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EU Plastics Directive an Opportunity to Tackle Menstrual Poverty - Lynn Boylan MEP

31 August, 2018 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Fein MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan has said that the EU Single Use Plastics Directive presents a real opportunity to promote the use of reusable sanitary products.

The promotion of reusable, sustainable sanitary products would not only reduce plastic waste but would also help tackle menstrual poverty.

Ms Boylan said;

“The Single Use Plastics Directive aims to reduce the impact of plastics on the environment, as well as on human health. Menstrual products are the fifth most commonly found plastic items on beaches.

"For example, sanitary towels are 90% plastic and one packet of sanitary towels contains the equivalent of four plastic bags. Tampons and sanitary towels literally take centuries to break down and a woman will use approximately 11,000 tampons over the course of her life.

“Apart from the environmental impact, sanitary products are essential items, not luxury products, and present a real financial burden for young women. 

“Women end up spending thousands of euro on single-use, plastic-based menstrual products. In Ireland, a recent survey found that almost half of young women struggle to afford sanitary products. 

“Increasing the availability and accessibility of reusable products could play a big role in tackling menstrual poverty. Studies show that over a woman’s menstrual lifecycle, alternative, sustainable products would amount to just 6% of the cost of conventional products.

“The biggest barrier to accessing these products is the lack of visibility and awareness of their existence.  Non-disposable sustainable products do not have the same marketing weight behind them because they do not offer the same profit opportunities for major corporations. 

“I will submit amendments to the Single Use Plastics Directive which will call on the EU Commission to ensure awareness programmes of alternative products, which Ireland should be leading on, and to encourage supermarkets and pharmacies to stock them alongside conventional sanitary products."

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