#PLASTICFREEPERIODS – about the campaign

Plastic Free Periods campaign aims to prevent plastic pollution from our periods by:
a) mainstreaming reusable and plastic-free disposable products
b) raising awareness that no period products should be flushed.

 52% of people aware of our ‘Plastic Free Periods’ campaign have subsequently stopped using plastic menstrual products altogether and almost three-quarters (70%) tell their friends and family about plastic free period alternatives​.

Plastic Free Periods was launched in 2017 with a video that was viewed over 3 million times in the few weeks after publishing on facebook.

In 2018 the campaign was featured on Women’s Hour, joined the Environmenstrual Coalition, ran online and offline events and reached 2 million people through the social media campaign. Our Women’s Hour slot saw sales from Honour Your Flow (reusable pads) triple in the 3 days following!

In 2019 City to Sea won funding from Hubbub and Waitrose for a nationwide, unbiased schools program, are investigating a pilot scheme in NHS Trusts and continuing to target retailers and manufacturers.

What’s the problem?

Did you know that a staggering 4.3 billion disposable menstrual products are used in the UK every year? This creates a huge amount of avoidable waste with much of it being plastic!

A ‘conventional’ box of menstrual pads contains around the same amount of plastic as five carrier bags. Depending on where it ends up as waste, it could have a longer life-span than the person who uses it! What’s more, although NO period products should go down the loo, it’s estimated that every single day in the UK about 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are flushed down the toilet – many of which block our sewer systems and escape into our rivers and seas…

Flushed plastics make up around 6.2% of beach litter in the UK. Plastic debris kills more than a million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals every year.


We expect companies to disclose exactly what we’re putting in our bodies in terms of food and cosmetics, so why won’t menstrual product manufacturers disclose what’s in their products?  Independent product-testing results has revealed that ‘conventional’ period products aren’t just bad for our wildlife, but also for our bodies. Non-organic disposable products have been found to contain toxic chemicals like BPA and BPS, and petrochemical additives – known endocrine disrupting substances which have been linked to heart diseases and cancer. This doesn’t sound like something you want to be putting in an area of the body with high blood flow and absorption!


It doesn’t have to be this way!  What if we could replace disposable, toxic period products with ones that are better for the ocean, for our wallets and for our bodies?!

We can all make a small change and switch from single use, disposable period products to reusable products.

  • Reusable period pads – soft, material pads which you wash after use.  Available in loads of funky designs. Find out more about reusable period pads here.
  • Menstrual cups – will last you years and are perfect for travelling (who wants to carry boxes of tampons and pads around whilst on the move?). 91% of women said that they would continue to use the cup and recommend it to a friend. Not sure how to use them? Find out here.
  • Period pants – cheeky absorbent underwear that will last you up to 2 years and look like your regular pants! Thinking about switching – get the low down here.

We totally understand and support that there are certain times and circumstances where people may need to use throw-away period products. If you still want/ need to use disposable products then organic products are far better for our bodies as well as for the environment. No bleaching, no ‘fragrances’, no chemicals associated with plastics. Of course, organic products still shouldn’t be flushed down the loo! If you still want/ need to use disposable products then switch to a non-toxic, 100% organic brand like Natracare, Hey Girls, Grace and Green or TOTM.

Don’t take our word for it…

Check out our 4 amazing volunteers trialing a variety of period products – see how they got on.

Give them a go and see if you can manage your period in a zero-waste, plastic-free way. Switching to reusables or organic products is a really empowering way to reduce your plastic-waste!


To help you work out which product might suit you best we’ve put together a page dedicated to answering questions about these products, supported by lots of different reusable product experts. You can also find discount codes here! If you’ve got any other questions feel free to ping them over to us on Twitter or Instagram.