Time for a #TrialPeriod? Scots encouraged to stem the flow of single-use menstrual products and switch to reusables

Zero Waste Scotland has teamed up with Scottish dancers, Sarah Gibson and Kara Hudson, for a nationwide campaign to tackle the 427 million single-use period products disposed of nationally every year and encourage Scots to try reusable options instead.

With funding from European Regional Development Fund, the #TrialPeriod campaign was launched by Sarah and Kara with Catherine Bozec, from Zero Waste Scotland, at the Perth Theatre. The project aims to shine a spotlight on the variety of sustainable options and demonstrate that reusable alternatives can be just as convenient and comfortable.

Research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland indicates that a promising 10% of women in Scotland are currently using reusable products and a further 76% said they would consider trialling at least one reusable alternative – the menstrual cup, period-proof pants or washable cloth pads.

Reusable menstrual products benefit the environment by removing the need for single-use items. Disposable menstrual products are a significant cause of marine litter and can also end up in landfill. Disposables are primarily made of plastic and other synthetic materials, which take around 500 years to break down.

Despite the encouraging research showing that some people have already made the switch from disposables, single-use menstrual items are still overwhelmingly the most popular choice, especially pads with wings which are typically used by 70% of Scots. In an attempt to reduce this figure, Zero Waste Scotland is urging people to give reusable period products a go.

Catherine Bozec, #TrialPeriod campaign manager, at Zero Waste Scotland said: “There are several types of reusable period products available, including cups, pads and underwear and we would encourage people to give them a try.

“The average woman will dispose of an estimated 11,000 period products in her lifetime, contributing to landfill waste and possibly marine litter. By making the switch to reusable period products, women can save money, resources and the environment.”

It is estimated that more than 340,000 tampons and pantyliners are flushed down the toilet each day in Scotland.

Catherine added: “We realise these products may not suit everyone and some will opt for a mix of reusable and disposable options to best suit their lifestyle needs. We would urge everyone never to flush the products down the toilet as that increases the risk that they will end up in our oceans.”

The Scottish Government’s Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“Scotland is leading the world in the provision of free period products and reducing the stigma around menstruation. I’m delighted this campaign will give more people the opportunity to try out environmentally friendly period products for free and would encourage women to become involved.”

Sarah Gibson said:

“It’s been great to find out more about the reusable period products that are available in Scotland. I currently use a cup and I am really interested to try out the other options, and to explore which works best for me and my active lifestyle. I’m always looking at ways I can cut down on my use of disposables, to save natural resources and I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to help others do the same.”

#TrialPeriod is part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which will invest £73m in circular economy and resource efficiency projects, thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

To learn more about reusable period products, including how to take part in a free product trial being run by Zero Waste Scotland in partnership with Hey Girls, visit www.trialperiod.scot


Share your journey with reusable period products on social media using the #TrialPeriod