‘Period poverty‘ means having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. This issue affects people all over the world and Blogger Amber Petit wants to help combat this issue for students:
“At Worcester Students’ Union, we think it is very important that our students’ have access to essentials without feeling “caught short”. We offer free sanitary products for everyone which are easily accessible in both our female and gender neutral toilets as well as posters around the Student Union to inform everyone about the service.”
Harry Lonsdale – Student Union President.
At Worcester, the Students’ Union scheme to provide free menstrual products to those in need, helps to avoid that dreaded feeling when you’re “caught short” and have to eye up the right person in the toilets to ask if they have a pad or tampon (we’ve all been there). This free access to essential sanitary products helps end stigma surrounding periods and contributes to ending period poverty. With the tax on traditional sanitary products remaining at 5%, services like the one provided at Worcester are becoming more and more important.
Many female students may have received an Always box of Sanitary products via the UCAS scheme or you gone on the Bodyform website to request some free samples. Both of these schemes are great for ending period poverty and help students afford the essentials.
But what else can you do? If you are like me, you may be looking into investing into more sustainable alternatives to traditional period products. With climate change becoming a more pressing issue, like many students I am exploring new ways to reduce my consumption of single use plastic. I also wanted to some money along the way. So, here are a few eco friendly alternatives to single use products:
- You may or may not have already been party to one of the many discussions by women of how the Menstrual Cup revolutionised their life. Or have a friend like mine that felt so passionately about them that they ordered one for me off Amazon. So, for those of you who have not come across this product, the Menstrual Cup is a convex silicon cup which is inserted and used to collect your period. It can then be emptied, cleaned and reused. If taken care of effectively the Cup can last for up to 5 years!!! The cups range in price from £10 – £35 (the one I bought was £11.05 off Amazon.) The cup itself comes in a draw-string bag which can be carried around in your handbag at all times meaning that you’ll never be “caught short” again. By making this one-off purchase you will be saving yourself a lot of money in the long term.
- For those of you who are not comfortable with the idea of the Menstrual Cup there are other sustainable products such as re-usable bamboo cloth pads. I decided to trial these as I was slightly sceptical at first however found that these are an amazing alternative to traditional single use pads. The pads themselves have poppers for wings. The ones I purchased came in lots of different patterns including my favourite which has a flamingo pattern (this was the major selling point for me). The pads once used should be rinsed in the sink with cold water and left to dry. If taken care of effectively the pads can be used for up to 3-5 years!!!
- Another alternative I have seen popping up on my Facebook and Instagram timeline is reusable period pants from companies such as Modibodi and THINX. These work on a similar premise to the bamboo cloth pads, however, from my research, these are a more costly alternative to the products discussed above.
So, there we have it, my student guide to transitioning to sustainable period products at university. Hopefully this blog will have converted you to the idea of using these ecologically sustainable and ultimately money saving products. Because in 2019 no one should be caught short or be without essential sanitary products.