Sustainable UCL


Project Period

The UCL community has launched the campaign ‘Project Period’ to start a conversation about period poverty and sustainable period products. Project Period aims to make UCL the first university to offer free sustainable period products to anyone who needs it.
Project Period's Story
  • Project period began when the Student Union’s Women's Officer began stocking free sanitary towels and tampons across all Students Union female toilets and at their main office for collection earlier this year.
  • Meanwhile UCL's Hockey Society ran a campaign to promote menstrual cups in a bid to reduce single-use plastics across campus.
  • As part of UCL’s ‘The Loop’ campaign which aims to help our community reduce consumption and buy products which are best for people and the planet, Sustainable UCL started the conversation at UCL’s Professional Awards. We asked staff and students to help us break the taboo of periods and come up with a mechanism which can help our community move towards sustainable period products.
  • Aim 1: To raise awareness of the pros and cons of different disposable and reusable menstrual products in relation to health and the environment. This will allow individuals to make informed choices of which period products to use and help break the taboo around periods.   
  • Aim 2: To work out a mechanism which will allow UCL to provide sustainable period products to staff and student who need them, and to reduce period poverty.  
  • Aim 3: UCL is a bold, forward thinking university. We want to use UCL’s research and power as a global university to support change in the UK and other countries surrounding period poverty and plastic-free periods. 
Period Poverty
  • On average a person who menstruate spends £4,500 on period products over a lifetime.
  • Products are classed as a ‘luxury, non-essential item’ in the UK and are taxed at 5%.  
  • More than 25% of menstruating people haven’t been able to afford period products at one time in their life.
  • 140,000 children in the UK have missed school because of their period. 
Plastic-free Periods
  • 4.3 billion disposable menstrual products are used in the UK every year
  • 2 billion menstrual products are flushed down Britain’s toilets, contaminating our beaches.
  • A ‘conventional’ menstrual pad is 90% plastic and contains around the same amount of plastic as four carrier bags 
  • Depending on where menstrual pads end up, they could have a longer life-span that the person who uses it! 
Inclusive Periods
  • Many people who don’t identify as women – such as trans men, agender and/or non-binary people menstruate and so we want to offer sustainable period products in gender neutral toilets.
  • People with disabilities such as autism may experience additional sensory issues around menstruation, such as sensitivity to the texture and material of different period products.
  • Whilst carers are often not supported to manage another person’s period. We want to break the taboo around periods, discuss these issues and help make sustainable periods more inclusive. 
The Team

Project Period is an inclusive campaign, members include:

  • UCL’s Access & Inclusion Manager
  • Sustainable UCL
  • UCLU’s Head of Operations and Equity’s Officer.

Members are of all genders and ages, and health and cultural beliefs have been considered. For this reason, no one product will be advised, but instead information will help the user choose the best product for themselves.  

Please get in touch here, if you have any questions.