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Sustainable Periods Workshop

Earlier in February, the Sexual and Reproductive Health Subcommittee (SFGH) collaborated with the Ethical Affairs Committee (Cambridge Student Union) to hold a workshop focusing on the benefits going green every month and switching to more environmentally friendly period product alternatives. The event had an informal yet informative atmosphere, with 19 participants readily contributing their opinions, experiences and questions throughout.

We began by discussing the impact conventional period products have on the environment, emphasising the imminent need for change. Did you know that 27,938 used tampons and applicators wash up on our world’s beaches every single day[1] ! If that’s not enough to change your mind on the importance of this topic, consider 200,000 tonnes of waste due to disposable period products per year in the UK alone[2] !

Following this, we engaged in a discussion about the alternatives available, from menstrual cups to period pants. Not only did we discuss their positive environmental impact, but we also tried to address people’s concerns about financial accessibility. Everyone got involved, sharing their own positive experiences and apprehensions about using these products.

After a lengthy discussion, we checked in on the attendees, asking them how they would feel about using reusable period products now! Excitingly, everyone felt very positive and all negative preconceptions were squashed!

In keeping with “the Cambridge Period Project” launched this term, we rounded off the event with a discussion about period poverty both globally and within Cambridge. We linked this back to the environment, highlighting the many ways in which sustainable period products are being used to combat global period poverty. For example, many NGOs have been looking to provide menstrual cups/pads to the poorest communities with the dual goal of combatting poverty and sustainability. However, as highlighted by Gabby Edlin (founder of Bloody Good Period), it is not always possible to prioritise the environment when combating period poverty. This pragmatic view is mirrored in our approach to tackle period poverty in Cambridge, calling on all colleges to provide disposable products first and foremost, and eco-friendly products where possible.

Overall, it was a highly engaging evening and I think I speak for everyone when I say we learnt a lot! If you want to learn more, click below to access our information sheet, summarising some key resources from the workshop….



[1] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lunette-kicks-off-the-cup-together-challenge-to-eliminate-ten-million-pieces-of-period-trash-from-the-environment-this-year-300831003.html

[2] https://theconversation.com/the-future-of-periods-can-now-be-sustainable-and-cheap-133025#:~:text=The%20UK%20alone%20generates%20200%2C000,issues%20that%20disposable%20products%20heighten

[3] https://www.bloodygoodperiod.com/about

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