Is Durex biodegradable? (7 examples of eco-friendly condoms) 

In this article, it shall be known whether Durex is biodegradable or not. Other related aspects covered in the article will be: 

  • What is Durex?
  • What are sexually transmitted diseases?
  • Why is birth control important?
  • What is biodegradability?
  • Why should Durex be biodegradable?
  • What are the environmental impacts of Durex?
  • Is Durex recyclable?
  • Are there any eco-friendly condoms?
  • FAQs

Is Durex biodegradable?

No, Durex is not biodegradable. Durex is made from isoprene which is a synthetic material which can not be degraded by microbes and hence it may persist in the environment for a very long time. 

Durex is linked to positive effects on health such as protection against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. 

However, the use of isoprene in Durex leads to negative environmental impacts such as accumulation of waste, global warming, climate change, damage to crops, and several health risks.

What is Durex?

Durex is a condom. A Condom is a highly effective way to protect against birth control and sexually transmitted diseases. 

The production of Durex dates back to 1915 when it was founded by the London Rubber Company. 

Durex is an easily available product which is rather inexpensive. Durex can be bought usually without a prescription; however, you may need to validate that you are 18 plus. 

What are sexually transmitted diseases? 

Sexually transmitted diseases are diseases which are transferred from an infected person to a healthy (non-infected) person through sexual intercourse. 

Te drivers of sexually transmitted diseases can be bacteria, viruses and parasites. 

The occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases is becoming a global concern because each year, a staggering amount of people are affected by these sexually transmitted diseases. 

Some examples of these sexually transmitted diseases may be:

  • AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)  
  • Pubic lice
  • Syphilis 
  • Chlamydia 
  • Genital herpes 
  • HPV 

As mentioned, sexually transmitted diseases have become a global concern because each year more and more people are infected by such diseases. 

As per studies, it is excavated that every day almost one million people are affected by sexually transmitted diseases. Each year, there are approximately 374 million of these infections which mainly affect teenagers. 

Owing to these grave impacts, science and technology have resorted to reducing the occurrence of such diseases and condoms are one of those measures. 

What is biodegradability?

Biodegradability is the ability to be degraded by the action of microbes. It is the earth’s natural and sustainable way to deal with waste. 

Biodegradability is important because it makes sure that no waste is left in the environment to persist because otherwise, the accumulated waste will cause harm to life and the environment. 

Regarding biodegradability, there is a general understanding which is that natural substances are easily and more prone to degradation by microbes as compared to man-made substances. 

The structures of man-made substances render the microbes unable to degrade them and as result, they persist in the environment for a very long time. 

This causes negative impacts on life and the environment. These impacts can be: 

  • Pollution 
  • Habitat destruction 
  • Loss of life
  • Species endangerment 
  • Infiltration in the food chain 
  • Health risk 
  • Global warming 
  • Acid rain 
  • Deforestation 
  • Soil erosion 

These are some of the impacts created by the existence of non-biodegradable waste and that is why it is important that consumers and people prefer those substances that are more prone to the natural process of biodegradation. 

Why should Durex be biodegradable?

We have already discussed the importance and applications of biodegradability. In this section, we will explore more on why the biodegradability of Durex is important. 

The current waste generation stands at staggering figures. Every year 2 billion tons of waste are added to the environment. More than 40% of this waste is disposed of in improper ways that create more problems for all of us. 

Now imagine, if out of the 2 billion tons of waste produced, more amounts of it are not able to degrade and may persist in the environment for as long as a thousand years. What do you think will happen?

The waste management systems will become exhausted whereas the land and resources needed to manage the waste will run out. Resultantly, the earth’s ability to sustain life will be degraded and all the species will be pushed one step further towards global catastrophe and extinction. 

Even in the case of Durex, it is claimed that around one thousand Durex condoms are sold every minute while the global market of Durex may rise up to 11 billion dollars. Therefore, the biodegradability of Durex is important because otherwise, the stress on waste management authorities and the world, in general, would increase many times. 

Is Durex biodegradable? 

In order to excavate whether Durex is biodegradable or not, it is important to know what Durex is made from. It is known that if a product is made from man-made substances then it usually is not biodegradable. 

However, if a product is made from natural substances then it can be degraded by microbes and as a result, the product would not persist in the environment for hundreds of years. 

For example, cotton clothes are made from naturally derived cotton which is plant-based. As a result, it is biodegradable but polymers are man-made substances which are not biodegradable and may take hundreds of years to degrade. 

As per studies, it is claimed that condoms usually are made from latex or plastic materials. These materials can be polyisoprene and polyurethane. The choice is made so that the functions of condoms can be achieved. 

Durex is made from high-technology isoprene which can withstand up to 18-40 litres of air without being compromised in any way. 

Isoprene is a hydrocarbon which is obtained from petroleum. Isoprene is termed the basic unit of synthetic rubbers. 

Since Durex is made from synthetic materials which do not gel well with the microbes’ ability to degrade, Durex is non-biodegradable and may persist in the environment for a very long time. 

What are the environmental impacts of Durex?

Although Durex offers medical advantages of birth control and protection from sexually transmitted diseases, Durex also causes some negative impacts on the environment. 

Durex is made from isoprene which makes Durex not biodegradable. As a result, the waste produced from Durex, (around 1000 products every day) will persist in the environment for hundreds of years. 

This span of time will cause stress on the environment and also on the waste management authorities. It will also degrade the earth’s ability to sustain life because the accumulated waste will act as an obstruction. 

Durex is made from isoprene which is a toxic greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases are linked to global warming and several other weather-related anomalies such as abnormal weather patterns, rise in sea levels, habitat destruction, floods and drought. 

Isoprene can react with some pollutants and may form aerosols and ground-level ozone. This leads to health complications, damage to crops, and of course, climate change. 

Is Durex recyclable? 

We have already discussed that Durex is not biodegradable, the very next question that may arise in your mind is whether Durex is recyclable or not. 

The answer, unfortunately, is no. Durex is not recyclable and is intended for single use only. This is another reason why scientists should consider the manufacture of eco-friendly condoms which do not persist in the environment for a very long time.

Are there any eco-friendly condoms? (7 examples of eco-friendly condoms) 

Yes, there are eco-friendly condoms as well which can also be biodegradable. These condoms are made from natural latex instead of relying on plastic-based materials to achieve the utilitarian value of condoms. 

Some examples of eco-friendly condoms and lubricants are: 

  • GLYDE Ultra thin condoms 
  • Sustain natural ultra thin condoms 
  • Lovability condoms 
  • Unique plus latex-free condoms 
  • Sliquid water (water-based lubricant) 
  • Sutil luxe original formula
  • Aloe Cadabra Lubricant 

Why is birth control important?

We have discussed that Durex is primarily used for birth control and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. We have discussed why the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases needs to be reduced but you must wonder what is the importance of birth control. 

As per studies, the current world population stands at around 7.8 billion people and this number is expected to rise to 11 billion by the next decade. These numbers are already causing enough pressure on the earth as its carrying capacity is being put to test. 

Studies have shown that if the population increase is not put to check then the results can be quite devastating because all the resources would run out and humanity would be left to starve and suffer. 

That is why it is important to have birth control because it is a very fundamental way to check the world’s population. 

Among the various endeavours intended to achieve this milestone, many countries have made certain laws that promote birth control. The one-child policy of China can be taken into account in this regard. 

Another way to achieve birth control is by the use of condoms because the use of condoms, like Durex, ensures birth control. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that Durex is made from isoprene which is a synthetic material and hence Durex is not biodegradable. 

Durex is linked to positive effects on health such as protection against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. 

However, the use of isoprene in Durex leads to negative environmental impacts such as accumulation of waste, global warming, climate change, damage to crops, and several health risks. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Durex biodegradable? 

What are vegan condoms?

Vegan condoms are condoms which are made without any animal byproduct. They can be as effective as other available condoms if used correctly. 

What materials are used in biodegradable condoms?

Latex and lambskin are usually used to make biodegradable condoms which are termed as eco-friendly. These they source from natural materials, they can be degraded in a short span of time. 

References 

  • Nanthini, J., & Sudesh, K. (2017). Biodegradation of natural rubber and natural rubber products by Streptomyces sp. strain CFMR 7. Journal of Polymers and the Environment, 25(3), 606-616.
  • Mechen, B. (2017). “Closer together”: Durex condoms and contraceptive consumerism in 1970s Britain. In Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (pp. 213-236). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
  • Ro, Lauren. (January 28, 2020). The Best Eco-Friendly Condoms and Lubes, According to Sex Experts. Retrieved from: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-organic-vegan-condoms-lube.html

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