Owing to a culture of silence surrounding menstruation, menstrual items are a form of single use plastic that have to date remained unspoken of. However the environmental impact cannot be ignored.
Menstrual pads contain up to 90% plastic, and a big-brand pack of 14 menstrual pads contains the same amount of plastic as 5 carrier bags. Tampon applicators, once cardboard are now more commonly plastic. And where once individual tampons were wrapped in paper, they are now wrapped in soft plastic.
The average woman will use 12,000 to 16,000 disposable feminine hygiene products in her lifetime and it can take hundreds of years for a plastic pad or applicator to break down.
As well as contributing to the use of single use plastic and the impacts that has in terms of climate change, disposable menstrual items are also a pollution and litter issue.
Menstrual products are currently the 5th most common item found on European beaches – more widespread than single-use coffee cups, cutlery or straws.