Superdrug has removed all plastic applicators from its own-brand tampons, which will save around 418kg of plastic waste each year.
The move is the result of tireless campaigning by environmental activist Ella Daish, who started the #EndPeriodPlastic movement. Daish has joined forces with the retail giant, whose own-brand tampons will now use cardboard, or be applicator-free.
“It is crucial that retailers make changes like this to stop unnecessary plastic at source,” said Daish. “I’m thrilled Superdrug have taken these progressive steps and hope to see other manufacturers move forward in this way.”
The move from Superdrug follows similar announcements from Sainsbury’s and Aldi regarding own-brand applicator tampons. However, Superdrug is the first big health and beauty retailer in the UK to make the move.
Globally, around 45 billion menstrual products are disposed of yearly and sanitary products are the fifth most common plastic to be found on Europe’s beaches.
Research from consumer trends researcher Mintel suggests brands should be doing more to respond to “growing environmental concerns” customers have around sanitary products. The report found customers are increasingly looking for reusable options – such as Mooncups, period swimwear and period pants – “highlighting a behavioural shift in the category”.
Superdrug will continue to stock other brands that use plastic applicators for now, but told HuffPost UK it will “be offering more eco-friendly alternatives where possible in the future”.
In the meantime, the retailer has also launched a new range of own-brand, eco-friendly menstrual products, called Luna, made with organic cotton and plant-based materials. The range includes two towels, day and night, and one liner for everyday use.