Superdrug ditches plastic from own-brand tampons

Superdrug has announced that it has removed plastics from its own-brand tampons and launched a new range of menstrual products made from organic and sustainably certified materials.

Campaign groups have been calling on businesses and governments to support a shift to plastic-free menstrual products

Campaign groups have been calling on businesses and governments to support a shift to plastic-free menstrual products

Superdrug worked environmental activist Ella Daish to formally discontinue own brand plastic tampon applicators, a move which the retailer claims will save more than 418kg of plastic annually.

Superdrug’s head of own brand, quality and technical, Sarah Jenkins, said: “At Superdrug, we are proud to champion sustainable initiatives and continue to make responsible choices. Ella’s tireless campaign to help end period plastic is inspirational, and we have been working with her over the past year to help bring about this change at Superdrug.”

Superdrug has also unveiled Luna, its first own-brand range of organic menstrual products. The cotton used in the produce meets the Global Organic Textiles Standard, while the absorbent materials used are certified to PEFC wood fibre standards.

Around 4.3 billion single-use menstrual products are believed to be disposed of in the UK every year, with the majority of these items either containing or housed in plastic, according to City to Sea. Sanitary products are the fifth most common plastic to be found on Europe’s beaches.

Campaign groups have been calling on businesses and governments to support a shift to plastic-free menstrual products.

Environmental Activist and founder of #EndPeriodPlastic, Ella Daish, added: “It is fantastic that Superdrug has listened to the campaign and responded by not only stopping the production of their plastic applicators, but also developing and launching their own eco-range.

“Period products are the fifth most common item found polluting Europe’s beaches and contain up to 90% plastic, it is crucial that retailers make changes like this to stop unnecessary plastic at source. I’m thrilled that Superdrug has taken these progressive steps and hope to see other manufacturers move forward in this way.”

Retail reaction

Plastic-free alternatives on the market at present include the likes of reusable menstrual cups, which have been steadily growing in popularity over the past three years, and organic cotton tampons and plastic-free pads, which recently went on sale at Tesco.

Similarly, start-up DAME has received backing from Sky’s Ocean Ventures fund to scale-up production of its plastic-free tampons and reusable applicators. The London-based brand makes its applicators from Sanipolymers – bio-based materials which purport to be antibacterial, anti-microbial and biodegradable.

In August 2019, Sainsbury's removed single-use plastic applicators from all of its own-brand tampon lines, as it strives to cut its packaging use and remove non-recyclable plastics from shelves.

The firm is notably striving to halve volumes of its own-brand packaging by 2020 – plastics and otherwise – against a 2005 baseline. It is also committed to the WRAP UK Plastics Pact ambition of ensuring that all own-brand plastic packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Matt Mace



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