Thursday, June 27, 2013
A Greener Period: Part 2- Why?
The question I have heard the most this week is "Why are you doing this?" I think a lot of people see it as gross and an awful lot of work when disposables are such an easy alternative. Maybe I should have led with this post :) Anyhow, here are some of the reasons I've started this journey to a greener period.
To Keep Waste out of Landfills
Approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are sent to North American landfills annually. That is A LOT of trash. Over her lifetime, the average American woman will use approximately 16,800 disposable pads or tampons. Additionally, many tampon applicators and pads contain plastic which will not biodegrade any time soon. The idea that I could avoid all of this trash appeals to me.
To Avoid Potentially Harmful Chemicals
Pads and tampons are made mainly of wood pulp. The pulp is bleached in the manufacturing process to make it white. One of the chemicals produced is dioxin. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. "While the jury is still out on the direct risk to human health posed by dioxin residue in disposable pads and tampons, its danger to the environment via effluent from factories is well known"(1). Many pads use Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs) as well which also have not been extensively researched. We are exposed to so many chemicals daily. If I can avoid putting them in my most sensitive areas, then I will.
To Save Money
Tampons and pads are expensive. Using a combination of a menstrual cup and cloth pads quickly pays for itself. It's also nice to know I never have to worry about running out tampons in the middle of my period.
To Be More Comfortable
I have found cloth pads to be MUCH more comfortable than disposables. They are so soft against my skin and don't leave my skin dry. I also was starting to get a skin reaction by the end of each period- this hasn't happened with cloth pads. They breath better and aren't full of chemicals.
The menstrual cup also doesn't dry me out which leaves me more comfortable and I never experience the painful removal like I did with tampons during light flow.
To Have a Shorter/Less Painful Period
This is more of an anecdotal benefit but I thought that it was worth mentioning. Quite a few women have reported shorter periods using reusable products. So far, my period has been the same length. What I have found to be an amazing benefit is that my cramps aren't nearly as bad. I'm normally miserable for days. With my last period I had less severe cramping that lasted only one evening!