Plastic-Free Periods and the Environment


As the world wakes up to the impact of plastic pollution caused by single-use bottles and packaging, another, potentially bigger issue is lurking around our coasts. One that outdated taboos often stop us talking about. Plastic pollution from period products.

Up to 2 billion period products are flushed down the toilet in the UK each year, blocking our sewers and creating overflow that escapes into our rivers and seas. Find out more about the process – from bathroom to beach – here.

Flushing behaviour has led to period products now being the 5th most common item found on European beaches – more widespread than single-use coffee cups, cutlery or straws. But flushing behaviour isn’t the only problem; disposable period products are also piling up in landfill. And if we look at the bigger picture, plastic is made from fossil fuels, so period plastic contributes to the climate crisis in the same way as all other single-use plastics.

A big-brand pack of 14 menstrual pads contains the same amount of plastic as 5 carrier bags. And each pad can be made of up to 90% crude oil.

A staggering 3 billion disposable menstrual products are used every year in the UK alone.

200,000 tonnes of menstrual waste landfilled each year in the UK.

If just 20% of people in the EU used a menstrual cup instead of single-use items, it would prevent 100 tonnes of waste across the 27 EU member states, every year.


Stop flushing the health of our ocean down the loo

The easiest way to prevent flushed plastic pollution is to make sure you never flush anything down the toilet other than toilet paper, poo and pee! Whatever they’re made of, period products must be binned.

Go plastic-free

Next time your period comes around why not give some plastic-free products a go? Find out more about the range of plastic-free alternatives here (and don’t miss out on the cheeky discount codes!).

Spread the word

Watch and share our film ‘Turning Tides’ to raise awareness of plastic pollution from period products and allow people to make informed choices about what they put into their bodies every month.

Our ambassadors

We’re working with people who love the water to help spread the message about this easy way to reduce our single-use plastic footprint.

Cal Major

Cal Major

Who broke a world record by stand-up paddleboarding from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise awareness about nature connection, plastic pollution and protecting our mental health.

Whether we feel connected to the oceans or not, they produce over half the oxygen we breathe on Earth. They are precious to so many of us surfers, stand-up paddleboarders and swimmers for our wellbeing, but they are essential to all of us for sustaining our life on this planet. We can’t afford to let plastic pollution destroy them, and switching to reusable period products is one of the simplest ways we women can minimise our plastic footprint.

Andrea Marshall

Andrea Marshall

Founder of Marine Megafauna Foundation

These days we are being inundated with terrifying news about the environment and the state of our great oceans. If you feel helpless, you are not alone. But it is important to remember that we can all do our part in turning the tide. Once I started using reusable menstrual cups I never looked back. They protect me better than tampons or pads, they are great for someone who spends most of their day in the water, and they save me loads of money. Being a better steward of the environment starts with a series of small changes and this is certainly one that we ladies can get behind!

Chrissana Wilmot

Chrissana Wilmot

Trinidadian surfer

I support this initiative because our cycles, like the natural environment, shouldn’t fall victim to plastic products.

Sophie Hellyer

Sophie Hellyer

A national surf champion at the age of 15 and co-founded the #RiseFierce movement of cold-water swimmers.

I’ve had used period products land on my board and float past while I’m surfing. Not cool! To protect what I value – the ocean and my body – I choose plastic-free periods. I hope that this film highlights the connection between what we love – the ocean – and the products we choose in our everyday lives.


Tanya Streeter

World champion freediver

The ocean has provided me with a lifetime of fun and opportunity, and I hope my children and future generations will have the chance to experience the same. One of the unique things we women can do to protect our blue planet from plastic pollution is to make environmentally sensitive choices when it comes to our menstruation products. Help turn the tide on #PlasticPollution by choosing #PlasticFreePeriods!

Alice Dearing

Alice Dearing

Team GB swimmer

As an open water swimmer the sea is a huge part of my life and I love the beauty of it. The fact that so much plastic is infesting our seas and ruining the ecosystems which exist within it is frightening and change needs to happen. I’m excited to be working with City to Sea to raise awareness around plastic in the ocean!

Nique Miller

Nique Miller

Professional surfer (SUP and Longboard). Currently ranked 7th in the world in SUP.

I’m supporting City to Sea’s #PlasticFreePeriods campaign because it’s important to spread the word about the damaging effects of single-use plastic on the environment. I’m from Hawaii and on this small island I can see first-hand the damaging effect that plastic is having on the beaches, ocean, mountains and jungle. It is literally killing and destroying the reef and animals in our precious and unique ecosystem. I want to be a part of this campaign to shine a light on this issue and share solutions on how to help.

Laura Crane

Laura Crane

Team GB surf ambassador

The ocean and my body have always been there for me since I can remember and now it’s time for me to be there for them!

That’s why I have chosen to back this campaign and say NO to single-use sanitary products FOREVER!


Organisation: City to Sea @citytosea_
Directors: Lucy Hawes & Jo Guthrie @1ucy_h_ & @jog
Producer: Lucy Hawes @1ucy_h_

Greg Dennis @gregwdennis
Rod Caetano @rodrcaetano
Courtney Spence @courtney.spence.life
Forrest Ladkin @forrestandsea
Nick Oahu @Nick.oahu
James Appleton @jamesappletonphotography
Janneman Conradie @janneman.conradie
Stephanie Teixeira @cisca.studio
Stacey Powers @tincanadventure
Rauri Cantelo @rauricantelo
James Partridge @thisispartridge

Post production
The Mill @millchannel

Post producer
Nicole Duncan @nicoleduncan88

Graphic Design
Jo Guthrie @jog

Alex Gregory @alexgregorycolour


Bethan Williams @bethancwilliams
Raj Davsi @rajdavsi

Sophie Hellyer @sophiehellyer
Nique Miller @nique_miller
Ruby Day @ruby_day

Cal Major @cal_major

Andrea Marshall @queenofmantas

Whitehouse Post

Liz Deegan @lizdeegsedit

Post producer
Annabel Bennett

Socials editing
Jo Guthrie @jog

Harry Linden Johnson @harrylindenjohnson

With special thanks to:

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