Kilwinning business helping to 'save the planet one period at a time'
Posted on 16 Sep 2021
A local business is helping to address the climate crisis by producing a sustainable alternative to one of the world’s major plastic polluters.
Kilwinning-based TCS-Eco is a manufacturer of reusable cloth sanitary towels – an eco-friendly alternative to disposable period products.
Disposable period products such as tampons, pads and liners along with their packaging generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste each year in the UK (according to Knowaste) – and they all contain plastic.
TCS-Eco aims to cut down on the volume of disposables and the harmful impact they have on the environment by offering reusable products which come in a wide range of materials, colours and sizes.
The products are made in-house by TCS-Eco’s employees who are from the local area, including two young people who have been employed through the Kickstart scheme.
It is a business that came to fruition through its Managing Director, Kerry-Anne Quinn – someone who cares passionately about providing high quality, functional and sustainable period products that suit the changing and different needs of people who menstruate.
It started as a personal project in Kerry-Anne’s living room, running off the solar panels in her home and has now grown into a fully operational business with capacity to produce up to 300 products each week from its new base at Longford Avenue in Kilwinning.
TCS-Eco has been supported in its development and growth through the Council’s Business team that has, most recently, provided funding through its £500,000 Transitional Fund – a fund that was established earlier this year to support businesses that have been impacted financially by Covid restrictions. This has allowed TCS-Eco to purchase machinery that helps to reduce costs and greatly cut down on their carbon footprint. They are also working with Kerry-Anne and the team to help them prepare for business with public sector buyers across Scotland.
Kerry-Anne, said: “Here at TCS-Eco, we are a business with a mission and that mission is to save the planet one period at a time. Afterall, it’s a no brainer when it comes to choosing reusable period products over disposables - it’s better for your body and the environment. A single-use sanitary towel can take 500 years to degrade, whereas we have customers that are still using reusable towels that they bought from us eight years ago.
“There’s still a big misconception when it comes to reusable period products, particularly amongst older people who may have had a terrible experience using them many years ago. But here at TCS-Eco, our products are not designed in a way that ‘one-size-fits-all’ and that’s because we recognise that periods are completely different for each person and so too are our bodies. You have choice with our products – choice over the design, material and size so there is something that suits your flow and your personal preference.
“By choosing our products, you are not only doing your bit to help the environment, you are also helping to support a local business that pays the real living wage.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for the support we’ve received so far – yes, there have been some bumps along the way, but we’re on the right track now and the future is looking extremely positive.”
Council Leader Joe Cullinane joined members of the Council’s Business team on a visit to TCS-Eco last week. He said: “It was a real pleasure to meet with Kerry-Anne, Alix and the team in their new premises in Kilwinning. The place is looking fantastic and it was great to see manufacturing in full swing.
“TCS-Eco is a great example of a business with a purpose. The team is incredibly passionate about reusable period products and the benefits their products bring in terms of reducing environmental impact. The care, thought and research that goes into every single material that TCS-Eco uses in their products ensures they are of the highest quality.
“They are a business with a great ethos which aligns closely to ours here at the Council – committed to reducing carbon emissions with the aim of becoming net-zero as well as the principles of Community Wealth Building as they not only employ local people, but also pay them the real living wage.
“The business is at a really exciting point in their growth and the team has some wonderful new products and ideas in development. We look forward to continuing to support them and to seeing what the future holds.”