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Help for eco-friendly feminine hygiene

The two main considerations when buying the greenest feminine hygiene products are materials and waste.

I have three daughters, which has me wondering about the greenest alternatives when it comes to feminine hygiene products. Can you help?
Sherry, Montreal


The two main considerations when buying the greenest feminine hygiene products are materials and waste.


Tampons and pads are made of highly absorbent rayon (from wood pulp), often blended with cotton (grown with pesticides), and they sometimes contain additives like chemical fragrances.


Although companies that test the cotton fibres say you won’t find detectable levels of pesticides in your product, the fact remains that growing conventional cotton accounts for 25 per cent of the insecticides and more than 10 per cent of the pesticides used around the world. Then there’s all that plastic, with wings, applicators and each product individually wrapped.


One option is to buy tampons without applicators or tampons and pads made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton, processed chlorine-free with the least amount of packaging.


The average woman will go through about 11,500 tampons in her lifetime. So the least wasteful option is to switch to a reusable menstrual cup. These are made from natural latex rubber or silicone and can be used for up to a decade.


Before you decide that this is a bit out of your comfort zone, consider that a reusable mini cup works for heavy or light flow, doesn’t leak, comes in different sizes (ensuring comfort) and only needs to be emptied two to four times a day.


The feminine-product aisle of your natural market or organic grocer should carry menstrual cups like the Keeper or the Divacup, distributed by Lunapads. You can also check online for other products.




David Suzuki Foundation

Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to queenofgreen@metronews.ca. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.

 
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