Modibodi, together with Wen and Bloody Good Period have launched a campaign to axe the VAT on ALL menstrual products. Sustainable period products need to be accessible to all. Find out how you can get involved.
At the dawn of 2021, the Government declared that the tampon ‘tax no longer applies to women’s sanitary products’. Except it still does – and we need your support in removing it once and for all. The Tampon Tax is otherwise known as VAT, a tax which is applied to luxury goods such as champagne and private jets, at a rate of 20%. It was previously levied on all menstrual products in the UK. After a hard-fought campaign, as of January 1st 2021, it was removed from most period products in the UK, but not from reusable period pants. This is because the VAT rules classify period underwear as ‘clothing’, making them ineligible for the new VAT zero rate. In fact, the legislation that brought the tampon tax removal into being specifically excludes period underwear.Period Pants provide pants with an unnoticeable pad which uses technology to hold up to 50ml of fluid (product dependent) and are made from individual layers of environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo and merino wool to remove moisture and to protect and provide comfort for the individual wearing them. They don’t need to be changed as frequently and don’t distribute microplastics into our water systems like disposables do.
This Tax is Pants!
Modibodi, supported by Wen, are running a campaign “This Tax is Pants”, to get the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to amend the VAT rules so reusable period pants can also benefit from a VAT exemption. It’s important that everyone realises that – contrary to what the Government would have us believe – the war on the tampon tax is not yet over.We need your support to keep this issue in the public eye and get policy-makers to take action so that all sustainable choices of period product – not just a few – are supported with a VAT exemption.Make no mistake – it is great that the majority of menstrual products have been made more affordable and recognised as a necessity. However, the failure to include sustainable options such as period pants in the legislation appears to contravene the UK’s ambition to play a leading role in tackling plastic pollution. Effectively, the Government is penalising those who choose a more sustainable way of managing their period whilst making environmentally harmful disposables more affordable. From an environmental perspective, that sends out completely the wrong message.
If 100,000 people used reusable period pants from the start of their menstrual cycle, this would prevent 1.1 billion disposable hygiene products from ending up in landfill or 1.5 million garbage bags of waste.
The environmental benefits of period underwear are considerable. If 100,000 people used reusable period pants from the start of their menstrual cycle, this would prevent 1.1 billion disposable hygiene products from ending up in landfill or 1.5 million garbage bags of waste. That’s a huge saving for our planet and a small cost to the Treasury, especially when compared to the annual cost of £88 million a year to clear sewers blocked by menstrual products (combined with fats, oils, grease and food waste) in the UK (Women’s Environmental Network). Period pants are not only more environmentally friendly, but over their lifetime they are more affordable than disposables. Crucially, they have helped change the way people with sensory issues, disabilities or even incredibly long shift hours, such as nurses, live their lives.They enable individuals to feel more at ease during their period, removing some of the stress and anxiety which can come with periods in general or having to deal with embarrassment in public places.The market for period products is evolving for the better, and the Government needs to recognise this and move with the times.
Period products are not a luxury item
As the Government has acknowledged, period products are not a luxury item. They’re a simple necessity. As such, the tax should be removed from ALL period products, including period pants.With tackling pollution being one of the biggest issues we face today, we think it’s time for the Government to support those seeking to make an environmentally sustainable choice – and treat period underwear fairly in the tax system.Modibodi together with Wen are calling for your support in lobbying the Government to remove the remaining tax on reusable period pants. We need your help in contacting your local MPs, engaging with the issue on social media and signing our petition.You can find all of the resources, including draft tweets, letters to MPs and the petition on our campaign site www.thistaxispants.com