The project is focussed on training up schools and community groups with the tools necessary to enable young people and adults to have access to all the information they need to make informed choices about which menstrual products to use.
Our aims are to
- To improve knowledge, increase awareness and enhance understanding on the health conscious, safe, affordable and sustainable period products available to individuals.
- Empower individuals to make healthier choices for their bodies.
- Help to tackle period poverty in areas of deprivation across Essex
- Educate on the safe disposal of disposable period products
We will be running free period health workshops until March 2023 across various locations in Essex. At the moment, the offer is primarily open to groups in the Colchester, Benfleet and Southend areas.
The workshops will cover the following topics:
- Environmental impact of reusable / disposable sanitary wear
- Health impacts
- Cost impacts
- Use and maintenance of products
- How to access free period products and re-usable period wear or make your own.
1 in 10 girls in the UK are unable to afford proper period products. Schools are able to access FREE reusable period products for their students. Keeping ongoing costs low.
The average start of menstruation is 12, (year 6); the same time the major companies that produce single use period products deliver their workshops in schools, sadly promoting the environmentally and human health damaging disposable wear. There is currently limited knowledge in schools and communities on the health and cost impacts of these products. En-form is delivering a targeted project to re-educate school age and older individuals.
Free workshops for schools, educators, or community groups
Whether you are a school, college, university, community or social group, we can provide a FREE 1 – 2 hour workshop.
Help your school and community to be greener and help us tackle period poverty.
Training from Women’s Environmental Network
The trainers that will deliver these workshops have been trained professionally by WEN (Women’s Environmental Network)
We recommend you take a look at their website for information on their ‘Environmenstralism’ project including full information on the issues relating to disposables, how they train ambassadors and money-off codes on reusables. Environmenstrual – Wen
We have provided our own summary of the main issues below:
Summary of disposable v’s reusables
SANITARY INSANITY – what is the problem?
The average start of menstruation is 12 years old; the same time the major companies that produce single use sanitary products deliver their workshops in schools, sadly promoting the environmentally and human health damaging disposable wear.
An average menstruating woman uses up to 15,000 disposable pads or tampons in their life. Reusable pads can last several years meaning far less waste and cost. Reusables are better for human and environmental health and they’re cheaper. It’s not about making women feel guilty about their menstrual choices but informing them of the full range of options.
Talking about tampons shouldn’t be taboo, please don’t flush them down the loo.
In a recent survey of women in the UK, nearly half (41%) said they flushed tampons down the toilet and didn’t know they shouldn’t. The same number of women said they didn’t know this was damaging the environment.
According to the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN), there are around nine plastic tampon applicators for every 1km of UK beach.
Reasons to ditch disposables and make the switch to re-useable
Every year, in the UK alone, 200,000 tonnes of menstrual waste ends up in landfill. Reusable pads are not made from lots of plastic. They don’t come individually wrapped in more plastic. They also don’t come in packs packaged in even more plastic.
An estimated 1.4 million disposable period pads are thrown away each day in the UK alone. They’re the fifth most likely piece of rubbish to end up on our beaches.
Disposable period pads take as long as 800 years to fully degrade.
More than 80 per cent of single-use sanitary products contain plastics and non-biodegradable synthetic materials, many of which are harmful to health. As they degrade, they leak these toxic compounds into the environment.
Pads are made of 90% plastic while tampons have at least 6% plastic. This large-scale plastic production releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases, which contributes to air pollution and global warming.
In addition, the improper disposal of menstrual products (like wrapping them in plastic bags) fills up landfills and takes years to break down.
Better for the planet. Period. Reduce Energy Use
By investing in reusables, you won’t need to buy any other products for about 5 years. Significantly reducing the energy usage necessary in production, manufacturing, transport and disposal of disposables.
Up to 90% of a disposable pad is made from synthetic (un-natural, man-made) material. The chemicals used in the production and in disposal also contaminates the environment, mostly in the waterways.
Better for your health. Period. There are reportedly up to 3,000 harmful toxins in your current disposable period pads. A study carried out in 2014 on popular brands of disposable sanitary wear exposed the toxic chemicals included in the ingredients, many of which are listed by the World Health Organisation as carcinogenic. These toxins are not disclosed on the product label.
With disposable’s being linked to female health conditions such as endometriosis, leading to fertility issues and even cancers, switching to reusables can have longer term health benefits to women including minimising reliance on pharmaceuticals / medical care and intervention.
Even if you have sensitive skin, with so many different fabric options available you can choose what works best with your skin.
Rags to riches! Reusables save you money!!
On average, we spend £5,000 in a lifetime on period products. A yearly expenditure of £200. The initial outlay of re-usables may be high, but spread over the period of your life will save money. They do require washing, but they’re machine washable and there is no need to put on an extra wash for your pads. Just chuck them in with your regular wash.
Reusable pads can last 5 years or longer – there’s a single one-off cost but that’s it. Switch to reusable pads and save thousands.
Menstrual cups can be used hundreds of times and can last 10 years.
Save Water by greening your flow. Disposable period products are partly responsible for almost 370,000 sewer blockages in the UK. We shouldn’t be flushing them into our water system at all. Thames Water alone removes 30 tonnes of unflushable material every day from one of its sites.
According to Anglian Water, 80% of flooding in homes is due to sewer blockages which can be avoided if people put things like period products into a bin and not down the toilet.
Not only does this have consequences for the quality of our water, it also costs consumers (you) £12 million a year and takes tremendous amount of energy to fix.
When menstrual products are flushed down the toilet, they can end up in our seas and washed up on our beaches. This has a detrimental effect on humans, the wildlife and our habitats.
According to research by the Marine Conservation Society, between 1.5 billion and 2 billion of period products are flushed down the loo annually in the UK.
Around 800 tonnes of wipes, tampons and other period products are removed from sewers every week in the Eastern region (Anglian Water, 2022).
‘During heavy storm events, to prevent flooding of our homes and streets, water companies like Anglian Water are legally permitted, if appropriate, to discharge diluted sewage water into designated watercourses where there will be no negative impact on the water course. When this happens, bathroom waste such as wipes, tampons, pads and cotton buds wrongly flushed down toilets can get washed out to sea or end up on beaches’
Believe it or not, by making the move to reusables you can help to save wildlife. Disposable’s when incorrectly disposed of causes pollution of our rivers, waterways and seas, causing potentially devastating impacts for wildlife.
Unflushable items like period products may contain plastic, which is a massive threat to marine life. Any plastic fragments get slowly broken down and become microplastics, which are then eaten by marine life.
Plastic particles are found in a third of fish caught off Britain. It is thought the fish – many of which reach the human food chain – feed on plastics mixed in plankton and cause harm to sea creatures (Greenpeace, 2016)
Reusables perform better than disposable’s, they’re cooler and more stylish so you can have a bloody good period!
Reusables have been recognised to reduce smell, leaks and soreness, plus there is no need to touch the sanitary bins in public toilets!! Ok so no-one else may know but you can smile all day knowing your pad matches your outfit! Plus being good to the planet is cool!
Fight against Period Poverty
According to Action Aid, In the UK, as many as 1 in 10 girls are unable to afford proper sanitary wear and 1 in 7 have struggled to afford proper sanitary wear. The trouble with sanitary wear is that the ongoing cost is relentless.
Reusable pads have long been considered a valid tool in the fight against period poverty. Once reusable pads are donated to a community, they can help lift them out of period poverty for the long term.
Discounted reuseable period products – Sign up to Newsletter and discounts etc at (WEN) Environmenstrual – Wen