This is going to be a post with a certain amount of Ick Factor going on, but I will try to write sensitively, especially for some of you delicate guys. A friend mentioned the other day that, with the surging interest in reducing waste and living green, reusable menstrual cups are being more openly marketed.
Now, I can see the advantages of a product like this — back in my young, single days, I used a diaphragm for contraception, and a little added bonus to it is that it keeps fluids from going in either direction, so that being at the end of one’s period wasn’t, um, noticeable to one’s partner.
But, if using a cup, for the life of me I can’t think of how one can leave the house for any length of time. If you use a restroom somewhere, where do you rinse the things? Most restrooms do not have sinks in the stalls, so you’d have to carry the thing out to clean it off before reinsertion, and hey, that just sounds gross.
But tampons and other sanitary products — are they really filling up the landfills? There are companies marketing organic ones, and anything pure cotton should break down, although the chemicals used to make the cotton whiter (purely for looks) are a problem. Years ago I heard that o.b.’s individual wrapping is (biodegradable) cellophane, not plastic, although these days “cellophane” often refers to plastic as well and I haven’t seen a definitive answer anywhere as to whether o.b.’s wrapping is indeed made from cellulose (I suspect they might just be happy that some people think this.) And growing cotton brings its own set of problems to the land it’s grown on.
LittleREDelf has an entertaining post on the pluses and minuses of eco-friendly mentrual products. She goes there so you don’t have to, if you really want to know more (which I doubt, but anyway), you can download this pdf on the Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Sanitary Pads and Tampons from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
h/t to Christine for the topic