Dal Gender and Women's Studies Collective

Keeping sex green

Have you ever thought about how much waste having sex generates? Is it bad for the environment to behave like bunnies? Emma Graf from Sir Richard’s blog gives her opinion.

You’ve had a little fun between the sheets (or perhaps without sheets) and now you’ve got a used a condom to deal with.  What to do?  Most would say, “Oh just flush it and the problem goes away!”  This is definitely not the proper way to dispose of your used Love Glove.  This brings up a lesson that is one of my favorites from Environmentalism: There is no “away” and everything has to end up somewhere.

Why can’t you toss your condom in the toilet?  There are a couple good reasons to consider before pushing that handle down. First, depending on your plumbing, your waste could go to one of a couple places.  If you have a septic tank, then that is where the condoms will collect, not a good thing.  On the other hand, if your water goes to a water treatment facility, some poor employee must now sift through something you’re not even that happy to be handling after use. Latex isn’t meant to go down these pipes and could create one big mess of a clog. Again, not such a good thing.

Even worse, if your condom makes it into the waterways, there is a number of pretty bad things that could happen.  Latex is biodegradable, however, it cannot breakdown when in water, which means it ends up staying in the waterways for a long, long time.  Even though it feels like ridding yourself of the problem is only a flush away, this method of disposal has too many problems.

What’s a sexually, environmentally and plumbing conscious person to do?  Certainly, the answer is not to discontinue use of your condoms.  They work so hard to protect you from so many things, including non-environmentally friendly STIs and the ever-growing expense of a baby.  And although environmentalists pride themselves on reuse of many things, remember to never reuse a condom.  Latex condoms are a once and done item, not for reusing.

As of now, the best way to dispose of a used condom is to trash it.  Yes, I know.  This doesn’t seem ideal.  Couldn’t we compost them or something?  Unfortunately, no.  Though latex and certain bodily fluids are biodegradable, the condom may have trace amounts of things you wouldn’t want in your compost.  Additionally, the human body fluids may attract unwanted animals and pests to your compost pile.

So, wrap that championed Jimmy Hat in some toilet paper, paper towel, or anything paper and throw it in the trash can.


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