A motion to officially encourage the use of “sea sponges” and other more environmentally friendly products in place tampons and sanitary towels will be debated in the Spanish town of Manresa on Thursday evening.
“Many products are harmful to women’s health, environmentally unsustainable and overpriced for such a basic need,” the CUP, a left-wing, pro-independence party, wrote in the motion.
The proposal, which will be debated by the town council on Thursday, is calling for local Information and Services for Women (SIAD) centres to stock “alternative” sanitary items such as “menstrual cups, re-usable cloth sanitary towels and menstrual sponges”.
Menstrual sponges are a natural product, made from sea sponge. Products include “sea sponge tampons”.
“We don’t want to ban tampons or sanitary towels, we only want the women of Manresa to be informed about all the possibilities and then they can choose the best option,” CUP Manresa spokesman Jordi Masdeu told The Local on Thursday.
“We think that the alternative methods are better because they are healthier for the body, cheaper and eco-friendly but we don't want to force anyone to use them.”
A menstrual sponge can last up to six months if cared for correctly. The all-natural alternative to tampons means a lot less waste; the average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of sanitary products in her lifetime.
The motion also calls for menstrual sea sponges and other more environmentally friendly sanitary items to be made available to girls in the town during workshops that would take place in local schools.
“At the moment only tampons and sanitary towels are available at these workshops and always by big brands like Always and Tampax. We think that this is not a good way to educate and that is why we have proposed the vote,” Masdeu told The Local.
The motion calls for SIAD to lead workshops in schools for both girls and boys on “women’s menstrual cycles, how to live with this in a healthy way and how to establish a good relationship between the individual and their body”.
And the CUP might not stop at one town, ideally it would like to roll out the scheme across the northeastern region.
“We would like to introduce this proposal throughout Catalonia, not just in Manresa,” Masdeu said.