A Southland-based project has been launched to improve the personal and environmental impacts of disposable period products.
The Care Project is coordinated by The Care Group and is based in Northern Southland.
The group raises funds to buy reusable period underwear which are then offered free to year 12 and 13 girls.
The first of these were given to Northern Southland College pupils last week.
The Care Group founder Sandra Prebble said the response was very positive.
‘‘Each of the girls is receiving two pairs of period underwear free.’’
The group has partnered with New Zealand period underwear producer AWWA which was ‘‘providing generous support to enable us to do this’’ Ms Prebble said.
The project was formed to help eliminate financial barriers that prevent women having a choice about their period products and out of concern at the environmental impacts of disposable, singleuse period products.
‘‘If every woman was able to halve the number of disposable products she used every month, we’d have 10 billion instead of the estimated 20 billion dumped in landfill every year where they find their way to the ocean as micro-plastics,’’ she said.
The Care Group members wanted to help reduce barriers to women using reusable products.
In New Zealand, the barriers tended to be a lack of information, and cost.
‘‘Being able to use them free of charge can help raise awareness of what is available, and demonstrate a better alternative for those who want to do more for our environment,’’ she said.
The project aimed to continue its work in partnership with AWWA and communities.
‘‘What we do next will depend on what specific communities want.
‘‘We could continue to work with other schools, or through women’s groups.’’