Have you ever looked for an accessible, comprehensive source of information and research about the environmental impact of different kinds of menstrual products?
Planet-Positive Periods is the outcome of a new and powerful creative partnership between Aisle, Green Periods and PERIOD. We are thrilled with this new suite of up-to-the-minute research and resources about sustainability and menstruation, all in a free, open-source format available to anyone.
About the Planet-Positive Periods team
PERIOD. is a youth-fueled nonprofit that strives to eradicate period poverty and stigma through service, education, and advocacy. Through the distribution of menstrual products, promotion of youth leadership, and championing of menstrual equity in policy, PERIOD. aims to center those disproportionately affected by period poverty and support local efforts for menstrual equity.
Green Periods is a social impact project creating awareness about the economic and ecological implications of menstruation. With its unique menstrual footprint calculator, Green Periods is on a mission to create global awareness about reusable menstrual products that are good for your body, wallet and the planet, bridging the gap between menstruation, education, environment and technology.
Aisle (formerly Lunapads) has been leading the sustainable menstrual health and period equity movement since 1993. Our groundbreaking collection of cloth pads and period underwear was the first of its kind, and we have been steadfast in our championing of transparency, ethical manufacturing and business as a force for good, as embodied by our proud B Corp status.
Our collective vision was to create a suite of tools for students to take an intersectional deep dive into the sustainability ins and outs of period products, including using Green Period’s personal period ‘footprint’ calculator to quantify the impact of individual choices. How exactly do disposables and reusable products stack up, for example? And what steps can be taken to improve access to reusable period products for students and other groups who may not be able to easily afford them?
The Planet-Positive Periods toolkit includes:
- Slide presentation
- Facilitator’s Guide
- Research Appendix
- Assessment Quiz
- Video webinar
- Shareable Infographic
As with any thriving partnership, the whole is invariably bigger than the sum of the parts. Our collective drive, wisdom, creativity and deep commitment to sustainability and menstrual health and equity have created a world-class, publicly accessible free resource that we believe will be a vital lever in moving the broader period equity movement forward.
Finally, one of the things that we feel proudest of is the quality of research that we were able to draw from. In recent years, there have been a host of new studies that help to paint a far more detailed portrait of the social and environmental impacts of period poverty, for example. For the research geeks out there, the references are listed below:
- World Bank Group. (2020, May 27). Periods don't stop for pandemics – neither will our efforts to bring safe menstrual hygiene to women and girls. The World Bank. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2020/05/28/menstrual-hygiene-day-2020
- Office on Women's Health. (2018, March 16). Your menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle | Office on Women's Health. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/your-menstrual-cycle
- Borunda, A. (2021, May 3). How tampons and pads became unsustainable and filled with plastic. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/how-tampons-pads-became-unsustainable-story-of-plastic
- Statista Research Department. (2022, February 2). Feminine hygiene: Sales value worldwide 2018 & 2023. Statista. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/825019/sales-value-of-the-feminine-hygiene-market-global-and-in-the-us/
- Notman, N. (2021, March 8). Single-use plastic in period products. RSC Education. Retrieved from https://edu.rsc.org/feature/single-use-plastic-in-period-products/4013167.article
- Green Periods calculations
- Niklas. (2021, January 21). 8 things that weigh about 100 kilograms (KGS). Weight of Stuff. Retrieved from https://weightofstuff.com/8-things-that-weigh-about-100-kilograms-kgs/
- Gouda, H. (2014). Urban water security: LCA and sanitary waste management. Environmental Scientist-Water Security, 23(3). Retrieved from https://www.the-ies.org/sites/default/files/journals/water_security_oct_14.pdf
- Natracare. (2021, September 22). Pack of pads contains as much plastic as five carrier bags. Natracare. Retrieved from https://www.natracare.com/blog/pack-of-pads-contains-as-much-plastic-as-five-carrier-bags/
- Notten, P., Gower, A., & Lewis, Y. (2021). (rep.). Single-use menstrual products and their alternatives: Recommendations from Life Cycle Assessments. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved from https://www.lifecycleinitiative.org/library/single-use-menstrual-products-and-their-alternatives-recommendations-from-life-cycle-assessments/
- Edraki, F. (2017, November 4). Tampons, pads, cups: Which period product is best for the environment? ABC News. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-27/which-period-product-is-best-for-the-environment/9090658
- United Nations Environment Programme. (2021, December 22). Plastic planet: How tiny plastic particles are polluting our soil. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved from https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/plastic-planet-how-tiny-plastic-particles-are-polluting-our-soil
- Leslie, H. A., van Velzen, M., Brandsma, S. H., Vethaak, A. D., Garcia-Vallejo, J. J., & Lamoree, M. H. (2022). Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood. Environment international, 107199. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2022.107199
- Rahman, A., Sarkar, A., Yadav, O. P., Achari, G., & Slobodnik, J. (2021). Potential human health risks due to environmental exposure to nano- and microplastics and knowledge gaps: A scoping review. The Science of the total environment, 757, 143872. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143872
- Delmas, M., & Burbano, V. (2011). The Drivers of Greenwashing. California Management Review, 54(1), 64–87. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1525%2Fcmr.2011.54.1.64
- WoMena. (2019, March 6). What is the environmental impact of menstrual products? WoMena. Retrieved from https://womena.dk/what-is-the-environmental-impact-of-menstrual-products/
- Lanfranchi, M., & Cline, E. (2021). (rep.). Cotton: A Case Study in Misinformation. Transformers Foundation. Retrieved from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5efdeb17898fb81c1491fb04/t/61de9a24d5a36752adcbf737/1641978418846/CottonPaper_120122_TransformersFoundation_.pdf
- Green Periods. (2022). Learn more. Green Periods. Retrieved from http://greenperiods.org/learn
- Aisle. (n.d.). Maxi Pad. Aisle. Retrieved from https://periodaisle.ca/products/maxi-pad?variant=39369531555910
- Brooks, L. (2021, March 28). Disabled people menstruate, too. Which reusable products might work for you? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lakenbrooks/2021/03/25/disabled-people-menstruate-too-which-reusable-products-might-work-for-you/?sh=21da34051241
- Aisle. (n.d.) BOOST Boxer. Aisle. Retrieved from https://periodaisle.ca/products/boxer-brief
- Booth, J. (2020, February 12). Raise your hand if you've ever been personally victimized by a pad rash. Greatist. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://greatist.com/health/rashes-from-pads
- Lu, W. (2016, September 23). What To Know About Tampon Allergies. Bustle. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.bustle.com/articles/183217-can-you-be-allergic-to-tampons-7-things-to-know-if-youre-feeling-itchy-down-south
- Swedish Chemicals Agency. (2018). (rep.). Survey of hazardous chemical substances in feminine hygiene products: A study within the government assignment on mapping hazardous chemical substances 2017–2020. Stockholm. Retrieved from https://www.kemi.se/download/18.6df1d3df171c243fb2331064/1589120703821/report-8-18-survey-of-hazardous-chemical-substances-in-feminine-hygiene-products.pdf.
- Gao, C. J., & Kannan, K. (2020). Phthalates, bisphenols, parabens, and triclocarban in feminine hygiene products from the United States and their implications for human exposure. Environment international, 136, 105465. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105465
- Segedie, L. (2021, October 15). Report: 65% of period underwear tested likely contaminated with PFAS Chemicals. Mamavation. Retrieved from https://www.mamavation.com/health/period-underwear-contaminated-pfas-chemicals.html