Hauraki District Council backs eco-friendly menstrual cup initiative

Hauraki District Council backs eco-friendly menstrual cup initiative
Photo credit: Getty

A new initiative to end period poverty in Waihi and surrounding areas has received the backing of the Hauraki District Council.

The Sustainable Pantry was set up four months ago by Rachel Payne and Rebecca Cullimore, specialising in "eco-friendly, healthy products without plastic packaging" such as menstrual cups, which it provides for a gold-coin donation.

The operation's popularity was "huge", according to the Hauraki District Council, which soon came on board to fund 250 cups.

"I don't think there was even any discussion. It was 100 percent yes that we get behind this. Poverty is real in our towns. Waihi and Paeroa have some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country," said Deputy Mayor Toby Adams.

"Blokes tend to run as far as they can when they hear about periods, but at the end of the day they're as natural as breathing for women, and having access to sanitary products is essential."

The medical grade silicone menstrual cups can be reused each month and can last for years, meaning unlike traditional throwaway sanitary products, they can be environmentally friendly.

"We use a lot of products that have a lot of waste, and we are doing a campaign around our area at the moment with wet wipes, and I'd imagine that sanitary pads and other products have the same sorta issues on our waste systems," Mr Adams told Newshub.

While they are currently sold at their shop, Ms Payne said she wants to make them also available at local schools as many women in the area miss school during their period as they can't afford the traditional products.

Mr Adams agrees there is demand.

"There is a need for it, even though it would be something that is not that easy to go in and ask for, cause I imagine it is something of a taboo subject," said Mr Adams.