Rubber the right way: Ask Umbra on green condoms
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Q. Dear Umbra,
As newlyweds, my husband and I are still exploring all the different condom options out there. We recently switched to Sliquid Organic lubricant versus KY, and we want the condoms we use to be “safe” in every way too — for our bodies and the planet. I’ve found two brands: Sir Richard’s at about $0.97/condom, and Beyond Seven at about $0.57/condom. Price-wise, the answer is obvious, but what’s really the better eco-friendly option?
Baton Rouge, La.
Photo: MorganA. Dearest Allison,
You’ve unwrapped an issue that’s bigger than condoms (but let’s start there). If you and your hubby are vegans, or interested in buying animal-free products when possible, Sir Richard’s is your rubber. Its condoms are made of natural latex and without the milk protein casein. Plus, it’s been heralded as the Tom’s of condoms. Like the philanthropic hipster shoe company, Sir Richard’s donates a condom to a developing country for each one you buy. How’s that for getting warm fuzzies and hot and bothered?
There are other ethical and vegan condoms out there too. U.K. company French Letter makes fair trade condoms — and who knew such a thing even existed? The company uses rubber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and through Fair Deal Trading, it pays a premium for rubber so laborers get a fair wage. It sounds like French Letter’s condoms are also vegan and carbon-neutral, making them a swell option for our friends across the pond as they lie back and think of England.
But wait, there’s more! Oil Spill Condoms are not only funny (“drill deep and don’t spill a drop!”) but your purchase also supports Gulf cleanup efforts. Endangered Species Condoms raise … awareness, specifically about how human overpopulation is harming other species.
Glyde makes vegan condoms in flavors like vanilla and black licorice; back in the U.K., Condomi’s vegan offerings taste like chocolate, tutti frutti, or spearmint. Whichever glove you pick, just don’t flush it.
You specifically inquired about pitting Sir Richard’s and Beyond Seven head-to-head (as it were), but have you considered other contraceptive options that incur less waste? Currently popular in my circles is the intrauterine device (the ol’ IUD), which can be good for up to a decade if you pick the copper, hormone-free option — with no little plastic wrappers to repeatedly throw away. (IUDs, it must be noted, won’t prevent the spread of HIV or STIs.) And while you’re making your bedroom safer for your bodies and our ecosystem, you might also want to eradicate any sex toys with icky vinyl or phthalates in them (like blow-up dolls and soft plastic vibrators).
Allison, congrats on your nuptials, and for wanting to have safe, green sex. With the population nearing 7 billion, preventing unwanted pregnancy and considering a childfree lifestyle should be high on everyone’s hot list.