I'm sorry to announce that Diva International has recently updated their policies regarding their DivaCup product.
You should know by now that I'm a huge DivaCup proponent and believe that every woman should at least try it to see if it works for them. Not everyone loves it, but the majority do and it saves an incredible amount of natural resources and cost for women over using disposable menstrual products.
What's different in their policies? First off, they no longer offer returns or refunds for trying their product out. I can understand this from a business perspective, it is expensive to adhere to this policy, but I don't believe that reusable menstrual cups have hit a "critical mass", so to speak, that women are ready to give it a try without having some sort of reassurance that they are not out the money for what many consider to be a very expensive product.
Of course, if it works out for you, the cost is negligible over time since you'll be saving a ton of money over having to purchase disposables, but sometimes it takes a little financial incentive to give it a try. I'm sorry to say that I think that this change in policy will reduce the number of women willing to give it a try. In other words, it's an expensive experiment for many.
The second policy change is that Diva International is now saying that the lifespan of the cup is only one year. "Due to government standards and the personal, hygienic nature of the product, a menstrual cup should be replaced once a year." Now, unless your dog has chewed it up, you microwaved it until it melted or you insist on using it as a beer bottle opener at parties, it's unlikely that your cup has been damaged in the course of one year to warrant replacement.
If you are worried about bacteria, then boil the damn thing. It's silicone for crying out loud. It's going to last longer on the earth than you will. I understand regulations and all, but I think this policy change is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
Most importantly, this second policy change completely undermines their claim of being a Green Diva. If I were to replace this giant silicone thimble every year (along with all the packaging), I suspect the environmental impact will be as much as, if not more than regular disposables. At the very least, it won't be much better than using organic cotton non-applicator tampons.
The main environmental point that I was drawn to about this product was its lifespan. How can I convince new users to try this for environmental reasons anymore? Their FAQ claims that "women, on average, experience a lifetime menstruation span of 41 years (11-52)." Aside from the fact that this may be an overestimate, let's just assume for the sake of argument that a woman would expect to blow through approximately 40 DivaCups in their lifetime. At least tampons and pads biodegrade to some extent. That's a whole heap of DivaCups that I would not be willing to recommend women send to the landfill.
Needless to say, I'm quite disappointed. Again, I can understand the business and regulatory reasons behind these policy changes but I believe that, in the end, DivaCup is not only doing their customers a disservice, but they are damaging their own business in the process.
For more information on the DivaCup policies check out the FAQ page on their website. Many thanks to Lunapads for alerting me of these updates.