It's become common knowledge that having a period comes at a price -- and not just of the body-cramping, feeling sickly variety. The costs of your typical drug-store period products add up over time and, for women who are already at an economic disadvantage, there's plenty of bad blood.
Recognizing a doubly eco-friendly (that's economically and environmentally) solution to this plight encouraged Diandra Kalish to create UnTabooed -- a non-profit dedicated to educating people about period stigma and the magical qualities of reusable menstrual hygiene items.
"People often ask me if I use reusables and what I think about them: I tell them that yes, I do, and they have literally changed my life to the point where I have started a nonprofit around them," Kalish told MTV News.
Inspired by Lisa De Bode's article about the struggles of how homeless people deal with their periods and how the whole subject flies under the mainstream's radar, Kalish said she wanted to take action.
"People rarely think to donate feminine hygiene products because shelters often don't explicitly ask for them. This is because of the taboo surrounding the topic," Kalish said. "Lack of access to feminine hygiene products is a huge issue worldwide. Many developing nations have started to tackle the issue by using reusable feminine hygiene products to solve the issue, but no one has brought that solution back to the USA where the same issues are prevalent."
Reusables -- think menstrual cups, cloth pads or sea sponges -- offer an alternative for those who couldn't possibly budget a box of tampons or pads each month (or more if we're talking about families.)
In their one-hour educational workshops, UnTabooed works with shelters around New York City to give some basic information about what menstruation is and why it happens before introducing menstrual cups and cloth pads as two of the options out there. After the workshop they also provide either a menstrual cup or a few cloth pads (which generally last four to five years) for free. The group also offers a DIY kit that teaches women how to make their own hand or machine-washable cloth pads for an extra empowering option.
"UnTabooed believes that breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation, and giving women access to reusable feminine hygiene products will help them feel empowered," Kalish said. "If you use reusables you are removing the 'ick' factor associated with periods. You are much more in tune with your body and your flow. You are not just disposing of it, which is why it is considered gross in the first place. You will feel awesome knowing you are helping yourself, the environment, and your wallet!"
They also have this bomb-ass tote bag. Just look at it. So cute.
You can find out more about reusables and menstrual hygiene at UnTabooed.org