I wouldn’t say Environmental Science is my favorite class, but it’s definitely an interesting one. Not a day goes by without us discussing one of the many pressing issues concerning our environment today; and, somehow, we always connect it back to consumerism — or how many products we as humans make and consume each day, usually to the end of creating an unsustainable amount of waste. It really makes you think about what you’re using, how much you’re using, and where it all ends up.
The other day, during an independent work period, my project partner and I were commiserating about Aunt Flow for a brief moment (benefits of an all-girls school!) before we refocused on waste levels and how that waste related to the production of greenhouse gases. Coincidence? I think not!
According to a recent estimate, approximately 20 billion pads, tampons, and applicators are being sent to North American landfills annually. Now, that number doesn’t include South America or Europe or any of the other continents. Sit for a moment. Imagine a planet-sized wad of tampons sluggishly floating in the toilet bowl of the Universe. Not a great image, right?
Commercial tampons and pads also have an environmental impact before they’re tossed in the garbage. The substances used to create these products have to go through a whole host of chemical treatments, and tampon companies are currently not required to disclose the full ingredients list of their products. The scary part of all this is not knowing what chemicals have been used to create the tampon or pad that you’re holding and not knowing what kind of an impact that could have on your body.
Thankfully, there are some great options out there for those of us who want to reduce our impact on the environment, or who just want to have more control about the products we put on or in our bodies. Some examples of eco-friendly period products include Luna Pads and Glad Rags, reusable (and adorable!) cloth pads that have a very minimal impact. They’re long-lasting (if used properly, Luna Pads can be used for years) and easy to wash as well as being a lot more comfortable than regular pads. And just imagine how much you’ll save without having to buy boxes of pads and tampons each month!
Or, for those of you who can’t stand the idea of wearing pads, regardless of them being reusable and adorable, The DivaCup is also a great option. To directly quote the website, “The DivaCup is a reusable, non-absorbent menstrual cup that is a convenient, reliable, environmentally responsible, and economically smart alternative to tampons. Plastic-free and BPA-free, The DivaCup is made of silicone and can safely be worn for up to 12 hours at a time.” Not a bad deal, huh?
Bottom line, if you’re a cis-girl who’s interested in becoming more eco-friendly, this is the easiest way to start. Not only will you reduce your impact, but you’ll also get to save some money. Somehow, that “time of the month” is starting to sound a little bit better, don’t you think?