This has been everywhere recently. I thought that I’d go over the topic after the news the Superdrug will be absorbing (is that a pun?) the 5% tax and providing VAT-free menstrual items. Hallelujah!
If you haven’t seen the news, sanitary products are taxed as luxury items in the UK and lots of other countries throughout the world; y’know because it’s optional… Items not taxed in the UK include such essentials as crocodile meat, herbal tea and chickpeas.
The only places that don’t tax tampons, towels or pantiliners are:
- Africa: Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya
- Asia: Lebanon
- Australia: None
- Europe: Ireland
- North America: Canada, Jamacia and five US states; Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
- South America: Nicaragua
Eight countries out of 196. That’s so disappointing; it’s the 21st century.
What is the average cost of menstrual products over a lifetime?
Ouch. that’s more than I make in a year.
Still, there are plenty of ways to save money without moving country or continent.
I’m not talking about the black granny panties that are stuffed at the back of your drawer or what the cast of Downton Abbey had to wear under their gowns.
Thinx is a revolutionary product. It’s underwear that can absorb up to two tampons’ worth of liquid. They also donate to a partner charity in Uganda dedicated to providing girls with menstrual products so they can stay in school.
I haven’t had a chance to try them yet but Vikki Knowles has given her review:
“Not to be overdramatic, but Thinx makes periods much better. I feel like I can take on the world without concerns about nipping to the bathroom at certain times during the day to change tampons, etc. It feels much kinder to the environment too; not throwing things away all the time.”
Menstrual cups like Mooncup or Divacup are made from medical-grade silicone and the blood is collected inside. They cost about £20 and last for about a year.
All you have to do is empty it every four hours and rinse it out in between uses.
Buy in bulk
If you feel that reusable products are not for you, I get it. I tried menstrual cups and I cannot get on with them.
I buy own brand tampons and if there’s an offer on, then I’ll buy a few packs to make it cheaper overall.
Always carry a pad or tampon in your bag. I have both in every bag I own so no matter what bag I take out I am prepared for the inevitable and I don’t have to run to a chemist/supermarket and buy a pack or pay the extortionate prices from the dispenser in the toilet.
Now these are perfectly legitimate ways to save money but this advice does reflect some class privileges. I have never had to worry about not being able to afford essentials.
Therefore, I would like to put forward some ways to help women and trans men who may not be able to afford their own.
You can donate unopened packs of sanitary items to homeless shelters, which I have done when someone accidently bought me non-applicator tampons. You could also take an old handbag; fill it with gum, antibacterial hand cleanser and menstrual items. Then pass it out to a homeless woman you see on the street.
This can help to remove the stigma surrounding periods for homeless people.
Demand an end to the tampon tax
Also, please sign this petition to tell George Osbourne to stop classing tampons as a luxury item.