Next in our period powerful series, we caught up with Jasmine Tribe, Campaign Co-ordinator at City to Sea. Here, we chatted about her work with City to Sea, the problem with period plastics and how City to Sea are working to tackle this issue.
What’s the mission behind City to Sea?
“City to Sea is a not-for-profit environmental organisation running campaigns to reduce the use of everyday plastic. We’re made up of everyday people doing extraordinary things; using our skills (and sometimes discovering new ones) to create a more beautiful world. Our mission is to connect our actions to the oceans and to awaken active hope, champion practical solutions and inspire positive action that serves to protect and restore wildlife, rivers and seas.”
What motivated you to start/join City to Sea?
“I always admired City to Sea’s campaigns for being so simple and yet so effective in reducing plastic pollution and creating behaviour change. I joined the team this year and I love the positive working atmosphere and grassroots energy that drives us all to help create a more kind, beautiful and sustainable world. I’m very proud of the fact that we aren’t afraid to tackle taboo subjects and our campaigns are fun and daring!”
What’s the problem with plastic?
“We’ve realised that the qualities that initially made plastic such a ground-breaking material – strength, water-proof, durability – are the very same qualities that make it such a pervasive pollutant… Every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still around today. It is either in landfill, polluting our urban and natural environments or making its way up the food chain.
There are countless problems with our throw-away attitude towards plastic. With it being such a new material (it’s only been used in the mainstream for about 60 years!), we still don’t know the full extent of the impact of plastic pollution.
What we do know is that between 8 and 12 million tonnes of plastic are entering our oceans every single year, killing over 1 million marine animals and injuring and/ or poisoning millions more. As we are a) at the top of the food chain and b) buy so much of our food wrapped in plastic, we have now found microplastics in human stools, which could have some severe health implications.
Our addiction to single-use plastic is choking the ecosystems that human beings rely on and seriously threatening our health – it’s time to give it up!”
How are periods impacting the planet?
“Did you know that a staggering 4.3 billion disposable menstrual products are used in the UK every year? This creates a huge amount of avoidable waste with much of it being plastic.
A ‘conventional’ menstrual pad contains around the same amount of plastic as four carrier bags. Depending on where it ends up as waste, it could have a longer life-span than the woman who uses it! Regular tampons are also made from 6% plastic and often contain bleach.”
What can we do to have a planet-friendly period?
– “Switch to reusables!
– If you still want/ need to use disposable products, then organic products are far better for our bodies as well as for the environment. No bleaching, no ‘fragrances’, no chemicals associated with plastics. Of course, organic products still shouldn’t be flushed down the loo! If you still want/ need to use disposable products then switch to a non-toxic, 100% organic brand.
– Never ever flush your period products or any kind of wipe. Plastics don’t belong in the sea – only flush paper, poo and pee!”
Why is it bad to flush period care products down the toilet?
“Most of our sewers were built in the Victorian era – we didn’t even use toilet paper back then, let alone tampon applicators, menstrual pads, tampons or wet wipes. Although no period products should go down the loo, it’s estimated that every single day in the UK about 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are flushed down the toilet.
These items create blockages and overflowing in our sewers and we end up with these plastic nasties escaping into our rivers and seas…Flushed plastics make up 8.5% of beach litter in the UK and this is so easily avoidable! Why not try switching to reusables, or if you can’t make sure you get a bin in your bathroom.” Discover more on why flushing period care products is a big no, no here.
What can we expect to see next from City to Sea?
“Keep your eyes peeled for lots more Plastic-Free Periods videos, competitions and partnerships in the spring of 2019!
We recently trialled our new behaviour change campaign – Bog Standard – which aims to change flushing behaviour and reduce that 8.5% of UK beach plastics originating from our bathrooms. We sat on a loo in the highstreets of Essex on World Toilet Day to share our campaign story!”
How can people get involved and support your mission?
“If you’re interested in trying reusables, I really recommend checking out our FAQs page.
If you want mainstream brands to remove plastic and bleach from their products tweet at them and make your voice heard!
To reduce your plastic footprint in other areas of your life check out our website and subscribe to our Plastic-Free Journal for tips and giveaways of reusable goodies! Good luck on your journey and let us know how you get on via Twitter.”
Thanks to Jasmine for sharing such informative, crucial insights on the plastics problem and for telling us all about City to Sea! For more Period Powerful Profiles, catch up on our latest chat with Ella Daish talking about her campaign on plastic-free periods.