More Evidence that Tampons are a Greener Choice

This won’t be a favorite post amongst our male readers, but the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm carried out a life cycle assessment of tampons versus sanitary pads. The results aren’t conclusive, but we think that taking a look at their findings still helps support the use of organic cotton tampons, if you’re not yet into the Mooncup or reusable cloth pads like Lunapads. While the study recognizes that lack of quantitative data for tampon production was a problem they carried out a "cradle to grave" assessment from raw material extraction through to transport, production process, use stage and waste management. They of course highlight the dangers associated with dioxin hazard from bleaching of cotton for tampons, which reiterates the importance of using organic cotton tampons. Additionally, the analysis of the sanitary pad life cycle showed that,
the crucial process in the whole life cycle is the LDPE processing. Even though cellulose constitutes more weight percent of a pad, it doesn’t have so profound environmental impacts. It is due to high energy consumption of LDPE production and using oil as a raw material which is very valuable as an energy source. That is why the main impact from pads life cycle is fossil fuel use. Foresting and cellulose processing is much more environmentally friendly than plastic production. Most of the impacts come from raw materials processing and pads production; transportation also makes its inputs but not so large."
They say that although the analysis is a good prompt for making environmentally friendly choices it should be considered as only background. Women should consider also the health risks associated with bleached cotton, even though regular unbleached tampons ranked better by two to one over pads. What’s the bottom line here? Pads create more environmental impacts due to their plastic components. This study really helps us understand why organic cotton tampons are one of the better environmental choices for women. ::The Full Report :: Dioxins and Plastics Info from Natracare :: How to Green Womens Personal Care ::Image Credit: Arcata Pet Supplies