* My Vagina is Officially Green *

In the spirit of Earth Day & respect for my reproductive system – are you listening Florida? – I have decided to completely green my lady business. Tampons, Condoms, Birth control – the works.

Every company I researched integrates personal and social responsibility into their products. That means they all give back!

For me, going green not only means using less resources, throwing away less items, and reducing the amount of crap I put on my body, it means putting money into something I believe in.

Period Products:

By using reusable pads & tampon alternatives, I save 6 boxes of tampons & 60 pads from going into the landfill each year. For my 20 remaining fertile years, that’s 1440 tampons & 1200 pads. Like many of you, I cannot get by on pads alone. Fortunately, there are a number of BPA-free cups that act as a long-lasting tampon!

The Diva Cup and Keeper Cup are flexible, reusable cups women of various ages can use. Reusable pads aren’t the soggy, drippy cloth diapers of  imagination.  Flannel & fleece lined pads ensure leak-free periods. You can stack up 1-3 liners, depending on your flow. Though leakage was a major concern, they have all addressed the issue with absorbant material & the option to add more protection.

Disposable tampons have gotten better. Kotex’s parent company Kimberly-Clark sources their material from sustainable forests. All major brands use a chlorine free bleaching process, but their tampons still come in one-time use packaging & are thrown away…By switching to a sustainable alternative, I create less waste & use less resources.

LunaPads & GladRags, two major retailers of reusable products, make it their mission to distribute pads to young women in developing countries. When girls and women menstruate, they often miss school or work, because they don’t have access to menstrual products. There aren’t disposable options, so reusables are a good fit.

Green Birth Control:

Fertility Awareness Methods put the chill of religion & unplanned parenthood in the air for most of us. However, they’ve come a long way since the ‘70s! The rhythm method was a calendar based method where you checked your cycle, subtracted some days, but no one really knows how it worked. Thus, the rhythm method was known for creating parents. If I’m going green, I want something as effective as condoms! There are a number of methods that are EASY, clinically tested & actually work.

*Standard Days Method: Developed by Georgetown University’s Institute of Reproductive Health, the Standard Days Method basically tracks your cycle for you. It is over 95% effective in perfect use. In typical use, it’s 88% effective, beating out the popular condom’s typical usage rate at 85%. *I was surprised too!* Using the visual aid CycleBeads or the iPhone app iCycleBeads, you know which days you can & can’t get pregnant. CycleBeads is a color coded string of beads. The color of the beads lets you know the days you can and can’t get pregnant. iCycleBeads has you enter your period date, and presents a color coded calendar displaying your fertile and infertile days. On fertile days, you can use a condom or use your imagination.

CycleBeads gives $1.00 from each Deluxe set of CycleBeads to the NYC Girls & Boys Projects. They also donate sets of CycleBeads to the Girls Project to help teach girls about their menstrual cycles. The Girls & Boys Projects are after school empowerment programs for inner-city kids.

*Copper IUD: Copper IUDs are hormone free & are 99% effective with typical use. They last about 5 -10 years once inserted. Copper IUDs prevent sperm & egg joining and negatively affects the mobility of sperm. With the Copper IUD, heavier menstrual bleeding can occur.

*French Letter Fair Trade Condoms: In perfect use, condoms are about 99% effective. In typical use, they’re about 85% effective. They are, however, the best choice if you are planning on preventing STDs. The natural latex used in every French Letter condom is harvested under sustainable and Fair Trade conditions. French Letter condoms source latex through FairDeal Trading, the only company in the world paying a Fairtrade premium for latex rubber. The premiums go to laborers’ retirement, health care or children’s educational funds.

Green Sex Products:

*Vegan Lube: I went vegan for 21 days leading up to Earth Day. I guess that means every orifice!
The Vegan Sex Shop houses vegan condoms, lube, sex toys, massage oils – the works! AND they donate 6% of your purchase to one of five charities – your choice.

Green Showering Products:

*Dr. Bronner’s has been biodegradable for over 100 years. They are not only Fair Trade, but used only organic products in a number of their soaps. Additionally, you’ll get religious rumblings that urge you to be good to your fellow humans, right on the label!

So there you have it. Greening the biz not only supports sustainable companies with women positive missions, it’s a lesson in personal responsibility and empowerment. Happy Earth Day!

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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