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Making the switch to reusable period products

Sunset views, hotdog legs and a rainbow of tampon applicators lined up in the sand. That last one is probably not top of the list for Instagram snaps of your next holiday, but plastic-free period campaigners have been sharing photos of plastic applicators piled up on UK beaches, sparking a tidal wave of support for the movement on social media.

What lies beneath...

Marine Conservation Society data shows that 5.4 pieces of litter identified as menstrual waste are found per 100m of beach in Scotland. Scary!

On average, one woman will dispose of around 11,000 period products in her lifetime. It’s not just the plastic applicators and packaging that are causing a problem - the single-use period products contain plastics and synthetic materials themselves.

Even worse, one pad can take as long as 500 years to breakdown. Not quite the heirloom you were expecting to pass on to your great-great-great-great-great-great (and the rest) grandchildren? Us neither!

The good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of reusable options to choose from. Cups are the most sustainable option when it comes to environmental impact, followed by pads and then pants. This is because cups can last for up to 10 years and need less maintenance than other alternatives that require regular washing.

If you’d like to know more, Zero Waste Scotland has calculated the carbon impacts of different menstrual products.

Did you know that if you switched from single-use tampons to a reusable menstrual cup over just one year, you could reduce the associated carbon impacts of your period product by approximately 90%?

Reusable menstrual cup icon

Not sure which product to try out first?

Find out more about reusable options here.