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How much plastic is hiding in your period products?

As Plastic Free July comes to an end, new research reveals that British women are angered by the levels of plastic found within many period products.

WHAT A WASTE

When was the last time you investigated the ingredients in your period products? Chances are, you haven’t. And why would you? But with no regulation on listing ingredients in period products, it turns out 44% of women aren’t aware quite how much plastic goes into traditional period products.

And understandably this makes women feel angry. The new research commissioned by the team at DAME, which canvassed the opinions of 1,025 women, reveals that 30% of women are angry at the high-level usage of the non-biodegradable material.

30% of women are angry at the high-level usage of the non-biodegradable material

For example, the average pack of period pads contains the same amount of plastic as FOUR single-use plastic bags. This fact alone led 43% of women to agree that things ‘need to change.’

The new research suggests that women want to know what goes into their period products, to empower them to make sustainable choices when shopping. Consumers increasingly want and expect transparency from the brands they buy from, when it comes to sustainability.

The average pack of period pads contains the same amount of plastic as FOUR single-use plastic bags.

CALL FOR CHANGE

Let’s be clear: this plastic waste is not the fault of the consumer. This is about calling out the major period brands that continue to manufacture millions of period products filled with undeclared plastics.

A demand for change is emerging from the younger generation, with 16% of British mothers revealing that their child wants to use sustainable health and beauty products, and a higher level of 16–24-year-olds (37%) actively avoiding health and beauty products that have a negative impact on the environment.

However, the 16-24 year old age group are most likely to believe that most tampons (16%), pads and liners (20%) are biodegradable, and 17% think that most period products don’t contain plastic. It’s clear that there’s a knowledge gap where younger women might not realise what is going into the products they regularly use.

THE END OF THE PLASTIC PERIOD

With the level of innovation within the period product space, having a plastic free period is easier than ever thanks to reusable period products, such as the reusable applicator, reusable period pads and the menstrual cup.

After inventing the world’s first reusable period applicator in 2018, DAME is on a mission to make periods positive for people and the planet.

“There’s just no excuse for loading period products with hidden plastic,” says DAME co-founder Celia Pool.

“It might be cheaper for the manufacturer but it comes at a GREAT cost to the planet. These brands need to take responsibility for the mountains of waste produced every month.

“I think there should also be legislation around period product ingredients. If you arm the consumer with all the facts, they can make their own decisions. But greenwashing products to appear eco-friendly, while in truth packing them with plastic, is deceptive and wrong.”

THE FUTURE IS GREEN

Pool is convinced that young girls can be role models for change when it comes to demanding plastic-free products. A DAMEchanger ambassador, Katie Hudson, 16, runs a school period equality group, called Code Red, aimed at changing the narrative around period shame stigma and supporting period dignity.

During lockdown, the group helped around 50 families at the school by continuing to provide period products to those in need.

The Fife schoolgirl, who is taking part in a DAME summer workshop looking at the future of environmentally friendly products, says: “I had a real lack of awareness in this topic before I got involved in the group but once we started to discuss periods, openly, and learned about the environmentally friendly alternatives it sparked something.

“Girls in my school now feel more comfortable talking about things that they might not have been comfortable sharing before and I have gone on to educate my friends in, and out of school, about period poverty, dignity and the environmental impacts.

“You will be surprised who is affected by period poverty - I was.”

BLEED RED, THINK GREEN

DAME is determined that women and people who menstruate should have plenty of choice when it comes to their periods. As a company, we stand firm against the greenwashing of big corporations that intentionally market ‘eco’ products filled with hidden plastics and other toxins.

Calculate how much plastic waste is in your period products using the DAME period waste calculator HERE.

Notes: The research for DAME was carried out online by Opinion Matters throughout 15.07.2021 to 19.07.2021 amongst a panel resulting in 1,025 women responding. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

DAME Reusable Pad Set

DAME Reusable Period Pad

DAME Reusable Applicator Set