Female Health

Period Poverty and Sustainable Periods

According to the Independent newspaper, Period poverty is a widespread issue in the UK — with 49 per cent of girls having missed a day of school due to periods and one in 10 women aged 14 to 21 not able to afford period products. To read more about period poverty click on this link.

The environmental impact of sanitary waste is considerable. A disposable sanitary pad takes over 500 years to decompose. Thousands of tons of disposable sanitary waste is generated every month across the world. The waste from sanitary products is also toxic and hazardous to human health.

Sanitary products in the UK are also, controversially, subject to VAT , and are expensive. An excellent solution to period poverty is the provision of washable pads and menstrual cups, which also greatly lessen the effect on the environment.

Freedom4girls is a small Leeds-based charity that supplies menstrual products including reusable sanitary protection to women across the UK, and also in Kenya and Uganda. Menstruation Matters provides a range of menstrual products, including washable pads, to women are fleeing domestic or sexual abuse.

People are getting much more comfortable talking about periods, and thinking about how they can reduce their ‘footprint’ by using alternative protection for their periods.

Here are some examples of brands providing re-usable or plastic free menstrual protection, but this is by no means all of them!

Cheeky Pants


Wuka Period Pants


Modibodi Period Pants

Merula Cup

Pixie Cup

Wear ‘Em Out Pads

Saalt Cup– this one is plastic negative!

Thinx Period Pants

Diva Cup