Sainsbury’s has confirmed that it is stopping the production and sale of their own-brand plastic tampon applicators, following a targeted campaign co-ordinated by Ella Daish.
The supermarket is delisting and removing their own-brand range of ‘compact’ plastic tampon applicators from stores, with all of these products being taken off the shelves by the end of August 2019.
Ella told The Ecologist: “This is a significant and welcome step towards ending the production of unnecessary plastic at source.” Her campaign to end period plastic calls on manufacturers to remove it from all their menstrual products.
Plastic pollution has gained a lot of media attention over the last two years and has made many consumers consider the way they use plastic, the waste it generates and the damage it is causes worldwide. People are becoming aware of the impacts their purchasing choices have and are changing the way they spend.
With plastic bags, bottles and straws usually dominating the discussion, period products don’t often get spoken about, meaning that many are unaware of the hidden plastic they contain. However, this is changing. This year the campaign has mobilised 200,000 participants - awareness is rising and with it the number of people that are demanding manufacturers to bring about change.
Plastic tampon applicators are a huge issue, they are used for seconds, yet take centuries to break down. People have sent me pictures of plastic applicator pollution from the islands of Scotland, down to the beaches in Cornwall, everywhere in-between and beyond.
There are plenty of viable alternatives that avoid plastic including cardboard applicators and non-applicators, which is why I’ve been urging manufacturers to stop using plastic.
Ella said: "There is no excuse to make them out of plastic, it's unnecessary and the environmental impacts they have are avoidable. This is why the step taken by Sainsbury’s is so important.
"It’s fantastic that Sainsbury's have made the decision to delist their own-brand range of plastic tampon applicators, they are the first manufacturing decision maker on the campaign to completely remove them from their range. Other retailers now need to follow their lead. This is the kind of positive change we need manufacturers and supermarkets to be actively taking, it proves it can be done."
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist.