she tells me, “But did a child really need to hear about how another person’s parent tried to ‘burn them alive’?” Yet, according to Natalye, these stories were a normal part of her childhood, and the language and imagery was deliberately vivid and misleading. “But since it was what everyone I knew seemed to think, I never questioned this view,” she says.
A Roman Catholic primary school curriculum first introduced Jayne to anti-abortion rhetoric. “The teachers in health class framed [abortion] as killing a baby. They never used any terms like ‘fetus’ or anything else—they specifically used the word ‘baby,’” she says. Since that’s how Jayne was taught to view abortions, she found them difficult to understand. “I honestly couldn’t imagine how anybody could kill babies like that. How anybody could murder a life inside them,” she explains. Jayne was so entrenched in the ideology that she even went on school-organized trips to Washington, DC, for the March for Life, a pro-life rally. “By then, I was in the thick of it—I was really drinking the Koolaid,” she says.
Krista was raised politically conservative and religiously Catholic—both aspects of her identity informed her views. Like Jayne, Krista’s education about abortion was mostly in a religious context: “The facts were skewed and the lesson came with a lot of very graphic photographs that focused on the blood and the horror of abortion, rather than the truth,” she says. Since Krista wasn’t getting this information in a health or science class, “The emphasis was on abortion as a sin,” she explains. If you had an abortion, you were murdering your baby and you were going to hell. “As a young adult, this scared me and made me pro-life,” Krista says.
For Jennifer*, though, it’s difficult to attribute her formerly pro-life ideology to one source or one memory. But she understands a big part of it: “I know that my primary draw to being pro-life was thinking that it wasn’t the baby’s fault—they existed and they didn’t deserve to die,” she explains. She became the vice president of the pro-life club at her Catholic university and brought speakers from “Feminists for Life” to her campus. Another huge influence for Jennifer was her “naivete and lack of experience.” “I was never in the position to be pregnant before college,” she explains, “So in my mind, I just thought, ‘Why can’t everyone just abstain?’” She believes that things may have been different if her parents had talked more to her about sex, pregnancy, and “the world outside my bubble.”
All five women started seeing a shift in their ideologies once they left the towns they grew up in or entered spaces with new ideas and perspectives. For Angie, teaching at a juvenile detention center in her twenties had a huge impact. “I saw girls come in who were 14 years old, pregnant, and addicted to meth. Many of them were pregnant due to statutory rape or sex work,” she says. “I began questioning my beliefs as I thought about what it would mean, not only for the babies of these girls, but also for the girls themselves to experience these pregnancies and have children.” She saw her views at the time as pretty middle of the road, but once she fell away from the church and got involved in feminist, queer, sex-positive, and body-positive communities, she became “staunchly pro-choice.” “I began to understand the nuances and gray areas. More than anything, I began to believe in the autonomy of each person with their body,” she explains.
In high school, Natalye moved from her hometown to the more progressive Bay Area. Immersing herself in punk-rock music and her environment ushered her into a new POV—one that she called “pro-life for myself, pro-choice for everyone else.” She isn’t sure why she didn’t fully embrace the label of “pro-choice,” but she thinks it might have to do with her upbringing and the stigma around the term. But time changed that, as well as learning more about reproductive science and the role that poverty and race can play. “Over the years that followed, and as I made my way into adulthood, I gradually became more comfortable in my beliefs. Now I would say I’m firmly and loudly pro-choice,” she says.
Though Jayne first started questioning her own beliefs when she watched an allegorical episode of “Seinfeld” about abortion around age 10, it wasn’t until her first semester at college that she truly felt a change. She recognized that the pro-life approach on her campus (and from her youth) didn’t actually celebrate life, and she understood the struggle behind making the decision about abortion after a friend of hers accidentally got pregnant. If Jayne could confront her former pro-life self, who was raised to fear God and grappling with accepting that she was gay, she tells me she’d say, “It’s okay to think differently. It’s okay to question things. It’s okay to form other opinions. I would’ve slapped her in the face and told her to wake up.”
Going off to college also made Krista discover new ways of thinking. “I was suddenly around people who had grown up differently and held better-educated worldviews,” she explains. “In the space of a year, I went from pro-life to pro-choice, began identifying as a feminist, and ended up registering to vote at 18 as a democrat.” One thing she realized with time was that “pro-choice” doesn’t necessarily mean pro-abortion. “It just means you believe in choice—as in the choice to give birth, put a child up for adoption, or yes, have an abortion,” she says. Knowing this helped her feel confident in her new identification.
Jennifer* started changing her ideology in college, too—but it was actually a “super pro-life” professor who pushed her away from her former stance. The shift began during her junior year of college, but it was solidified when she went to graduate school. “I realized things weren’t just black and white, and that people have different experiences. That’s a ‘no duh’ statement, but I really hadn’t considered that standpoint before then,” she says. Though she personally doesn’t think she’ll get an abortion, “I now believe it’s not at all my place to pass judgment or to tell people how to live their lives,” she tells me.
Each of these women’s trajectories is unique, but one thing is clear throughout—the more we know about other people’s experiences and struggles, the better we can understand where they’re coming from. With that understanding, there’s less judgment, less division, and hopefully less monitoring and dictating what others can and cannot do with their bodies. Don’t shy away from hard conversations with family members or childhood friends with whom you don’t see eye to eye—you both just might learn a few things about each other and be much better for it.
*This name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.
Sarah duRivage-Jacobs is a freelance reproductive health writer and editor who lives in New York City with her creamsicle cat, Jasper. She's obsessed with words (and puns) and doesn't believe in the concept of TMI. Find her at @sarahdurivagejacobs and www.sarahdurivagejacobs.com.
Maybe showing more accurate depictions of menstruation on TV would have a positive impact on society by normalizing periods?
Just a thought.Read more
When I turn on the TV for a little R&R to unwind after a long day, I’m greeted with so much I can relate to. Characters’ bodies are more representative of reality than ever before, there’s more racial diversity, and I can find shows that I connect with pretty easily. But even with all the progress the TV industry has made, one thing still stands out to me as incredibly bizarre—why is barely anyone getting their period?
Yes, periods have been featured more on TV lately, but they usually exist simply as a plot device. One of the biggest moments I can remember is when Emma Simpson, a main character on the teen drama “Degrassi,” gets her period for the first time while wearing a white skirt. Naturally, as the medium of television is wont to do, they dramatize it by having menstrual blood seep through her shorts—a personal childhood nightmare of mine. But the way it’s depicted feels over the top and unrealistic. While the bright-red spot on her crisp-white skirt probably wouldn’t happen quite that way in real life, the scene served the episode and allowed Emma to deliver this killer line: "Menstruation. It happens to about, oh, 50% of the population. Perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed about."
If I think back to other TV portrayals of getting your period, there’s more of the same. When you look at some of the biggest TV and movie moments in menstruation, the vast majority function only to move the plot forward in some way. Periods bring families together, their timing alerts the lead to a potential pregnancy, and they embarrass characters in front of their peers. Only one of the episodes listed, “Menzies” on “New Girl,” tries to capture what the experience is actually like. But even in that episode, Jess’ period was an obstacle to getting a job as a teacher—not simply a part of her life as a person who menstruates.
We spend an average of 3,000 days of our lifetimes menstruating, so why is its depiction on TV relegated to shock value or momentary setbacks? Lauren Rosewarne, the author behind “Periods in Pop Culture: Menstruation in Film and Television,” says that “we don’t tend to show any kind of bathroom event on screen and thus periods are no different.” I respectfully disagree. On more “daring” TV at least, we’ve seen characters peeing and showering without meaningfully moving the plot forward. (“Broad City,” another show that has featured menstruation storylines before, comes to mind.) What’s so different then about periods?
One reason, of course, could be that periods are still so taboo. We’re conditioned to feel awkward about talking about our periods and to conceal any evidence that we menstruate. If menstruation is so stigmatized in real life, it’s no surprise that it trickles (no pun intended) into other areas, like TV programming. Why would TV executives and writers risk lower ratings to more robustly share our experiences? I’m just spitballing here, but maybe showing more accurate depictions of menstruation on TV would have a positive impact on society by normalizing periods and showing young people that they’re a perfectly natural part of life.
Another reason could be that women account for only 31% of behind-the-scenes TV creatives. If the majority of creators, writers, and executives are cis men, then the normalization of menstruation may not be top of mind in TV production. Plus, writing accurately as a gender you aren’t isn’t easy.
When it comes to commercials on TV, accurate depictions of menstruation are also few and far between. Menstrual blood is famously colored blue in advertising to give a “sanitary,” “clean” effect to what’s seen as a dirty bodily fluid. In fact, when a UK brand showed red menstrual blood for the first time, it made headlines.
So how do we fix this? For one, more women, non-binary, and gender-noncomforming people need to be behind the scenes of TV shows. That’s the only way we can ensure that our stories will be told in the most accurate ways. More importantly, we need to do the work to destigmatize menstruation. We need to give everyone equal access to menstrual products, educate children around the globe about menstruation, and stifle our own impulses to hide our periods. Once we get closer to that future existence, we’ll be able to turn on our favorite TV shows and see our beloved characters realistically dealing with the very thing that takes up 3,000 days of our lives.
Sarah duRivage-Jacobs is a writer, editor, and copywriter living in New York City with her creamsicle cat, Jasper.
Look no further than this eco-friendly list of sustainable gifts for your loved ones—you’ll find there’s something for every person and every budget.Read more
Look no further than this eco-friendly list of sustainable gifts for your loved ones—you’ll find there’s something for every person and every budget.
A super-cute printed bow tie featuring tiny doggos
From Chihuahuas to Great Danes to Australian Cattle Dogs, these bow ties add a touch of whimsy to any outfit. Made by the Knotty Tie Co. in Denver, Colorado each tie is made to order and manufactured completely in-house from sustainable fabrics (even the fabric printing is done on-site). The company’s mission is to provide fair wages for its employees and to offer employment to newly settled refugees so that they can continue to practice their trade in the garment industry.
An eco-friendly candle for to suit any mood
At Mala the Brand you’ll find scents like Luna (a combination of bergamot, spice, and cedarwood) and Cereal (a nostalgic blend of citrus, berry, and lemon). Handcrafted in Vancouver, British Columbia these beautiful candles are made from renewable natural soy wax and phthalate-free fragrance and essential oils. The candle jars are 100% recyclable and if you live in the area you can return them to the studio for reuse—you’ll get a dollar off of your next candle purchase! Mala the Brand has partnered up with Tree Era which means for every candle sold, a tree is planted somewhere in North America.
To-Go Ware’s ethically-sourced bamboo, compact cutlery set contains a fork, a spoon, a knife, and set of chopsticks. The durable case, which is available in several different colours, is made from recycled plastic water bottles. These little sets make an ideal stocking-stuffer or Secret Santa gift for a coworker—you may even find yourself wanting to pick up a set or two for yourself.
An elegant pair of gold-filled climber earrings
Also available as single earrings and in silver, these gorgeous earrings are made by HART+STONE on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Jewelry-maker Emily Hartwell McPhee makes each piece by hand using recycled gold and silver, supplementing with ethically sourced metals when needed. In addition to earrings, she also makes exquisite rings, bracelets, and necklaces. When ordering, give yourself extra time as each piece of jewelry is handcrafted to order.
Advertised as a pencil case or makeup bag, these sweet little pouches can be used to store all kinds of objects—including Lunapads! The pouches come in a variety of patterns such as colourful robots, floral patterns, airplanes, and basic prints which means there’s an option for everyone on your gift list. Keep Leaf makes these 100% organic cotton pouches in-house and prides itself on being an ethical company with a focus on long-term employment, fair wages, and employee education.
This delicate piece of wearable art is hand-dyed and painted on 100% silk charmeuse that has been made in an environment that is Global Organic Textile Standard-certified. Made in Montreal by Noémiah, this one-woman label uses materials that engage local labour from beginning to end—including packaging, labels, and tags. If you’re a fan of this scarf, you can also purchase hand-painted dresses, handmade earrings and necklaces, trousers, and delightful little nudes with gold nipples for planting succulents and other small plants.
Do you have someone on your gift list who always feels tired? Give them the gift of relaxation with this cold pack Zen Eye Pillow from eco-friendly Canadian company BOHO & HOBO. These soothing pillows are filled with flax seed so they’ll mold directly onto the eye area. They’re also handmade locally in Kingston, Ontario and have 100% cotton coverlets in a variety of patterns that can easily be removed for washing.
The Great Menstrual Products Unavailability Crisis is real.Read more
TAKE ACTION TODAY! SIGN OUR PETITION AND ASK FOR FREE PERIOD PRODUCTS IN CANADIAN WORKPLACES!
On May 3, 2019, then-federal Labour Minister Patricia Hajdu announced her intention to amend the Canada Labour Code and add menstrual products to the list of items required in restrooms in federally regulated workplaces and buildings.
A national discussion about menstruation ensued. If you read the headlines, it sounded like Ottawa was throwing free boxes of tampons and pads to federal employees at taxpayers’ expense. Maxime Bernier went hysterical, sarcastically referencing The Great Menstrual Products Unavailability Crisis on Twitter. ‘Next they’ll expect toilet paper for free’, he thought to himself.
Actually, Mr. Bernier, restrooms already provide a host of supplies for free. There’s free toilet paper, free soap, free paper towels, even free urinals. Maxime doesn’t worry about going to the john and not finding what he needs.
The Great Menstrual Products Unavailability Crisis is real. Periods are unpredictable.
The Great Menstrual Products Unavailability Crisis is real. Periods are unpredictable. There’s no bladder to hold the blood. ’You mustn’t wear tampons ahead of time for fear of toxic shock syndrome. Tampons and pads don’t signal when they’re full. Accidents and leaks are common. Menstrual emergencies can’t be ignored or they only get worse.
Yet you simply do not see 25% of your friends, family and coworkers around you bleeding on any given day. They are discreet and do whatever necessary to manage the blood. They create makeshift pads from toilet paper; ask colleagues for a pad, tampon or cash; leave the workplace and run to the drugstore; or even go home or stay home to deal with their period privately.
Minister Hajdu understood how menstrual surprises and pervasive menstrual stigma in society can make it hard to be fully productive at work. When you have a period, regardless of whether you’re rich or poor, young or peri-menopausal, you need ready access to these essential items. This is why they should be freely available in washrooms, like soap and toilet paper.
All these rules clearly state the need for urinals. All these rules fail to mention menstrual products.
Most people don’t know that Canada’s restrooms are regulated by sets of rules: the federal and provincial occupational health and safety regulations, and the national and provincial building codes. All these rules clearly state the need for toilet paper, soap, wash water, and paper towels in every bathroom outside the home.
All these rules clearly state the need for urinals. All these rules fail to mention menstrual products.
The restrooms at work are equipped so your non-menstruating colleagues get all the free toiletries and special plumbing they need for extra speed and convenience; whereas your restroom lacks a basic necessity that is shrouded in shame. In fact, even the women’s washroom is better equipped to serve a cis man than it is to serve a menstruator.
Some restrooms have vending machines and charge up to $2.00 for a single tampon or pad. Imagine paying a toonie to obtain a few squares of toilet paper. IKEA provides free diapers in the restroom but charges 50 cents each for a tampon or a pad. Mountain Equipment Co-op in Vancouver makes customers pay $1 for a tampon or pad. (Seriously, men should Pay-to-Pee in solidarity and give a loonie to use the urinal.)
Those who don’t need period products know their needs are met in every restroom across the country. They never carry cash or extra supplies to use the toilet. And rightfully so. Good for them. I don’t begrudge my tax dollars spent on urinals that benefit my son, brother, and father. But, to be fair, let’s have some consideration too.
Some say the federal government is trying to bolster its feminist credentials (how I love that phrase). However, it is simply not true. The menstrual equity movement has gained momentum over the past few years across the country and around the world. It takes time to raise awareness and reach decisions through various levels of government.
A few years ago we got rid of the tampon tax that implied menstrual products are luxury items. They aren’t luxuries, nor amenities, they are necessities. The next logical step is putting them in restrooms for free, just like toilet paper. In the best of all possible worlds, every stall would have a sleek wall mounted dispenser with various styles and absorbencies, but we are not there yet. Menstrual shame and stigma run deep. Many of us have to overcome our own shame to stand up and talk about the issue. Many others are not there yet.
Menstrual shame and stigma run deep. Many of us have to overcome our own shame to stand up and talk about the issue. Many others are not there yet.
Recently city councillors in Cambridge and Hamilton, ON quashed pro-period pilot projects because they were embarrassed to talk about menstruation. Imagine how women and all menstruators must feel when your elected representative cannot bring themselves to speak of a normal, healthy, recurring event in your life. Menstrual stigma restricts success by making half of the population less than fully productive and always watching their back.
In 2017, when I learned my daughter’s school bathroom had no menstrual products, I bought a coin-free dispenser, installed it in the school and started speaking to school boards. On Feb 26, 2019, New Westminster became the first district in Canada to provide free menstrual products in school bathrooms.
Continued advocacy by myself, other dedicated individuals, and long-time pro-period groups like United Way’s Period Promise resulted in the Ministerial Order of April 5, 2019, requiring all public schools across BC to provide free menstrual products in girls’ and universal bathrooms. BC became the first province in Canada to do this. Now over 250,000 girls, trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary folks with periods in BC will see evidence that periods happen, and not have to feel shame.
Since then numerous municipalities and school districts from Victoria to Halifax have put period products in the restrooms. Grassroots advocates approach their city halls and elected representatives and ask for it.
Periods are everywhere; in school, at work, in public, doing business, buying goods and services, governing, volunteering, while playing sports.
We urge the current Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi to enact the proposed amendment recognizing the need for menstrual products in workplace restrooms. This will set the standard for provinces and municipalities to follow. It will reduce menstrual stigma and increase productivity and engagement at work.
Periods are everywhere; in school, at work, in public, doing business, buying goods and services, governing, volunteering, playing sports. Let’s remove barriers to our mobility and engagement outside the home. Let’s make it so no one has to carry their own tampons or pads or money to the bathroom because Canada’s bathrooms have got you covered.
Selina Tribe is an inspired menstrual justice advocate, who was a key player in the groundbreaking legislation first in New Westminster, and then the province of BC, to mandate free period products in schools. She’s also a professional geoscientist, a member of the Women's Advisory Committee for the City of Vancouver, the Chair of the Women in Engineering and Geoscience, division of Engineers and Geoscientists BC, and passionate mom.
Take your reusables on the road.Read more
Whether you’re schlepping home for the holidays or embarking on a grand global adventure, menstruating sustainably is entirely possible on the road. Modern reusables are easy to use and store, and can be just as convenient as disposables. A big part of travelling ethically is showing respect for the environment that we find ourselves in, whether that is a national park, foreign country or simply the town where your in-laws live. So leave the tampons at home, and take your reusables on the road.
If you’re travelling light with a heavy flow, we encourage you to pick up a cup. It can be safely cleaned with just soap and water, and sterilized with a quick vinegar rinse. Although boiling a cup is always a wise idea, medical grade silicone does not need to be sterilized repeatedly. A cup can simply be emptied, wiped clean and reused safely if you do not have access to clean water (hello, camping).
You may be wondering how you can keep the products in question clean. If you’re out on a short trip, it may just be a matter of stowing the products in a wet bag until you get home. If you’re on a more extended trip, you might need to consider laundry facilities. Our Performa products are ideal for a quick sink wash because their wicking cotton technology .
If your flow is light, a few pairs of Luna Undies can be an ideal solution to comfortable menstrual management. The gusset is breathable and absorbent, and with the addition of Inserts, can be a great solution to having a lighter period on the road. Furthermore, if you’re worried you’re going to be surprised by your period in the middle of a 18-hour flight or long bus ride through the Andes mountains, your Luna Undies will have your back in total comfort.
We cannot underestimate how useful a wet bag can be while travelling. Keeping a small supply of your favourite reusables with you on the road can bring period peace of mind no matter where you find yourself. A few liners and a cup tucked into your bag means that you won’t be navigating strange city streets in search of your preferred products, and you’ll be keeping your journey sustainable.
Don’t turn to disposables when you travel. One of the best things you can do for the planet is to reduce your waste and keep the planet clean for future generations. It’s no big deal to travel while keeping your period zero waste. Your adventures await!
Period poverty is real, and it is a Canadian problem. One-third of Canadians under the age of 25 who menstruate struggle to buy enough products every month. It is a truly invisible form of poverty.Read more
Period poverty is real, and it is a Canadian problem. One-third of Canadians under the age of 25 who menstruate struggle to buy enough products every month. It is a truly invisible form of poverty.
At its most basic level, period poverty is economic conditions where it is difficult or impossible for individuals to buy menstrual products. To put it more simply, it’s prioritizing food over tampons, housing over pads and the dozens of other decisions made to survive in the face of punishing deprivation.
The consequences of period poverty are myriad: missed school and work days, health problems and a decreased sense of self-worth are all associated with this phenomenon.
Before taking a closer look at period poverty, let’s go over a couple of basic facts and figures about menstruation. For most Canadians who menstruate, their first period occurs between the ages of 11 and 14 and will continue until about the age of 50. All in all, it’s estimated that folks who have a period will menstruate for six years of their life.
The price of menstrual products is subject to change depending on your location in Canada. For example, if you’re looking to buy a box of tampons or pads in Nunavut you can expect to pay upwards of $15 to $18 per box. In Metro Vancouver the same items cost only $3 to $11 and can be even less expensive if purchased in bulk. Urban areas are more likely to offer a selection of stores, giving the shopper a chance to compare prices. Online stores are a good option in terms of lower pricing, but require a fixed address within the range of their delivery service and often, access to a credit card.
In an ideal world everyone would be using reusable menstrual products and, under the right circumstances, this would save individuals a very significant amount of money. For those who are living with period poverty using reusable menstrual products poses two main challenges. The immediate issue is cost—while spending $30 to $50 may seem like a small sacrifice to some it’s an insurmountable sum of money for others. The second issue has to do with hygiene—many individuals, especially if they’re living in a shelter, have no place to launder or clean reusable menstrual products.
Because this type of poverty can leave individuals with only a few tampons or pads to use over the course of an entire period there is also the potential for serious health problems. Toxic Shock Syndrome is a serious risk if tampons are being left in for an extended amount of time. Similarly, a pad that has been used for several days can cause urinary tract infections, fungal infections and even infertility in severe cases.
On July 1, 2015, the Canadian government removed the so-called “tampon tax” from all menstrual products—including tampons, pads, sanitary belts and menstrual cups. While this was an important change symbolically, removing the GST from these items does little in the way of their affordability. There have been inquiries by the Canadian government into providing free menstrual products in the workplace, although no changes have occurred at this time. Recently, the provincial government enacted a policy wherein menstrual products are now available free of charge in British Columbia schools.
You can get involved with the fight against period poverty in your own community or you can help at a national level. Locally, getting in contact with Indigenous advocacy groups, LGBTQ+ organizations and domestic violence shelters is a great way to find out which items are needed. Across Canada, Plan International Canada, The Period Purse and Oxfam Canada are all well-established organizations who are working to end period poverty. We're particularly proud of the work being done in British Columbia by Period Promise, which has brought free products to schools and is a constant advocate for menstrual equity. (A quick content notice - many of these links use gendered language).
Furthermore, call your MPP, MLA, MNA or territorial representative to ask that your province or territory take action on period poverty - there are lots of concrete steps to take to ease period poverty.
Ashley Linkletter is a mental health, food, and nutrition writer based in Vancouver, BC.