Ella Daish is an activist and environmentalist who has been campaigning since early 2018 to eliminate all plastic from menstrual products. Her award winning campaign has over 200,000 signatures and is going from strength to strength with supermarkets and manufacturers starting to listen and make significant changes.
Ella believes change must happen at all levels. She meets with manufacturers and decision makers, talks to governments and councils and encourages individuals to start conversations. Since starting her campaign Ella has learnt so much about plastic pollution and is determined to find out more about where it comes from, the negative impacts it has and what we all can do to eradicate it.
Around 90% of a menstrual pad is plastic. “Sanitary products are the fifth most common item found on Europe’s beaches”, she says. “200,000 tonnes of such material is believed to end up in UK landfill every year.”
As well as working with film makers and writing articles for the media, Ella also speaks at events. If you have an opportunity, collaboration or project that would fit with Ella’s talents and aspirations then please contact her via this page.
The BBC included Daish in its 100 Women of 2019 annual list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world.
Eco Period Box Campaign
The Ecologist reports that the campaign was supported by 20 shops and ran until April 2019.
Period poverty affects thousands of individuals each year, including those at school, those that are homeless, refugees and those who simply cannot afford them due to financial constraints.
Ella told The Ecologist: “I set up the Eco Period Box to address period poverty in a way that I feel truly benefits all. Plastic-free period products and reusables are not only better for the people using them, but they also have a minimal environmental impact, which is really important. I also believe that everyone, no matter their situation, deserves a choice in what they use.”
In 2018 Caerphilly County Borough Council began tackling period poverty in schools. In 2019 Ella helped persuade the Council to spend all of its grant money for providing free sanitary products to schools on eco-friendly products. Previously, councils had been asked to spend only 10% of the money on reusables.
My Green Pod Article
The following are extracts from the article entitled “The Eco Period Box” published in 2018. To read it all click here.
Ella Daish is a postal worker who started the campaign to ‘Make all Menstrual Products Plastic Free’ in February 2018 and was shortlisted for a 2018 P.E.A. Award. There has been an overwhelming response to the campaign; the petition has been signed by over 106,000 people – and it’s still going strong.
Eco Period Box starts on 01 December and ends on 31 December. You can get eco-period products from local health food shops, supermarkets and, if your time is limited, then there are multiple online stores that you can buy from. You can get your order sent directly to your chosen charity by using their address in the delivery details.
Since Ella began campaigning for change, she has become aware of just how many problems surround menstruation. These issues range from the taboo of talking about periods to the environmental impacts of plastic in our period care and period poverty.
The following are extracts from an interview she gave to TOTM
First things first, what’s the problem with plastics?
“The problem with plastic is the way in which it is being used. When it is used unnecessarily, this is when disaster strikes! More and more plastic is being used in society for every day and single-use products. This is now impacting our environment, wildlife and seas. Whilst the use of plastic is valid in certain circumstances, it should be used conscientiously and only when necessary.”
How much plastic is in non-organic period care?
“Worryingly around 90% of each conventional menstrual product is plastic. And each sanitary pad contains the equivalent of about four plastic bags. Our natural cycles should not equal unnatural plastic period care.”
Alongside environmental impact, are there any health implications?
“At present, there are many synthetic ingredients in our period care. Some of these include artificial fragrances, odour neutralizers and highly absorbent materials. So, without fully knowing the ingredients this understandably is a cause for concern. Moreover, tampon and sanitary pad manufacturers aren’t required to disclose ingredients. This is because period care products are considered “medical devices”. Some of the methods used to make these commercial products include chlorine bleaching and pesticide spraying of cotton, which can lead to pesticide poisoning in cotton workers. Other health implications can include toxic shock syndrome as well as yeast and bacterial infections.”