While the Fulcrum’s latest sex-ydition and the Recycle Mania waste-free challenge that are plaguing my mind of late, I have to pose the question:
“Environmentally friendly sex; is it possible?” Let me rephrase, “is environmentally friendly, baby-free, safe sex possible?”
The pill, one of the most popular prescriptions on university campuses, can be used to effectively prevent pregnancy and if you’re in a committed relationship where both partners are tested negative for STIs, it may be appropriate. Though, as recently covered in the media, the estrogen in the pill is causing the feminization of fish and also, those plastic cases aren’t recyclable in your regular recycling (they are in our campus plastics program though).
Condoms, sitting out in front of Health Promo (if you are interested in some freebees) for the campus population, are also effective in preventing pregnancy and the transmission of STIs. However, the environmental impacts of producing them and the end result pose a problem because though latex condoms are biodegradable, the lubricant alters their ability to decompose. Furthermore, the packages are non-recyclable.
The lambskin condom, fully biodegradable and adept in preventing pregnancy (but not protective against STIs) are an alternative. The condoms are manufactured out of sheep intestine which poses an ethical problem to some environmentalists and the packaging- still not recyclable folks.
Non-hormone, female-controlled birth control (particular product I found called the Fem Cap) which can prevent pregnancy, and apparently STIs with the use of a microbicide (this proved hard to research). It’s made of silicone which will eventually have to be thrown out but the lack of hormones makes the fishes happy.
Just pull out; uhmm- I am not even going to get into the lecture your health teacher should have had with you in grade school. Though environmentally friendly, this is NOT an effective means of preventing pregnancy or STIs!
Ugh, I tried. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to combat this issue let me know. Until then, it will be like the organic vs. local debate I always have with myself.
~merissa - campus sustainability coordinator
photo credit - jonathan rausseo