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Campaigning for plastic free periods

There are a number of organisations doing great work to campaign against companies using plastic in menstrual products, and raising awareness can help reduce the problem through changing purchasing habits or correct disposal. Ella Daish tells us about her campaign for plastic-free periods.

Last year I took a stand against period plastic by starting an online petition to make all menstrual products plastic-free.

The petition calls on brands and supermarkets to take responsibility and make change happen by eliminating plastic in their tampons, pads, wrappers, packaging and applicators.

Popular products can contain up to 90% plastic, are used for 4-8 hours or seconds in the case of tampon applicators, and then over 500 years to break down. When flushed down the toilet they enter waterways and end up on beaches, contribute to ocean plastic and pollute the environment. 

It doesn’t have to be this way as there are numerous companies making eco-friendly alternatives, which avoid plastic and the negative environmental impacts.

When the campaign started there were no plastic-free options available in supermarkets.

The targeted actions that the campaign has taken have helped to make supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s stock eco-friendly alternatives, including reusables. This is fantastic because it gives customers long-overdue access to green choices. 

After a year of campaigning and a month of action, Procter & Gamble, owners of Tampax and Always, the biggest period brands in the UK, if not worldwide, agreed to a meeting.

I gave a 20-minute presentation, delivered the campaign signatures and had an hour-long discussion. 

They have committed to an ongoing open dialogue. It was a huge day for the campaign and shows the impact that people power and campaigns have.

The impact of this campaign hasn’t stopped at supermarkets and manufacturers. After the English Government’s announcement of period poverty funding, I have used the campaign as a platform to urge them to use the fund in a way that is also beneficial to the environment.

The government has the opportunity to achieve this by choosing eco-friendly tampons and pads, rather than the plastic filled mainstream brands.

Over the last three months, the campaign has gained over 85,000 signatures and is now has more than 192,000 supporters.

Awareness of this issue is increasing as are the number of people demanding change; it is continuing to gain momentum.

If you would like to help me on my menstrual mission to end period plastic, please sign the campaign. You can also take direct action and ditch period plastic by going green on your flow, by opting for plastic-free alternatives or reusables!

Other campaigns for plastic-free periods.

  • The Women’s Environmental Network have been campaigning using the #periodswithoutplastic. You can also find more information online on their campaign page.
  • City to Sea has been working on this issue with their #plasticfreeperiods campaign. They have loads of useful information here on their website.
  • Friends of the Earth are addressing the issue as part of their wider campaign on plastic.

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