I gathered some interesting facts and statistics of using the various disposable menstrual products and how they impact the environment.
What I’m hoping to do here is to convince the still undecided to get over the queasiness and switch to menstrual cups!
- Over 12 BILLION pads and tampons are USED ONCE and disposed of annually, adding to environmental pollution.
- In a woman’s lifetime, she is likely to use 15,000 sanitary pads or tampons.
- An average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of tampons, pads and applicators in her lifetime. The great majority of these end up in landfills, or as something the sewage treatment plants must deal with.
- The National Women’s Health Network states that twelve billion pads and 7 million tampons pollute landfills annually in the US.
- FDA does not require that the ingredients in tampons and pads be listed anywhere in or on the package.
- According to waste consultant Franklin Associates, 6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems in 1998. And according to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999. Source: The Hidden Price of Feminine Hygiene Products.
But it’s not just a landfill issue, constant production of disposable products creates pollution, too.
Some may say that it’s insignificant compared to all other garbage that we produce.
Consider that the average American woman menstruates for 38 years—a period during which she can be expected to produce a grand total of 62,415 pounds of garbage (PDF). Thus, during your fertile years, period-related detritus should make up about 0.5 percent of your personal landfill load. Source: http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008rpt.pdf
Is that worth fretting over? Plastic plates and cups also make up 0.5 percent of our trash every year, and those products induce plenty of environmental agitate.
At the same time, American women are always being told that their periods are shameful—do we really need to make them feel like they’re killing the planet, too?
But considering how easy it is to solve the problem, why not just get over the queasiness and switch to eco-friendly, reusable menstrual cups.
So, what are you waiting for???
Give it a try, and you may never go back to tampons and pads again!