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To: Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education

Plastic-free Schools need Plastic-free Periods

Over the last few months we have been ramping up the pressure on government to make sure they send plastic-free period products to schools. Over 37,000 of you lovely people signed our petition and hundreds of teachers signed our open letter.

On the back of this pressure the Department for Education responded to our concerns, saying that the successful bidder “will be required to offer environmentally-friendly sanitary pads as a minimum, and are encouraged to provide further environmentally-friendly options (such as menstrual cups or eco-friendly tampons)”.

A HUGE WIN - THANK YOU FOR USING YOUR VOICE EVERYONE!

But we wanted to know for sure what “environmentally friendly” meant so we asked Alistair Carmichael MP to submit a Written Question. The minister responsible clarified saying that they would look for products being “biodegradable” and clarified that they want some reusable products sent to schools.

We are waiting now for government to announce who has won the tender and what products they will provide, but we will make sure they live up to the promises they’ve made.

Watch this space and thanks again!

Best wishes,

Jasmine and the City to Sea team

Plastic-free Schools need Plastic-free Periods

We’re calling on the Department of Education to only purchase plastic-free period products for schools – setting young people up with products that are better for their bodies, the environment and their future.

Why is this important?

The government has made three promising commitments recently:

- To tackle period poverty by providing free period products to primary and secondary schools
- A challenge to schools to go single-use plastic free by 2022
- To eliminate unavoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042

With all three commitments in mind we want this government to commit to only purchasing period products for schools that are plastic-free or reusable. This would mean schools can offer students a range of plastic-free disposable products (tampons, pads and liners) and reusable products (menstrual cups and washable pads).

Here in the UK a staggering 4.3 billion disposable menstrual products are used every year! Many people don’t realise that most period pads (including Always, Bodyform and most supermarket own-brands) can contain up to 90% plastic – the equivalent of five plastic bags per pack of pads [1]. Most tampons also contain a thin layer of plastic. What’s more, although no period products should go down the loo, it’s estimated around 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are flushed down the toilet every day in the UK – many of which block our sewer systems and escape into our rivers and seas.

In addition to the environmental benefits of providing plastic-free period products, a reusable product option provides immense cost savings over time and reduces ‘period poverty shame’ – those who require free products find it more dignified to do so every 2-10 years, as opposed to every month. Research shows that over a lifetime an individual can save up to 94% of what would have been spent on disposable products, by switching to reusable ones.

We call on the government to use joined-up thinking in tackling these issues and commit to supplying plastic-free and reusable period products for schools.

[1] https://natracare.com/blog/how-much-plastic-in-sanitary-pads/

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Reasons for signing

  • Have been using a menstrual cup for a few months now and feel great about it!
  • because i’m not stupid
  • We are unecessarily wasting plastic where organic is the way to go.

Updates

2019-08-21 09:51:23 +0100

Petition is successful with 37,188 signatures

2019-06-10 12:27:57 +0100

20,000 signatures reached

2019-06-07 21:17:51 +0100

10,000 signatures reached

2019-06-07 14:54:28 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2019-05-22 18:43:40 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2019-05-22 15:47:05 +0100

500 signatures reached

2019-05-21 09:19:43 +0100

100 signatures reached

2019-05-20 16:20:40 +0100

50 signatures reached

2019-05-20 14:11:49 +0100

25 signatures reached

2019-05-20 12:55:12 +0100

10 signatures reached