Periodic protection: how to save?


On August 15, 2022, Scotland launched a scheme for local councils and schools to provide free periodicals. This follows a Periodic Products Act approved in 2020. Ireland may well follow its neighbour, according to media thus the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, alongside Minister of State for Skills and Higher Education, Niall Collins, announced in March 2022 that period pads would be distributed free of charge at higher education and training institutions. Even Lidl has gotten into it on the small island: through its app, you can order free pads or tampons every month.

In France, a similar initiative was launched at the University of Lille, which distributed kits in 2019 and 2020. Reserved for the private sphere until recently, the debate around menstrual precariousness and the tax on the products concerned occurred in 2016, with the reduction of VAT to 5.5% on periodic protections – previously, they were taxed at 20%, i.e. as much as luxury products. However, according to a World survey published in 2019, nearly a quarter of the population is concerned. “The amount of protection and painkillers amounts to 7.50 euros per cycle for a woman with periods of “average” duration and flow – or nearly 3,800 euros for a lifetime”, estimates the daily. A cost to which must be added the sessions with the gynecologist, the purchase of painkillers if necessary, and the replacement of damaged underwear or linen. This can quickly become problematic for the most modest – hence the expression “menstrual precariousness”.

Since then, the offer has diversified, specialized sites are multiplying and it is possible to buy protection adapted to your lifestyle and tastes. While some are more expensive to buy, such as menstrual panties or washable pads, they quickly pay for themselves in the long term since their reuse makes it possible to dispense with the purchase of disposable protections – in addition to producing much less waste. “Over 5 years, a menstrual cup or a set of washable pads can save 175 to 245 euros,” estimates the Zero Waste France association. Planet draws up a list of products allowing you to combine comfort, savings and ecology.