Well, not actually green. That's nasty. But in honor of Earth Day, there are ways to make a vagina happier, healthier, and environmentally friendlier.
Let's talk numbers.
The average length of actual menstrual blood coming out of a fertile woman's body is 5 days a menstrual month, which is 28 days (guys, stop making that face). That's 65 days a calendar year (a little over 2 months). Let's say a woman goes to pee about 5 times a day. This all depends on how much one drinks, but I think we can agree this is a reasonable average. It's fairly typical to change your tampon or pad every time you pee. So, that's 5 x 65, and you get 325 discarded female sanitary items a year, per woman.
The average time of being fertile, ages 12-55, is 43 years of a woman's life. The UN life expectancy average for women in the world is 69.5, so let's just round that up to 70-years-old. Therefore, fertile women make up 61% of the female population. And if there's an equal amount of men and women, then they make up about 30.5% of the world's population.
As of April 23, 2010, the human population of the world is estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be 6,816,500,000, so that makes 2,079,032,500 menstruating people. If every one of those people used a disposable sanitary napkin (x 325), that would be 675,685,562,500 disposed sanitary napkins in ONE year. Now, many women in developing countries probably don't have modern luxuries, and probably just have to resort to a cloth that is rewashed. Even if we say that only 15% of the world is "highly developed" and have the luxury of sanitary options, that's still 101,354,834,375. That's over A HUNDRED BILLION discarded sanitary pads or tampons per year.
So if you're still saying, "I don't have a vagina, so why should I care," that should help bring things into perspective. You should also know that even if you don't have one, you probably still like them, and there's a lot of questionable products out there.
The average maxi-pad or tampon is chlorine bleached, which releases toxins into the environment when made, and could also leaves residuals in your or your loved ones vagina. Gross. No one wants a toxic vagina. The dioxins used in chlorine bleaching get stored in the fat in our bodies and never, ever go away. They just accumulate with time. And yes, they are carcinogenic.
Maxi-pads are increasingly being made with plastics ... enough said.
Now, before I get all gloom and doom environmentalist on you, I want to say there are products out there that are cheaper and better for you. NatraCare and Seventh Generation have a number of environmentally and health friendly tampons and pads. Their prices are equivalent to O.B. or Kotex, sometimes even less. Personally, I could never do it, but you can go old school style and do the "glad rag" reusable maxi-pad. Then there's something that I haven't tried yet but looks awesome called the "MoonCup" or "The Keeper", which is a latex or silicone reusable insert that only costs about $30, but can last you ten years! My friends swear by them. Not to mention they're ultimately cheaper, more convenient, and don't cause toxic shock syndrome. If I had known about it sooner, it also would have made that camping trip where I had to burn my tampons in the public fire surrounded by 7 men (including my brother and my dad), a little bit less awkward.
There's a number of different reasons why people don't go enviro on this topic. The first is convenience. Natracare and similar products aren't typically carried at chain pharmacies, and, as women know, you often just gotta go for what's available. One thing to do is fight to get these healthier kinds of products on supermarket shelves.
Everyone also has a different relationship with her who-ha. My biggest bone to pick is with people who use applicators. Obviously these women use tampons so they don't have some sort of religious or health reason for non-insertion options, but there's also a certain level of discomfort with touching "down there." Applicators are a waste of packaging and paper. God gave you a finger, ladies, you can use it (just wash your hands).
And as for the vagina lovers out there, you can always get your girl the gift of an awesome box-set of organic tampons and pads. Frankly, it's in your best interest to make her vagina green, too.