Council progressing reusable period product scheme
18 January 2023
Ongoing work to scope out a new scheme to encourage the use of reusable menstrual products across Derry and Strabane was praised today by Council's Environment and Regeneration Committee.
A report brought before Members provided an update on progress following a notice of motion approved in July by Council to raise awareness of and encourage increased use of reusable period products throughout the Council area.
The notice of motion recommended that Council highlight the problems associated with common disposable sanitary products, and embark on a campaign to encourage people to make the waste-conscious choice to switch over to reusable alternatives.
The Committee was told this would have a significant environmental benefit, reducing the amount of sanitary products currently entering our waste stream and being landfilled, and also reduce plastic waste.
Every year, the disposal of single use menstrual products such as tampons, pads and applicators generates 200,000 tonnes of waste in the UK. Most single use disposable period products are made from 90% fossil-fuel based plastic. Non-organic disposable period products can also contain toxic industrial chemicals like BPA, dioxins, pesticides, bleach and fragrances. 10% of sewage related debris on beaches is composed of sanitary products and switching to reusables would mean much less waste.
In addition to raising awareness, officers have begun to seek funding in order to offer a discounted rate of 70% for the purchase of a range of reusable sanitary products. Based on uptake rates for similar schemes in other Council areas, Members were told that this would require a budget of £5,000 per annum.
Chair of the Environment and Regeneration Committee, Alderman Keith Kerrigan, welcomed today's update, saying: "As a council we have taken the lead on addressing the issue of period poverty with the introduction of free products in council facilities, which is a great start. However, as we move towards the aspiration of a Zero Waste economy, we need to look at a more sustainable approach to the issue, as well as addressing the issue of cost.
"I am delighted to see that progress is being made in scoping out a suitable, cost effective scheme, and a campaign to raise awareness of the alternative more environmentally friendly options that are out there. Officers will continue to work on sourcing the necessary funding to support the scheme and its delivery across Derry and Strabane as soon as possible."
You can find more details of today's report at https://bit.ly/3CYSfUe