We will start with a big minus on the female side. There are some products only we women use and there are a couple of issues around them (men: keep reading, it might be helpful to know about these things).
Yes, you guessed right. Today we talk about sanitary pads and tampons.
What is the problem with them? Just think about it. They are used ONCE, and we use A LOT. Besides, they are fully and 100% non-biodegradable. To get an idea of what happens to them next have a look at these numbers: the E-magazine knows that “over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999.” Or maybe you would like to know how much one women produces: “According to some estimates, the average woman in her lifetime can use enough feminine hygiene products to fill a dump truck.” Now, how many women are out there?
Good news. There are alternatives. Menstrual cups follow the idea of reusable tampons. You cannot only use them forever (yes, that will mean NO more spending on pads and tampons, which GreenScene estimates to be around 3000 Dollars during our life.) The same goes for sanitary pads: there are many offers for reusable, washable cloth pads which last a long time. An alternative a friend recently told me about is the menstrual sponge which is also reusable and therefore much more sustainable.
Just so you know, regular tampons or sanitary pads are not a healthier choice than sponges or cloth pads. They are associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome due to the fiber used in its production and other harms which can be created due to the toxic chemicals used for bleeching.
If you are not yet ready to go reusable, have a look at this trehugger article, saying that organic, non-bleeched cotton tampons are to be prefered over sanitary pads in general and conventional tampons.
That’s it for the first war of the sexes. We women have fallen behind quite a bit so far, but the competition is far from being over.
Picture by Edson Hong, thanks!