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News article14 September 2023Directorate-General for Environment1 min read

Circular economy: new EU Ecolabel criteria for absorbent hygiene products and reusable menstrual cups

Collage of images depicting feminine hygiene products.
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The Commission has adopted new EU Ecolabel criteria for absorbent hygiene products and reusable menstrual cups – strengthening the already existing criteria for diapers, tampons and pads, as well as brand new criteria for reusable menstrual cups.

Through the EU Ecolabel, the European Union official label for environmental excellence, industry can offer reliable and truly eco-friendly alternatives to conventional products, empowering consumers to make informed choices and play an active role in the ecological transition.

The new ambitious criteria ensure that EU Ecolabel absorbent hygiene products and menstrual cups are of good quality and among the best on the market in terms of environmental performance, throughout the life cycle of the product.

In particular, the criteria guarantee reduced environmental impact of absorbent hygiene products and menstrual cups on air, water, soil and biodiversity, and reduced environmental damage or risks related to the use of certain chemicals. For example, for absorbent hygiene products, strict limits are imposed on emissions of air and water pollutants from fluff production, as well as on CO2 emissions. Requirements on fibres promote sourcing from sustainably managed forests. Many hazardous substances such as antibacterial agents, formaldehyde, parabens, endocrine disruptors and phthalates are banned. Fragrances and lotions that can cause allergies are also banned from EU Ecolabel tampons, pads nappies and menstrual cups.

In addition, both set of criteria encourage circular economy practices, including waste reduction and the use of recycled material in packaging. Finally, the use of reusable menstrual cups encourages reuse as a sustainable consumer behaviour, leading to  reducing single-use plastics, therefore savings resources and preventing waste.

On the top of environmental aspects, the new requirements also include a fitness for use criteria guaranteeing high quality products, and a mandatory third-party verification of the corporate social responsibility of the manufacturing site with regard to labour aspects.

Awarding products with the EU Ecolabel or increasing the visibility of EU Ecolabel products is a way for producers and retailers to take part in the Sustainable Consumption Pledge.

The criteria will be presented in a dedicated webinar on 11 October 2023. Register here.  

More information 

EU Ecolabel website 

New EU Ecolabel criteria adopted today


Publication date
14 September 2023
Directorate-General for Environment

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