Period products are unquestionably a huge global environmental problem. However, their plastic content is unnecessary and the environmental impacts avoidable, which is why in 2018 I launched the #EndPeriodPlastic campaign. It calls on manufacturers and supermarkets to remove plastic from their period products, as it is crucial that we eliminate it at source.
In the first year, decision makers didn’t take me very seriously; they probably thought that I would disappear with their long emails and excuses. Unfortunately for them, this wasn’t the case. Persistence and tireless campaigning, the increasing momentum and the help of thousands of people has paid off, taking the campaign to new heights. It has received overwhelmingly positive support across the globe, and has now reached over 207,000 signatures.
The movement is leading to significant changes in the period industry, with manufacturers and retailers coming to the table to openly engage and take on board the steps the campaign is calling on them to make. To date, it has resulted in UK retailers Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Superdrug removing plastic tampon applicators from their own-brand products. Half of those targeted by this campaign have now taken this step, a move collectively saving over 17 tons of plastic annually.
Prior to the petition there was limited choice. I remember going into my local supermarket to find eco-friendly alternatives, but there weren’t any; it was either plastic or plastic. Now thanks in part to the campaign, most stock a range of eco-friendly tampons and pads as well as reusables like menstrual cups. Lil-lets and Superdrug have responded to the campaign by developing their own eco-friendly ranges too. With steps like this being taken, it will make these options more visible and accessible to people.