Everyone knows that once a month every woman gets her period and this requires a supply of pads and tampons. There are all kinds of commercials advertising the latest in pad technology to ensure you feel as comfortable as possible. Well that’s great but I have to say when I really started to think about it, a super absorbent pad did not ease my comfort level when it came time to throw it out, thinking to myself about how much waste it was contributing to. An estimated 12 billion feminine hygiene products are dumped into the North American environment each year.
So tampons might be better right because they are smaller? Well maybe but its still waste (7 billion tampons dumped each year) and there can be side effects to using tampons such as toxic shock syndrome and vaginal ulcers. Moreover most tampons are made of non-organic cotton and the treatment of this cotton with pesticides and insecticides has a very high impact on the environment. $2 billion US worth of chemicals are sprayed on the world’s cotton crops every year. Close to half of these chemicals are considered toxic enough to be classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization and yet these chemicals leach into the waterways and are breathed in by the locals farming these fields.
Alternative feminine hygiene products
So what are the alternatives? Well there are many. To start with, if you do like to use pads, you can choose ones made from organic cotton and that are biodegradable. I have bought feminine hygiene products by the brand Natracare at Loblaws. There are of course many other brands out there, most found at health food stores. With the Natracare brand, they are made of organic cotton, are chlorine free (another benefit to the environment) and have a lot less packaging than the standard pads i.e. not every pad is individually wrapped. The best part is these will not cost you any more than the less green kind. For comparison, a box of 14 Natracare pads costs $6-7 while a box of 14 Always pads costs $6.
If you prefer to use tampons, an alternative is to use a Diva Cup. The up front cost is more ($40-50) but one Diva Cup will last you at
least one whole year and over that one year you will save a lot of money compared to using tampons. The average box of 18 tampons will cost about $7. Say you need a minimum of 3/day for a week every month that means you will need 14 boxes of tampons which will cost you $98/year! The feminine hygiene product Diva Cup will cost you half as much.
The Diva Cup is not difficult to use. It can be washed with normal soap and water on a daily basis and cleaned in boiling hot water from time to time when discoloration occurs. And although the Diva Cup is made from silicone, it is phthalate-free, latex-free, plastic-free and BPA-free. Personally I think that this feminine hygiene product is one of the greatest inventions for women!
So like the adds say “Have a Happy Period”, I say have a green one!