An Uncomfortable Topic

Period Product Waste

Now that 2018 has arrived and in the light of the new year, I wanted to write and hopefully educate on a topic that most people find uncomfortable: periods and the waste produced by period products.

If you are a male or someone who thinks that this post doesn’t apply to them or that they shouldn’t read any further, you couldn’t be more wrong. As a person in general, it is your responsibility to educate whenever possible. Say you’re a father and you just had a baby girl... Well, at some point that girl is going to get her period. This is a topic that shouldn’t be ignored by anyone. Recently, I was browsing through Facebook and a post caught my attention. Jim Stelmacker, a resident of Port Alberni, came across an unsightly view whilst walking the trail to the bird sanctuary, located across the Somass river. When walking the trail, you have to pass the Sewage Lagoon; with permission, I have posted the pictures of what he found below.

Not only is this a disturbing sight to see while walking around our beautiful home town but it also brings up the question, "How under-educated are women?" Growing up, I was apparently one of the lucky ones that was taught that absolutely nothing but biodegradable waste and toilet paper goes in the toilet. Never in my life would I have imagined that ladies would flush not only the tampon itself but also the plastic or cardboard applicator. If not for the possibility of embarrassment, if the toilet were to clog but, also because of the impact on the environment. At my house we had a private sewage tank that needed to be emptied, so in my adolescent mind I was embarrassed at the idea of the attendant finding any of my products in the tank. (Later finding out that is not exactly how they empty the tanks).

As of July 1, 2014, Canada’s population was composed of slightly more females than males, at 17.9 million and 17.6 million. I know that those statistics aren’t up to date but it gives you a general idea of how many women there are in Canada. That is a lot of feminine products sold and perhaps discarded improperly. According to in 2014, Canadian women between the ages of 12 and 49 spent an estimated $519,976,963 on menstrual hygiene products.

Now imagine you only had to buy one product replacing it between every two to four years. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well I’d like to introduce the Diva Cup. While still being made out of plastic, it is an impressive alternative to tampons and pads. I myself wish that someone had come up with the idea and educated me about it when I was young; it would have saved me from some very embarrassing moments. I think this product is wonderful and hopefully offers a solution to period product environmental problem as well as the problem of period product access around the world.

In short, anyone who is menstruating and flushing their products down the toilet, please stop! Either put your feminine waste in the garbage (where it will still end up in the ground in our landfills) or switch to a better alternative. I know some ladies are grossed out by the idea of a Diva Cup but, it is such a small thing to overcome to help solve such a big problem.

Thanks for reading!

View of Catalyst Mill & Sewage Lagoon - Port Alberni, B.C

Tampon applicators among other trash, washed up on the bank of Sewage Lagoon.

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An Uncomfortable Topic
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