In 2020, the Victorian government began providing free tampons and pads to students in all state schools. A science teacher and her students are calling on the government to provide students with the option of sustainable sanitary products.
The Andrews government's initiative to end period poverty is fantastic.
However, single-use menstrual products create a huge amount of plastic waste. They take thousands of years to break down and release microplastic toxins into the ground once in landfill. The average person who menstruates throws away 200kg of menstrual products in their lifetime.
By only providing disposable products, the government is missing out on an amazing opportunity to offer students the choice of alternative reusable products.
These sustainable products (such as fabric pads, menstrual cups, and period underwear) are far more cost effective, and safer for people’s bodies and the environment.
Making these products available to students when they begin menstruating will foster lifelong sustainable habits.
Paula McIntosh, a science teacher at Melbourne Girls College, has started a campaign with some of her students for the government to offer reusable period products as well as disposable.
Her petition to gather support for the idea will close on October 21.
After this day, the petition will be presented in state parliament by Greens MP Samantha Ratnam.