Menstruation, Stigma and Sustainability


  • Dr Lara Owen
  • Prof Bettina Bildhauer

School of Modern Languages

This project is concerned with the sustainability of menstrual products, and explores how and to what extent the ongoing stigmatisation of menstruation is a factor in deterring some menstruators from disposing of products sustainably and/or from choosing to use reusable products, such as menstrual cups, cloth pads and period underwear.

This image shows a public toilet on an island in the Orkneys. Inside is a box of single-use disposable period products provided free by the Scottish government following 2021 legislation making access to period products a universal right. Outside is a wilderness area with beaches polluted by plastic tampon applicators – a significant source of marine litter identified as a concern in a 2019 Scottish government report. This image demonstrates a failure to connect policy-making; ironically, plastic disposables are being offered free in a wilderness area. 

Photography: Lyn Hartman