Green Manolo » How Green Is Too Green?

How Green Is Too Green?

By Christa

For those who don’t immediately know what they were looking at, those are Sckoon Organics washable menstrual pads. Yes, you read that right. Washable, reusable menstrual pads. Think cloth diapers for the grownup lady set, but sleeker and prettier (most of the time).

I’ll admit that I have no issues with cloth diapers (especially BumGenius one-size, which we use with our daughter) but I still get a little squicked out by washable menstrual pads. Isn’t that weird? I know that women use approximately 11,000-13,000 pads or tampons between the pre-teen and menopausal years, and all those feminine products are ending up somewhere. In landfills? Wherever sewage ends up? Logically, my anti-pad stance makes no sense, but I guess reusable menstrual pads are my eco threshold.

What’s yours?

Maybe it’s using your gray water to hydrate your plants? Slapping skull-and-crossbones bumper stickers on every car you pass as you make your way to work using pedal power? Bringing your own local and organic snacks to every birthday party your kids attend? Driving a grease car? Taking fewer showers? Using humanure? It could be anything – it’s just that place you do not want to go.

If you’re not sure where your eco threshold is, imagine how green you’d have to before your joie de vivre would all but disappear in the face of your ever-expanding environmental consciousness. Would taking your current already pretty green lifestyle to the next level make you profoundly unhappy? Or do you still have a ways to go before you reach your peak of green?

16 Responses to “How Green Is Too Green?”

  1. Lisa in Berlin Says:

    My green threshold is being inhospitable or ungracious in the name of environmentalism. Example: I tend to just use kitchen towels for everything instead of buying paper towels or napkins, but left my most recent houseguests in a completely awkward situation when we ate a messy meal and nobody had a napkin. At the time I was all, “Well boohoo, maybe I’m just more environmentally conscious than you,” but later realized that I was being just as annoying and lame as my vegan friends who ruin every dinner out or in because they wont eat most foods.

  2. Christa Says:

    We do the same thing, Lisa – I found cloth napkins to be the perfect compromise with the upside being that they make an evening in seem just a bit classier.

  3. Rebecca V-H Says:

    I use only cloth pads because the disposable kinds give me all sorts of rashes, especially during a humid summer. I also have a cute little plastic lined pouch with 2 sides – one for clean, one for dirty. When I get home, I just throw them in a lingerie bag and into the wash (we don’t use fabric softener, which WILL make them smell bad and absorb less). To be honest, they feel really soft on your skin (think: flannel), smell better, and aren’t that much bulkier than a pad. Also, no midnight runs to the drug store. After a while of using them, now I am squicked out by the thought of not using them ­čÖé

    You can also wash them in the sink in a pinch. It works out well if we are out hiking or traveling, I don’t have to seek out disposables which take up space and are often expensive in other countries. Then again, in these situations, I only travel with 3 pairs of quick dry antimicrobial underwear and just hand wash a pair every night.

  4. Fabrisse Says:

    Humanure is my threshold. With a cholera epidemic in Haiti, that’s kind of a little scary for me.

    On the other hand, I’ve been using all non-animal tested natural cosmetics, and skin and hair care products for nearly 30 years.

  5. The gold digger Says:

    I hang my laundry on the line to dry. I have been using cloth bags for years. I compost. I grow my own veg and I can the pears from our tree. I cook from scratch. I buy my clothes from consignment stores. (And it’s not like you can’t find fab used shoes:

    But you will take my kotex from my cold, dead hands.

  6. SusanC Says:

    Re-usable Toilet Paper. Google it- there are some people who do this for real.

    I try to use cloth instead of paper, and I compost the little paper I use. But seriously, my green threshhold stops at the toilet.

  7. Bronwyn Says:

    I second SusanC. Sounds yuk. But then again, we wash and re-use the wash cloths we use to WASH our bottoms, and there’s not really a lot of difference. Perhaps if we used soap and water as well we’d be happier about it. Our bottoms would certainly be cleaner than they are under the usual system.

    I think reusable sanitary pads are gross, but I think disposable ones are too. I quite like the idea of reusable tampons. Made of natural sponge, and you don’t even need to save them up to launder – just wash, squeeze dry, and re-insert.

    @ Lisa & Christa – did you actually give people paper table napkins to use at dinner? I do use them very occasionally, but only at picnics or big parties where I don’t have enough linen to go around. Table linen should be just that – linen. Or cotton.

    I don’t have a problem with humanure either. So long as it’s composted properly it’s perfectly safe.

    What I haven’t found a substitute for is paper kitchen towels. I only use them for draining the fat from bacon and suchlike things, but cloth just doesn’t do the same job. I do compost them though.

  8. Whitney Says:

    Living in a rental there are a lot of things I’d like to do (starting with a garden and composting and a rain barrel) that I’m banned from doing. I’m stuck with whatever energy rating is on the appliances extant in the house; about the only thing I can control there is amount of use and temperature. Given all of that we do what we can (I swear I have running, sob-inducing nightmares about drowning polar bears and it SUCKS), but I’d say the reusable pads would have to be beyond the limits. Just…ew. Right up there with Diva Cups.

    Oh, and we tried flushable cat litter, but with three of the buggers it takes forever to keep flushing in a low-flow toilet, so we just use the biodegradeable litter and toss it in a paper bag, hoping for the best.

  9. Azulao Says:

    I have no gross threshold…I’m not sure if that’s good or bad! But I spend my formative years on farms, so I’m unbelievably non-squeamish. I do try not to inflict it on others, though.

    Hey, have you heard of the Diva cup? Sheer genius.

  10. Diane Says:

    I second the Diva Cup recommendation! I’ve had one for almost a year, and I wouldn’t have a period without it. It’s comfortable, less likely to cause infection then tampons, and I’ve had far fewer leaks.

  11. KESW Says:

    My threshold keeps changing. Recently I gave up anti-perspirant, which a couple months ago I thought I could NEVER do. I’m intrigued by reusable pads or menstrual cups (I’ve used disposable menstrual cups before and really liked them), but I’ve only had about two periods since my baby was born almost a year ago.

    I think though, that anything involving grownup poop (I cloth diaper) would be above my pay grade. Do people REALLY use it as a fertilizer? That seems wrought with all sorts of sanitary issues.

  12. class factotum Says:

    Do people REALLY use it as a fertilizer?

    Well yes they do! And ag workers poop in the fields! Which is how typhoid is spread!

  13. Violet in Twilight Says:

    I spent part of my life in rural India with poop in fields and hand-washing cloth pads as a teenager. Memories of those always make me cringe as those things and teen angst are mixed up in my head. No more of those for me.

    I second (er third) Diva cup recommendation. It is not only reusable but also more comfortable and easier to clean.

    I use kitchen towels for cleaning and rarely use paper towels. Even when I do use paper towel, I wash and dry them for reuse depending on what they picked up. Also, the most water saving is in bucket showers and bucket dish washing. These would get things clean without wastage.

  14. libbyblue Says:

    Another vote for the DivaCup. Totally sanitary: you can sterilize it easily in boiling water. I haven’t had to buy a menstrual product in YEARS, which is wonderful, especially when traveling or living overseas….

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