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Earth Day. “It’s just one tampon,” said 2 billion people.

Photos & Videography by Maurice Franklin Jr.
Art by @theartofchase

Trash and plastic waste add up. On average, one menstruating person will go through 11,000 tampons in their lifetime. MINDBLOWING. And with a little period math we learn if things don’t change, the current period population will use and dispose of 12 trillion tampons. Yikes. Where do they all go? You guessed it. They fill landfills and spill over to our oceans.

“The number one item picked up during beach cleanup was plastic tampon applicators…” —Whitney, Beach Cleanup Volunteer

That makes for unhappy sea turtles and whales, and us too. So we decided if we need to make a big change, we had to let people know in a big way.

No more “out of sight out of mind.” We and some amazing volunteers traveled to Venice Beach to install 11,000 tampons in the sand to show just how monumental one person’s waste actually is.

Tampons the beach closeup
Tampons in the sand overhead view

And people were SHOCKED. Bikes stopping, jaws dropping. People legitimately had NO IDEA. And not just people with periods, everyone. We had dads asking questions for their daughters and boyfriends bringing their girlfriends over to take a look. It was a party!

Women talking about tampons
People on tampon beach

Then we invited people to make a trade. One disposable for a period cup. Over 120 people switched! That is over one MILLION tampons and other single use period care products stopped from going into landfills and oceans.

“We even had some girls who could only afford to use toilet paper for their periods trade us some toilet paper for a cup. It was so powerful to see every person open up and talk about their situation and how they could make a difference.” —Amber, Co-Founder of Saalt.

“Every time someone traded for a cup the whole crowd cheered for them! It was so rad, like the teary eye part of a good movie.” —Stacey

Saalt products on the beach

If you weren’t able to come out to Venice Beach, fear not friends. You can still help! Please share this article or video and spread awareness for sustainable period care. As we learned at Venice Beach, SO many people don’t even know the cup exists! And for every cup sold on Earth Day, 10 lbs. of trash will be cleaned up by Saalt and the team at Newport Bay Conservancy.

The tampons used for our installation will be used again for educational purposes as well as future installations. We feel passionately about furthering this message and educating every person with a period so they can make an informed choice about the period care they want to use. The little things, there’s nothing bigger. Mother Earth thanks you, and we do too!

Happy Earth Day!

And just in case you were wondering…. Yes, Earth Day is a holiday now observed in 192 countries. Here’s how it got started:

Earth Day has its roots in the 1970s. It began as a “national teach-in on the environment” fresh off the heels of the massive Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969 and all of the anti-war protests of the era. Senator Gaylord Nelson decided to channel the energy of the aware and eco-conscious younger generation into a nationwide movement for the first Earth Day on April 22,1970. Millions of Americans united to take action and bring awareness to the global plight. That first Earth Day was wildly successful and brought about the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts. Huge win for the baby boomers! Fast forward to now. Earth Day has become a true global movement. With more and more animals becoming extinct, water and our air being polluted, and microplastics being EVERYWHERE; it’s time to take some major action. Time for our eco-warriors to stand up!

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