Undergraduate Honors Thesis


How Students at the University of Colorado at Boulder Dispose of User-disposed Contraceptives and Potential Implications for the Environment Public Deposited

  • With intersex fish becoming more prominent and causing population collapse, and improper disposal causing contraceptives to wind up on beaches and killing aquatic animals, it is imperative to mitigate improper contraceptive disposal and its implications. With the intention of determining reasons for the improper disposal of contraceptives, I wrote and published a survey collecting quantitative and qualitative measurements of contraceptive use and disposal. These included questions of contraceptives used in the past year, disposal methods, and percent of the time disposed in that method compared to other methods, and the respondent’s reasoning. The survey also measured contraceptive disposal education and pertinent factors to respondents regarding contraceptive choice. A total of 138 people responded to the survey with 18% actually or claiming they would improperly dispose. Through correlation analysis, I determined that there was no statistically significant correlation between improper disposal and age, sex, or attendance at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In response to why respondents dispose in their chosen method(s), most of the people who improperly disposed cited ease or convenience as reasons, but there were others who reported they did not know what else to do. Contraceptives that were packaged with disposal instructions tended to be correctly disposed of; for example: two of the three users of the contraceptive ring properly disposed citing the instructions as their reasoning. There are typically no disposal instructions on both condom and oral contraceptive packaging. This leads me to recommend two actions to decrease improper contraceptive disposal: increased exposure to disposal education, and clearly indicating the proper disposal for contraceptives on their packaging.
Date Awarded
  • 2018-01-01
Academic Affiliation
Committee Member
Granting Institution
Last Modified
  • 2019-12-02
Resource Type
Rights Statement


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