Pearls…they are not quite a girl’s best friend, more one of her close acquaintances or Mummy friends (you know Grace’s Mum…oh, whats-her-name), but still not to be sniffed at when it comes to jewellery gifting. It’s a different story though in my world at the moment – I hear the word pearl and all that comes to mind is Tampax Pearl because I’m currently on a (admittedly keyboard) crusade against the plastic being used in these products.
Tampax…a Procter and Gamble brand of ‘feminine hygiene products’ although let’s just call them tampons – we’re all friends here, we don’t need fancy names. They’ve been around for years and years (since 1936 apparently) and have done a great job of improving menstrual health through convenient solutions to that awkward few days of Auntie Flo visiting each month. P.S. I have only been introduced to the AF descriptor in the last couple of years, before then I would refer to having the decorators in/being on but I find Auntie Flo a little more fun to describe what is a very annoying but necessary monthly cycle for the majority of child-bearing age women across the world. Anyway, enough about how great Tampax are and have been, they aren’t acting so great just at the moment in my opinion.
We’ve all seen or at least heard about Blue Planet with David Attenborough which brought the UK’s attention to the issue with plastic waste in our oceans. As a result, a lot of ideas are springing up about recycling schemes for bottles, people are generally more aware and getting better at recycling in their household schemes and companies are being lambasted for overuse of plastics (e.g. Sainsbury’s selling plastic wrapped coconuts Coconut story here) but what about other non-essential plastics? Tampons is one place where we could easily save plastic without impacting on people’s lives too much. Until 2002, Tampax didn’t have the Pearl brand and we managed. We only used paper applicators and I don’t remember it being particularly difficult, messy or painful. And it definitely isn’t difficult, messy or painful because I still use paper applicator Tampax now so I don’t even have to think back further than a few weeks to know that.
Advertising is the crux of the issue for me. Take a look at Tampax advertising, it’s always the Pearl brands/plastic applicator brands being advertised. A quick look at the Tampax UK website shows three brands on the front page (Tampax Pearl, Tampax Pearl Compact and Tampax Compact) and you guessed it – they all use plastic applicators.
Plastic waste is “one of the great environmental scourges of our time”. – Theresa May (British Prime Minister)
It’s not just the website that’s the issue because if I’m honest, I’ve never before visited the Tampax website, so I’m pretty sure most people haven’t either, it’s the biased advertising of the paper applicator Tampax. Whilst the plastic applicator Tampax gets a cool name based on a precious gem/mineral/rock, the paper applicator Tampax gets a cool name based on…well what it’s made of…Tampax cardboard. Not exactly selling it are they? And that brings me to my final concern – the selling of Tampax in the UK. I have been finding it increasingly difficult to buy Tampax cardboard (I’ve got to say it doesn’t get any better the more you use the name) because some stores don’t sell it, or only stock one variety (e.g. Regular but not Plus and Super Plus). I haven’t completed extensive research into this but I have tried on several occasions to buy the paper applicator Tampax in small branches of Boots and had to resort to the Pearl because there was nothing else available. So are we being forced into buying non-essential plastic when we really don’t have to?
I’ve been sharing the below petition, even though it was started in North America, because I want to get Procter & Gamble to take notice of this issue and realise that there are people in the world who want different answers to the questions we are asking. Why do we need plastic applicators? Why are you pushing plastic applicators as the best? Why do you market them differently? Why are retailers stopping stocking paper applicator Tampax?
If you want answers too, sign the petition at the below link.
When I looked a few days ago, it had 74k signatures and it now has 85k, so the support is growing. Be a part of that support, or let me know if you disagree with any of my opinions. I’m an open minded girl, happy to have a debate. Maybe plastic applicators are better for you and your body? Perhaps you think paper applicators have a detrimental effect on the world? Whatever your thoughts, let’s discuss.