AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner says she is “in shock” after making it into the top ten of the BBC Woman’s Hour Power List.

In 2018, Ella Daish, 27, a former postal worker, started a petition calling on companies to remove plastic from their period products.

After successfully lobbying manufacturers and councils, her #EndPeriodPlastic campaign has earned her sixth place in the BBC Woman’s Hour Power List, which is this year dedicated to celebrating environmentalists.

The Argus: Ella Daish.Ella Daish.

She said: “To find out I was actually on the list was amazing, then I only found out live on the programme what number I was and I couldn’t believe I had made it into the top ten.

“As the numbers were going down, I was just thinking ‘surely I can’t be in the top ten’ and it’s just a complete shock.

“To be on the list with so many amazing women that are doing incredible work, it’s so special and I think especially right now, with all the work happening around the environment, it’s just amazing to be part of a list celebrating what women are doing.”

Ella, who moved to Brighton from Wales in March, started the campaign after seeing plastic waste on the streets during her postal rounds.

The Argus: Ella Daish.Ella Daish.

She was shocked to find out that sanitary products are the fifth most common item found on Europe’s beaches, more widespread than plastic straws.

She said: “Periods have a lot more to do with the environment than you might think and I know that it came as a shock to me that tampons and pads are produced in their thousands, used for just a few hours and then disposed of.

“They take 500 years to break down and it’s that that made me really take action.

“They contain almost 90 per cent plastic and that is contributing to the extraction of fossil fuels because they are either incinerated, sent to landfill or pollute the environment.

“It’s such a huge issue but when we think about plastic on the beach, we don’t think about these products, you think about bags or bottles.”

In 2019, Sainsbury’s stopped producing and selling its own-brand plastic tampon applicators as a result of Ella’s campaign.

Soon after, other supermarket giants and large manufacturers including Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Boots, Superdrug and Morrisons followed suit.

The Argus: Ella Daish took on supermarket giants to end period plastic.Ella Daish took on supermarket giants to end period plastic.

Ella told The Argus that prior to her campaign there was no access to eco-friendly tampons, pads or reusable products in supermarkets.

She said: “It was very frustrating, because if we haven't got freedom to choose then how can we truly make a decision about what we buy?

“It’s one of those simple things that is just normalised and mainstream and we really need to make these eco-friendly options and bring them into the places where we are all spending our money.

“By taking the step and making eco-friendly options and reusables available saves over 17 tonnes of plastic each year.

“The issue often gets put on us as consumers, but they’ve got the money and the resources to change and that’s exactly where it needs to happen.”

Alongside this campaign, Ella has been calling for local authorities and governments to spend their period poverty funding on eco-friendly productions.

Last year, in a global first, Caerphilly County Borough Council in Southern Wales committed to spending 100 per cent of its funding on eco-friendly products.

Welsh councils in Bridgend, Cardiff and Monmouthshire followed in Caerphilly’s footsteps earlier this year.

The Welsh government has now stipulated that 50 per cent of all period poverty funding should be spent on eco-friendly products.

Ella hopes her campaign will influence UK-wide change as she believes these measures would help to simultaneously tackle period poverty, the plastic crisis and protect the environment.

She said: “Of course we need to see change at an individual level, but we have to see changes from government to drive it forward in the way that we want.

“The decision of the Welsh councils and the Welsh government to make a change has shown the positive decisions that local authorities and governments can make.

“I would love to see the UK government make changes like that, but we also need make changes at an educational level too.

“We need to educate young people about the choices that they have.”

To support Ella's campaign visit