Spain's Catalonia hands out free reusable menstruation products

Spain’s Catalonia hands out free reusable menstruation products

/ 07:52 AM March 05, 2024

Catalonia starts free distribution of reusable menstrual hygiene material

A pharmacist shows a reusable menstrual cup which is distributed, along with other reusable menstrual products including menstrual underwear and reusable pads, free of charge in Catalonia region, at a chemist in Barcelona, Spain, March 4, 2024. REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA — Spain’s Catalonia region began providing free reusable menstrual cups, period underwear and cloth pads at pharmacies on Monday, in one of the first initiatives of its kind in the world.

The program is part of a drive by the regional government to reduce “period poverty” after a survey found around 44% of women using menstruation products in Catalonia could not afford their first-choice product and 23% said they had to reuse products designed for single use.


READ: Menstrual cups: A more environment-friendly way to deal with monthly periods


The limited availability of products to collect menstrual blood – often because of cost, a lack of washing facilities or education – can lead to girls and women skipping school or work and heightens the risk of infection and toxic shock syndrome.

Civil servant Ester Miralles, 55, said that if men menstruated the issue would have been addressed much earlier.

“This affects all women – those who fortunately can still afford it and those who cannot,” she said.

Women can spend 2,500 euros ($2,713) on sanitary products in their lifetime, while opting for reusable products will reduce that cost to around 145 euros, authorities said.

The initiative in the northeastern region will benefit about 2.5 million people – girls, women and people who identify as non-binary or transgender who have periods – who will be able to find the products at more than 3,300 pharmacies.

The measure also aims to reduce the more than 9,000 tons of waste generated each year in Catalonia by used tampons and sanitary pads.


Student Helena Herranz, 18, said she was keen to give reusable products a try.

“We use a lot of pads, a lot of tampons, a lot of material throughout our lives and they pollute a lot,” she told Reuters.

Scotland became the first country in the world in 2020 to offer free sanitary products but the Catalan government said this was the first time that reusable menstrual products are given away for free.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

In 2022, Spain passed a law stipulating that menstrual products should be distributed for free at schools, prisons, women’s health-care facilities and other public institutions.

TAGS: menstrual, Spain

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.