Green Alternatives


With the recent trends of “going green” many new products have come out designed to be more environmentally friendly. Most of them, such as energy efficient light bulbs and hybrid cars, are widely accepted. Some products, like the Diva Cup and Mama Cloth, are becoming more widely known but still intimidate some. Then there are some products that make you wonder where the idea came from and how it was discovered. Two of my personal favorites are the Sea Pearl Sponge and the Knitted Tampon.

In theory, it’s a great idea. The Sea Pearl Sponge is an actual sponge from the sea, used in place of a tampon. A natural menstrual sponge has its benefits-less waste, renewable resource, and no chemicals used. But it makes you wonder- who came up with this? Who first decided that it was a good idea to go fishing for the nearest sea critter, and use it for menstrual flow? There is a similar product, also a sponge, used for birth control purposes. While I like the idea of chemical-free, green alternatives, I think I’ll cross this one off my wish list. The sponge is very affordable, but does need to be replaced every few months. Some people, much more concerned with the environment than I, re-purpose their sponge for cosmetic uses. No thank you. I can’t see myself disinfecting my menstrual sponge and later using it to wash my face. Another downside to the sponge is insertion and removal. The Diva Cup has a small stem, much like a tampon, which allows you to easily insert and remove it. The sponge has no such aid. Your only option is to lower your self-esteem 30 points and prove that you can, in fact, fit your entire hand up there while grasping it for removal. Again, I’ll pass. It’s hard enough for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’m using a live animal, or at least what used to be one, to take care of my monthly needs. The idea that I’d need to go fishing for this creature is a major turn off. I can handle the washing, the reusing, and even buying more every few months. But playing Finding Nemo every month just doesn’t appeal to me.

In this same category, is the Knitted Tampon. Again, good in theory, bad in practice. This green alternative is very similar to its disposable counterpart, the cotton tampon. This “knitpon” is made to the same specifications, with a handy little string for removal. This automatically bumps it up the list, one notch above Nemo. However, I can’t imagine how comfortable this would be. Wool itself can be a very soft fabric, and can absorb nearly 30% of its weight. But any fabric, soft or not, should not be worn internally. While the knitponhas an easy removal string, insertion is still by hand. Okay, I can handle that. At least that doesn’t require the entire fist, like Nemo or the Diva Cup. Still, I’m not crazy about the idea of wool going there.

For a slightly less depressing, yet still Eco-friendly product, there is Mama Cloth. This is the reusable version of a sanitary pad. Mama Cloth is made with soft, absorbent fabrics with snaps to hold it in place. A much nicer option for those that hate tampons, but would like a green alternative. Simply wash and reuse, just as you would any other piece of clothing. No fishing, bending or knitting skills required.

Then, of course, there is the Diva Cup. A small, flexible, plastic cup inserted to “catch” the flow, rather than absorb it. While it sounds easy enough to insert the cup, let it fill, then dump its contents- getting the correct placement can be tricky, not to mention degrading, once again proving your entire hand will fit up there. And if, God forbid, you should have trouble finding the removal stem or getting your fingers at the right angle, there aren’t many friends who would respond to that call for help.

If you want to live a green lifestyle, you have many options. Just be sure to consider all the pros and cons while shopping!