As I was stumbling around in my “Readomattic” of interested tags, I ran into a great article concerning the use of reusable products. I am quite guilty myself about the lack of coverage I have on my site. I have through recommendation of several readers, to post information pertaining to reusable feminine hygiene products. However, I lack much of the expertise when it comes to that because I have yet to date a girl who actually uses them. Furthermore, out of all my girls, only 1 uses them actively and 1 tried and defaulted to using disposable pads. Due to my lack of a vagina, it makes it extremely hard for me to test the items mentioned below – lol. On my blog, I try to bring “awareness” to subjects, not necessarily promote. As with pads, tampons and now alternative menstrual protection, I would like to stay away from saying which form of protection is better – that’s up to every individual to decide on their own. However, I will never object to providing information to help someone make an informed choice.
Having received the explicit permission of the author, I am reposting her entry. Unfortunately because of the way WordPress handles copy & pasting, the alignment of text/pictures are not correct, however, the entire article is still readable. Furthermore, you are encouraged to visit the author’s site for other “environmentally sound ideas”!
I will not be making any additional entries this evening as I got word from my close-friend letting me know that her grandmother has passed away. Fortunately (if that’s really a good way to describe it), her family was well-prepared for it and all affairs are already in order. Her grandmother was well over one hundred years (100, that’s right, COUNT IT!) old and although at any age, death is never fair and easy – in the Chinese culture, we consider this a “happy departure” given the age and non-tragic circumstances. I will be spending tonight helping her out with what I can (as little as that may be).
Just for fun, I added my “favourite brands” to the widget bar… I removed a couple of widgets that don’t seem to get much attention anyways. Hrm.. didn’t I just say something about not promoting things I like? Damn… lol. I knew if I didn’t add O.B. and Stayfree there, two of my girls will eat me alive, so I made sure those brands were there… hahahaha.
Get over it, my dear! February 10, 2010 by pickupamerica
By Kelly Klein
Hello, ladies! (Yes, you.) I’m here to talk to you about a great way that you can be more sustainable and create less waste every month! I know it’s a touchy subject… not everyone likes to talk about their menstruation experiences, but I encourage you to read on with an open mind as this information is good for your body, the environment, and women everywhere. Contrary to what a good friend believed as a kid, you don’t just get your period once and are done with it. Nope. It happens quite regularly and frequently over the course of a woman’s lifetime. This means that women will spend a great deal of time, energy and money suppressing menstruation every month. Current mainstream sanitary methods are not cutting it, and if they continue to be the norm, our landfills, waterways and bodies will hold the waste for years to come.
Tampons and pads are just plain wasteful. According to Susan Kim, the average U.S. woman will use 10,000 tampons in her life, throwing away a total of approximately 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs and applicators. A tampon takes about 6 months to biodegrade while any plastic (applicator, pad lining, and/or packaging) will never biodegrade.
The main ingredient in most tampons is cotton, which happens to be one of the least “green” crops out there. According to the Organic Consumers Association, “just 2.4% of the world’s arable land is planted with cotton yet it accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide market and 11% of sale of global pesticides, making it the most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet.” AND almost half of the chemicals used on cotton crops around the world are classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization. Not only is this bad news for the plants and animals and farmers who come into contact with these substances, but pesticides don’t exactly go away. After all, cotton is used in tampons because of its absorbency. Pesticide residues stick around in tampons in the form of dioxins and other potentially harmful chemicals. Our vaginal walls are made of the most absorbent tissues in the body. Ladies, do the math.
What about tampon disposal? If you flush a used tampon, it enters our waterways and is absorbed by marine life or ends up on coast lines, which is — of course — a problem. If you throw it away, you wrap it in some toilet paper and it ends up in a landfill somewhere. At throwawayz.com, (a site that sells small biodegradable plastic pouches to throw tampons away in), it is estimated that the average U.S. female uses about 450 rolls of toilet paper in their lifetime just on tampon disposal, about 9.5 trees per female.
So, lets recap:
- Growing cotton to make tampons is bad for the environment.
- Using tampons exposes your body to harmful substances.
- Disposing of tampons creates a vast amount of waste that contributes to the pile up of pollution in our landfills and waterways.
Both 1 and 2 are addressed by using organic tampons, but not number 3. To address all of these issues, we have the fabulous menstrual cup. This is a reusable, flexible cup that is inserted into the vagina and rests around the cervix (like a diaphragm) to catch menstrual fluid. There are several brands; Divacup, Mooncup, Instead, Lunette, Miacup, Lady Cup, The Keeper, to name a few.
In my experience, you do need to give yourself some time to adjust and figure out exactly how to insert/remove/use a cup, but it is well worth it. You usually only have to clean it once a day, you don’t have to carry around tampons all the time, it doesn’t dry you out unnecessarily, it doesn’t get all full of water if you swim or take a bath… it’s pretty great. At the end of your cycle, you simply boil it for a few minutes so that it’s sterilized. There is a great blog that will give you all sorts of tips about using menstrual cups and answer all of your questions, so I won’t get into that here.
But I will say this… Most women I talk to dismiss menstrual cups with one simple comment: It’s gross! All I have to say is: Get over it, my dear. It is your body and your body’s process, so what’s there to be afraid of? Yes, while using a menstrual cup you will become very familiar with your vagina (and you might even find your cervix!). In order to use it correctly, you will need to do some trial and error. So what? It’s time that we accept menstruation (and our vaginas, for that matter) as a regular part of our lives and become comfortable asking questions and talking with one another. Susan Kim’s article is all about the taboo of menstruation. It’s an embarrassing subject for most women and it’s mentioned in the media in “pitches and jokes that basically use our poor ol’, much-maligned bodily process to get an easy laugh and/or earn a buck.” We got a lot of work to do to break down this taboo and it all starts with confronting our personal feelings toward ourselves and our bodies. Who’s with me?
P.S. If insertion techniques aren’t your thing, why not try a reusable pad? Yea, you have to clean it, but you can easily keep a large jar or bowl of water in the bathroom to soak them overnight and you’ll probably need about 7-12 per cycle. You can make your own from old diapers, flannel sheets, or terry towels. A number of manufactured pads are on the market in both organic and commercial cotton.
P.P.S. Props to any males out there who read this whole thing. Knowledge is power!