Plastic-free periods and other projects you should know about
Written by Elspeth Harry
During these times of uncertainty, we feel it is important to take some time to reflect and celebrate the positive work individuals are carrying out all over the world. 2019 was a great year in terms of sustainability efforts and we’ve decided to share some of our favourite projects carried out in the UK with you.
If you’d like to be learn more about these types of projects, please let us know and we’ll continue to bring you the best sustainability projects from all over the world.
Periods without Plastic
Natracare, the organic plastic-free and vegan-friendly period product, are shaking up the period protection industry. Despite a big focus on going plastic free, sanitary products are often overlooked. There are over 45 billion menstrual products being used each year, and with pads being made up of around 90% plastic, it’s not difficult to work out why the unnecessary use of plastic in these products is negatively affecting our marine life and coastline!
“Plastic is made from non-renewable fossil fuels and the production of plastic releases frightening amounts of toxic pollution, contributing to global warming. Any plastic that doesn’t end its life polluting landfill or the environment is incinerated which releases even more toxic pollutants”. (Natracare, 2020)
You may be wondering how sanitary products have managed to slip under the plastic-free revolution radar? Surprisingly, there is no legal obligation for manufacturers to list ingredients on the packaging; therefore, there is a world of unseen plastics and chemicals in our sanitary products. In response to this, Natracare aim to empower women with a knowledge of what’s in their products.
According to The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) an average of 4.8 pieces of period plastic can be found per 100 meters of beach in the UK. Natracare teamed up with the MCS to launch a plastic period protest march on Brighton beachfront, coinciding with #PlasticFreeJuly. This campaign was an effort to support their fight against unnecessary period plastics.
Alongside the MCS, Natracare also teamed up with Ella Daish (plastic free period campaigner) and not-for-profit organisation City to Sea to push for plastic-free options of period products offered in schools. Congratulations to all the brilliant women, companies and individuals who continue this ongoing campaign to create a less harmful period product industry! Celebrate your #PeriodPower and support the “Periods without Plastic” campaign today.
Plastic vs Period Statistics
- 1 conventional pack of pads contain the equivalent to 4 plastic bags.
- Millions of menstrual products are flushed down the toilet every day; 1.4 million menstrual pads; 2.5 mill tampons; 700,000 panty liners.
- A woman will buy between 5,000-15,000 sanitary pads/tampons over the course of her lifetime.
- Synthetic fragrances, often used in sanitary towels, can be made from up to 3,900 chemicals.
Let’s Talk Trees
Continued funding cuts to council park budgets – including tree maintenance, has urged The Woodland Trust (TWT) to take action. Their latest scheme aims to create a greener city in Bristol with a target to double the city’s canopy cover by 2050. Experts suggest that, currently at 15%, increasing canopy cover to 30% would “help combat climate change and air pollution, protect biodiversity and promote health and wellbeing” (Countryfile, 2019).
The Woodland Trust called on local businesses and citizens to pledge their support for this project in a number of ways:
1.Post a tree selfie with the hashtag #talkingtreesbristol
3.Plant or sponsor a tree
4.Sign the tree charter
5.Corporate tree sponsorship
6.Businesses can encourage staff to get involved with the campaign
“By working together, we can protect our urban trees and create a legacy for future generations.” (Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor)
A number of partners are backing this ambitious goal. The Forest of Avon Trust have planted over a million trees whilst also running projects such as ‘Woodland Wellbeing’ and ‘Forest School’. Bristol Tree Forum aim to protect trees and assist in managing those on public lands. Their ‘One Tree Per Child’ programme also encourages the planting of trees in schools, parks, etc. All of the latter partners, as well as Bristol City Council, are working with TWT to develop a tree strategy for Bristol with plans to expand this across the rest of the UK.
We would just like to say a huge thank you to The Woodland Trust and partners who have managed to plant over a million trees! Now more than ever people are beginning to realise how much we take wildlife for granted, especially in times as uncertain as these, often giving little or no thought to how trees get there or who maintains them.