The UK produces 200,000 tonnes of period product waste per year and globally this number is expected to increase as disposable period products are more widely available around the world

Across the globe, people are uncomfortable talking about the topic of menstruation and period products. Challenge the taboo in your classroom by using period products as a context to address sustainability and consumer choices. Single-use plastic carrier bags are often used to introduce the topic of life-cycle assessments to 14-16 learners. Stretch and challenge learners to apply their skills in the context of period pads, which are also single-use plastics, and tampons, which can contain plastic.

Use the teacher notes to plan a lesson with a starter activity and blind-box thinking activity to start learners thinking about the products they use every day and their packaging. In the main group activity, learners will look at the information provided on three different types of period product. They will assess the environmental impact of tampons, period pads and menstrual cups, completing a life-cycle assessment for each and eventually making a recommendation based on their judgements.

Learners are also asked to consider the difficulties in comparing the environmental impact of products during their whole life-time and to challenged to tell the difference between facts and opinions.

This resource is published alongside the Education in Chemistry article, Reduce single-use plastic, period