I’m as green as the next girl.
I recycle my Diet Coke bottles, reuse grocery store bags and take quick showers.
I’ve swapped out my light bulbs for more energy efficient compact fluorescent ones and ordered a “Hotter than I should be” T-shirt to support the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts on climate change.
But I draw the line at the menstrual cup. (Yes, it is as gross as it sounds, so if you are weak of stomach don’t read any further.)
There’s a story getting a lot of attention about how tampons are out among younger women. They’re turning instead to washable underwear with built-in pads, homemade cloth sanitary pads and menstrual cups.
More power to them, I say.
I believe in the tampon
But the menstrual cup is not something I can toast to, as much as I like to do my part for the environment.
The menstrual cup looks like a small funnel. It folds for insertion and fits snugly against the vaginal wall, filling with menstrual flow. Empty it every 8 hours and then clean and reinsert it.
At between $15 and $36 a piece and potentially lasting a decade, a menstrual cup would cost the average woman just cents per cycle, vs. $4 to $8 for tampons.
OK, I’m sure tampons generate a whole lot of waste. (In 2006, during an international coastal cleanup, volunteers collected nearly 20,000 discarded tampons in one day.) And the menstrual cup is about as environmentally friendly as you can be when it comes to feminine hygiene products.
But I just can’t do it. I believe in the tampon.
Tampons are among my favorite hygiene product, along with the flush toilet, tooth brush and blow dryer. Toxic Shock Syndrome? I’m willing to risk it.
Try organic cotton, skip applicators
If you’re like me and want to do something green during your time in the red, go with tampons of organic cotton, which are grown without toxic pesticides and made without processed fibers like rayon, though they cost a little more than regular tampons.
Or, easier on your budget and available at most every grocery and drug store are applicator-free tampons, which would at least cut your waste by half.
As for the menstrual cup, I just can’t be that green.