20,000 signatures reached
To: Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education
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 . 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.