The Environmentally Conscious Condom Consumer

March 13, 2013

Birds and Bees

A (tongue-in-cheek, all-puns-intended) guide to eco-friendly action
By Robert Sobel

Being an environmentally aware citizen in the 21st century is a tricky business. Many aspects of daily life are plagued with ethical conflicts: What sort of food should I eat? Which shampoo do I buy? Is it wise to use an entire tissue to blow my nose, or should I rip it in half? But one topic rarely gets the attention it deserves: biodegradable condoms. In conjunction with this year’s Green Issue, we wanted to dispel common misconceptions about condoms, while simultaneously offering alternative solutions to a global concern.

According to several reliable sources, flushing condoms down the toilet is a big mistake. One very real possibility from choosing this method of disposal is that it can clog your pipes. It’s not going to be a fun time for either you or your plumber when he has to excavate a gummed-up condom from the innermost depths of your commode. Even if it doesn’t clog your toilet, some unfortunate soul might have to physically extract it from the sewage treatment plant. Theoretically, if the condom makes it past the treatment plant, it could float around in the water supply, and that’s not good for anyone! Instead, it is recommended that you wrap the condom in some tissue—or if you want to get creative, use newspaper—and simply place the article in your trashcan. That way, it can safely decompose at the landfill.

If you have sex in the woods, it’s not a good idea to dispose of your condoms by burying them. The woods serve as a home for a wide array of different animals, and a lot of those animals have a phenomenal sense of smell. It is likely that one creature or another will smell the Homo sapien aroma of your condom and dig it up.
This isn’t particularly healthy for the animal, and it’s certainly an eyesore for other outdoorsmen and women who are just trying to enjoy a little fresh air and scenery. Once again, professionals say it’s best to put your condoms in a trashcan if there is one. If there isn’t, put them in a Ziploc bag and carry them with you until there’s an appropriate receptacle to properly dispose of them.

Vegan condoms are also a respectable option for the environmentally conscious consumer. One of the more popular choices is the Glyde condom. According to its website, Glyde is “the only truly vegan-friendly condom ever to be certified by The Vegan Society, PeTA, Caring Consumer program and Ethiquette.” Lambskin condoms, which are completely biodegradable, are another option. However, lambskin only helps to prevent pregnancy, but does not provide protection from STDs.

In closing, there are more sophisticated ways in which to dispose of used condoms—in addition to a variety of brands that offer healthy and organic alternatives. But just because one globally positive lifestyle choice is made, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep making more. The environmental website recommends not only that you switch to vegan condoms, but that you get in the habit of turning the lights off when you’re with your partner. That way, you can conserve electricity as well.

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