Babies. Gotta love 'em! I have two kids and they rock. I wouldn't want a world without them. But what if you don't want to hear the pitter-patter of little carbon footprints right now? As a wannabee eco-warrior, what are your options for contraception? Hormonal injections? The IUD? The Pill? Uh uh. We're talking animal testing, the pollution of our water and the resulting harm to wildlife, so that's a no go. Condoms? Well sure, I guess, but if you're trying to reduce your impact on the environment then of course not!
Here's the facts: Condoms are made either from latex or polyurethane. Polyurethane condoms are made of a type of non-biodegradable plastic and are to be avoided if you're concerned about pollution because pollute they will. For a long, long time.
Latex is a slightly better option but still takes years to biodegrade. They shoot out of our sewerage systems and bob up and down, obscenely, in the ocean for decades. On top of that, condoms are coated with chemicals, stabilizers, preservatives and hardening agents (vulvanisers).
Furthermore, latex is derived from rubber and so added to the vile impact of the finished product, there's also the monstrous damage to rubber trees, and the exploitation of rubber plantation workers during the production process. Although The French Letter Company
is trying to do their bit against worker exploitation by trading in Fair Deal Trade
Or, you could use biodegradable condoms
but the drawback is that they aren't effective against STD's so are no good if you like to get out and about.
The bottom line is that condoms are convenient and they're going to be around until someone comes up with a better solution. What you can do to minimize their impact is:
+ Don't flush them -- they clog water treatment plants and the waste water sometimes runs directly into the environment.
+ If you're in a monogamous relationship, have yourself and your partner tested for STD's and then switch to sheepskin condoms.
Of course you could refrain from penetrative sex and start getting seriously creative in bed but I guess not everybody will buy into that option.
Wendy Davidson is a writer for GreenDaily.com, where this article originally appeared.