Closeup of young woman putting menstrual cup in cosmetic bag with other feminine essentials, copy space

The environmental impact of single-use period products is staggering with 427.5 million being disposed of every year in Scotland. Even worse, one sanitary pad can take up to 500 years to break down. 

Our guide to reusable period products

On average, people who have periods will dispose of around 11,000 period products in their lifetime. It’s not just the plastic applicators and packaging that are causing a problem – the single-use period products contain plastic and synthetic materials themselves. Flushing behaviour has led to single-use period products being one of the most common items found washed up on our beaches, contributing to the marine litter crisis.   

Woman comparing different reusable period products, pads and menstrual cups

Make the switch to reusable period products

There are plenty of reusable options to choose from. Reusable menstrual 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.  

We calculated the carbon impacts of different menstrual products, and found that if you switch from single-use tampons to a reusable menstrual cup for just one year, you could reduce the associated carbon impacts of your period product by around 90%.  

You could reduce the carbon impact of your period products by around 90% by switching to reusable options.

Eco-friendly period products

There are lots of reusable options to choose from, but you don't have to go to the extremes of sea sponges and crocheted tampons (unless that's your thing, of course!). Here’s our guide to some of the more popular choices in reusables, to help you find what works best for you.  


Lasting up to 10 years and made from leak-proof medical grade silicone, cups are low maintenance and can be worn for 10-12 hours - depending on your flow. 

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Available in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, cloth pads keep you leak-free and comfortable. What’s more, they can last up to five years.

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A super-absorbent, leak-resistant option. Made from antimicrobial, washable fibres. Even better, you don’t have to change them throughout the day. 

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Free trial campaign

In 2019, we ran our campaign – Trial Period – which offered people in Scotland a free trial of reusable period products to encourage giving reusable menstrual products a #TrialPeriod for a comfortable, leak-free, and more sustainable period.  

pink graphic from the trial period campaign