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There are around 18 million women of menstruating age in the UK and 200,000 tonnes of waste generated per year from single-use menstrual products. Yet research into sustainability and menstrual products is relatively limited. My postgraduate dissertation is a timely addition to this body of knowledge. The research, to be published in the International Journal for Student Sustainability Research later in 2021, explored students’ experience of and attitudes towards reusable menstrual products. Students were found to be motivated by the environmental benefits and long-term cost savings which use of reusable products could bring, but barriers include a lack of knowledge of reusable products and their benefits, upfront cost of certain products, and stigma against reusables.
I shared my findings with Bristol-based organisation, City to Sea and this has informed their national work on and approach to menstrual products. I helped to secure funding for students to trial reusables for free and empowered elected students to run educational workshops for their peers. As an Environmenstrual Ambassador and volunteer for the Women’s Environmental Network, I created videos and ran workshops for community groups about sustainable menstrual products.
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