Last month, Scotland became the first country in the world to approve legislation to provide period products to women for free. The Scottish government estimates that 13% of women having periods will benefit from the scheme.
With the average woman spending £55.80 on period care a year and 1.354m women in Scotland aged between 13 and 51, that’s a potential £75.5m spent on period care on an annual basis according to research from Yoppie, the pioneers of personalised, organic period care delivered through your letterbox.
That means that with an estimated 13% benefiting from free products in Scotland, this latest legislation will save them £9.8m a year.
Under the Period Products (Free Provisions) (Scotland) Act, local governments will be required to make free period products available in public buildings for anyone who needs them. This has already been the case in places of education across Scotland since 2018 and could act as the first step towards eradicating period poverty for women in the UK.
Yoppie’s previous research shows the average woman will spend £4.20 on standard non-organic tampons or £5.10 on standard non-organic pads each and every cycle. With the average woman having some 456 periods in her lifetime, that equates to a whopping £1,915 spent on tampons or £2,326 spent on pads that are not good for the planet or their bodies.
Yoppie also looked at what this latest legislation could mean for women if it was rolled out across the whole of the UK.
Based on the average annual spend per cycle and the current population of 16.432m women aged between 13 and 51, Yoppie estimates that £916.902m is spent on period care each year in the UK. If just 13% of women benefited from free period products on a UK-wide scale, it could save them as much as £119.197m every year.
Founder of Yoppie, Daniella Peri said, “Period poverty remains a serious issue for many and in this day and age and so we applaud the recent move by the Scottish government to provide free period products.
However, the issues surrounding period care run far deeper than affordability. Access, sustainability and suitability are all factors that impact women and their period and we fear that these elements could be tossed aside in the attempt to deliver free period care on a mass scale.
We need to tackle this issue with the real lifestyles of women in mind, whether it’s free or not. Asking them to go out of their way to a public place to obtain free products is unlikely to encourage many given the stigmas that still surround menstruation.
It’s also likely that any mass approach to providing period care will be based on the use of cheap, standard, non-organic products. While these are not only bad for the environment, they’re also bad for our bodies and this one size fits all approach doesn’t provide the personalised care that each woman requires for their unique flow.
We hope that the Scottish government will consider this when implementing their plan for free period products so that they can take a firm step forward and set an example that the rest of the world will hopefully follow.”