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Environment Week: Thinking from Ukraine

Our members from the Zero Waste Alliance of Ukraine reflected on their actions as part of the 2019 Environment Week, read what they have to say...

Ukraine is a magnificent country in Eastern Europe. However, for a long time, discussions about any "feminine things" were unique to small women's circles, quiet and awkward. Whenever a woman takes out a disposable pad or tampon from her purse, she insists on hiding it from others. Therefore, the discussion about reusable menstrual products is very quiet, is generally considered very unusual, and is considered specifically for eco-geeks.

With the zero waste craze that began in 2017, discussions on reusable menstrual hygiene products have begun to grow slowly but surely.

In 2019, the Zero Waste Alliance of Ukraine (ZWAU) became an aspiring member of Zero Waste in Europe and joined the ranks of “get rid of plastic”. After that, ZWAU members began to participate in international sports and events organized by these two sports and brought them to Ukrainian audiences. One of the activities is the Environmental Menstrual Week, which all menstrualists among ZWAU members attach great importance to!

We have several main goals:

Raise awareness of the environmental and health effects of disposable products used for menstrual hygiene;

Promote reusable menstrual products;

Break the taboo of menstruation.

From the beginning, we wanted information to come from as many sources as possible, so we started collecting partners. Several zero-waste shops in Ukraine offer discounts on reusable menstrual products. They also posted information about the campaign and its goals from their page. A reusable cushion manufacturer gave a gift, so we organized a so-called EnvironMenstrual Giveaway, during which people can write a post about their willingness to try reusable menstrual products, or share their past environmental protection The story of the product's experience in their period. We are very happy to see how some manufacturers and stores cooperate with each other and organize their own gifts; now they continue to cooperate, share experiences and sell each other's products.

One of the events we organized during the event was a webinar about reusable alternatives for a period of time. During this period, we wanted to let people ask any questions they have and discuss these with people who work in the zero waste field. problem. Therefore, we invited a Ukrainian manufacturer of menstrual cups, panties and sanitary napkins (of course reusable) and discussed online reusable items, some myths surrounding them, and of course useful life tips. We are very happy to record this speech, so now anyone (speaking Ukrainian) can watch and learn at any time.

We also hope that online and offline activities will take place at the same time, so we organized two activities. One of them, Green Red Drinks, took place in Lviv. This is a very informal event where we can share some information about reusable menstrual products, let people see and touch them, and talk and listen to people who try the products. Our second event was held in Kiev, and it was a "menstruation? Normal situation". The main idea of ​​this event is to create a free space where girls can talk about menstruation without restriction without shame. A gynecologist, researcher and ecological activist were invited as the spokesperson for the event. The gynecologist explained which women's personal care products are the safest and healthiest. The researcher demonstrated her work on materials used to produce disposable menstrual pads and tampons. Eco activists shared their experience of owning #PlasticFreePeriod. This activity helps to eliminate misunderstandings and stereotypes about menstruation. In addition to lectures, there is also a Q&A session with the speakers. The entire event was recorded in a video, which will be released soon. The video will be available to a wider audience.

We are also very happy to see a large number of articles about EnvironMenstrual Week in the national media, as well as different reusable alternatives for menstruation. The reporter who wrote this article participated in Green Red Drinks, so we are very happy to receive media support and interest in this topic. In one day, this article was read more than 1,300 times!

We have not completed all the activities planned between October 12th and 19th, so we have already planned for the second round of activities. During the event, we found an excellent gynecologist who is willing to teach reusable menstrual products from a medical point of view. We also plan to print stickers for public toilets and write on them: "Please don't throw sanitary products in the toilet, it's actually time to try reusable things!". So we will never stop at this point, we will continue to talk, notify, consult, step by step, we will reach our goal!

We cannot say that we have broken the taboo surrounding this topic, but there is no doubt that we are already on the way! As we all know, zero waste is as important as journey and destination!

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