Do you know the costs of disposable menstrual products – to Mother Nature and to your own pocketbook? It’s never too late to switch to eco-friendly menstruation.
Recently I did an online poll asking, “What do you use for your menstrual flow?”
42 people participated. Among them, 64% use disposable pads, 29% use tampons, 5% use menstrual cups, and none use reusable pads.
So it seems the 95-5 percent rule prevails here: 95% disposable and 5% eco-friendly.
I was a little surprised at the result, initially, because I was expecting at least some representation in the reusable pad category. But after some thought, it’s not really that surprising.
Why Use Eco-friendly Menstrual Products
After all, it’s only recently that I myself have learned the following facts and switched to reusable pads – and a more eco-friendly menstruation.
- 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons pollute landfills annually in the US.
- An average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of tampons, pads and applicators in her lifetime. The great majority of these products end up in landfills, or as something sewage treatment plants must deal with.
- In a woman’s lifetime, she is likely to use 15,000 sanitary pads or tampons. And there are 85 million women of menstruating age in North America.
- So do the math! This will amount to a whopping 1.275 trillion disposable pads and tampons (weighing 12.75 million tons) from all the menstruating women in North America alone. And sadly, all this waste has found or will find its way to our landfills.
- Let’s forget about the environment for a second and just look at the economics. Let’s say that an average pad or tampon costs about 20 cents. This means you’ll probably spend about $3,125 on disposable pads and/or tampons during your entire menstrual history.
This may not seem like a lot if you’re relatively well off. And perhaps this is one of the reasons why most of us are still using disposables, despite their extremely high environmental costs. But I for one could find more fun and constructive uses for $3,125.
Other possible explanations?
We’re highly influenced by a disposable culture for the most part. The costs of production have been driven to historical lows thanks to the technological advancement and the advent of mass production. Why keep it? It’s so cheap anyway. Just use it and throw it away!
Also, the environmental costs are, for the most part, invisible to us. It’s so difficult to know what the environmental costs actually are that we just don’t think about it, not that much any way.
But this is changing, and thank God for it! More and more people are becoming aware of the hidden costs and heavy footprints we’re leaving on this planet, and they’re doing something about it.
I admit I’m a late boomer in this regard. I’ve been using disposable pads for 20 something years. It only occurred to me recently that I needed to make a change.
But it’s never too late to make a difference, to do your part, taking care of yourself and the beautiful planet we live on.
And after using the resuable pads for a while, I have to say that I love it, and I can never go back to the disposable pads. It’s becoming a way of life and a way of menstruation for me – a much better way!