14 Aug Let’s Chat About Sustainable Menstrual Products…
(This is a guest post from WUKA as part of our brand sponsorship programme – where we invite brands who align to our values to join us on the blog, Instagram Stories and the Monday night #EthicalHour Twitter chat. If you’d like to know more and get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
On a monthly basis, women and girls in the UK are unable to afford menstrual products and resort to using other items such as socks, tissue paper, or old t-shirts to absorb their flow.
In some cases, women are forced to decide whether to buy period products or other essential items.
Plan International UK report that 10% of girls have not been able to buy period products due to financial difficulties, whilst 15% have struggled to afford them.
Charities, organisations, and period-related businesses around the UK are fighting to tackle period poverty through education, distributing a variety of free menstrual products, tackling taboos, and raising awareness of women’s health.
But what’s the UK Government doing about it?
From September 2019, the Government have promised that they will provide free menstrual products in primary and secondary schools and colleges, due to some low-income families not being able to afford period protection.
Charities and companies such as WUKA, are working to tackle period poverty.
They have joined forces to campaign that the Government provide plastic-free and reusable items for pupils.
If the Government go ahead with their proposed plan, pupils using single-use pads and tampons will be throwing away the equivalent of 90 million plastic bags per year.
This is all the more shocking considering that the Government have already challenged schools to become plastic-free by 2022.
Yet a recent tender to provide free period products to girls in schools did not include provision for sustainable/plastic-free options.
During our ethical hour chat, Eliza (@elizaelizauk) commented “I reckon that the price and lack of knowledge would be what holds them [the Government] back. Shame.”
What the Government is failing to understand is that by supplying plastic pads and tampons, they will need to keep on supplying these products for years to come.
If the Government’s plan goes ahead then providing single-use products will reach 583,333 girls over a 2 year period.
Whereas supplying reusable products that last for many years would drastically reduce period poverty and would reach 651, 394 girls over a 2 year period.
Ella Daish joined in our #EthicalHour debate and said, ‘My thoughts are that they [the Government] should do the right thing now, rather than in 10 years time looking back and wishing they’d chosen to offer reusable products.”
What WUKA Is Fighting For?
WUKA proposes that the best way to solve period poverty in the UK using Government funding is to provide 80% period pants, 10% menstrual cups, and fulfil our mandatory obligation of supplying disposables by providing 10% as a mix of disposable but organic tampons and pads as samples to schools.
We must ensure that we are not withholding period products from girls because of a historical familiarity with disposable products.
We estimate our reusable proposal will also prevent c. 2,500 METRIC TONS of disposables from going to landfill or entering our waterways.
Period Pants For Teenagers
WUKA is ahead of the game and already sells period pants
with teenagers in mind.
The pants absorb around 4 tampons worth of blood and can be worn day or night.
The pants are perfect for sports and active lifestyles, they don’t slip or rustle like a pad or liner, and they control odour too.
Wrapping It Up
We desperately need the UK Government to hear our message – that giving away plastic pads and tampons is only going to have a negative impact on the environment, on our health, and will not end period poverty.
If you’d like to help our voice be heard then please read and
sign this petition as we fight for eco-friendly periods.
To find out how you can make the switch to eco-friendly period pants check out WUKA’s website https://wuka.co.uk/pages/faq.