The programme raises awareness of, and normalises the use of, reusable menstrual items, with the aim of increasing use of reusable and plastic-free menstrual items in Ireland, in place of disposables, in line with the move towards a circular economy.
No Plastic. Period. brings about attitudinal and behavioural change in young people.
The programme focuses on highlighting positives around the use of reusable menstrual items, such as cost savings compared to disposables, and their convenience of use, rather than focusing on the negatives of disposables.
It aims to raise awareness in young people of the full range of menstrual options available to them, so they are empowered to make informed decisions, instead of continuing to view disposable pads and tampons as their only options. The longer-term goal is to normalise the use of reusable menstrual items and bring them from the fringe and into the mainstream.
Why raise awareness of reusable menstrual items?
Menstruation is a healthy part of life experienced at some point during their lifetime by over 50% of the population of Ireland. Additionally, years of shame surrounding this normal bodily function has led to a lot of confusion when it comes to the range of menstruation products available, and dependence on disposable menstruation items has led to stark environmental damage:
- Disposable menstrual items are the 5th most commonly littered product found on European beaches.
- Menstrual items are a substantial source of single-use plastic. Menstrual pads contain up to 90%plastic, and a big-brand pack of 14 menstrual pads contains the same amount of plastic as 5carrier bags!
- A person uses between 12,000 and 16,000 menstrual items in their life, making disposable menstrual items a huge source of single-use plastic.
While reusable alternatives in the forms of menstrual cups, period pants and cloth pads are currently available for use, their uptake is low. This programme aims to increase the uptake of these reusable options and support the move away from single-use disposable menstrual items.
The target audience for the programme.
The programme is focused on raising awareness of reusable menstrual items in young people, aged 12 to23.
This age group has been selected as they are at the very beginning of their menstruation and so anymove from disposables to reusables will have a bigger impact by changing lifetime behaviour.
Focusing on the positives!
The No Plastic. Period. programme is keen to focus on the positives the shift to reusables brings to our lives, rather than focusing on the negatives of disposables! For example, using reusable menstrual items is a great way to tackle period poverty as they are much more cost-effective than disposables, they also can be worn for much longer than disposable pads and tampons, making them really convenient! The programme also provides information on their use and cleaning.
This project is funded under the EPA Research Programme 2021-2030. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
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