Bridgend College launches new sustainable initiative to save the world, one period at a time

Bridgend College is delighted to have launched today a brand new sustainable initiative in a bid to tackle period poverty in the community.

Funded by the Welsh Government and in partnership with Silly Panda and Wings Cymru, the scheme is an eco-friendly, innovative approach to promote period dignity by giving students at the College access to sustainable solutions to sanitary products and breaking the stigma surrounding periods. This is a really exciting partnership as Bridgend College is the first college in Wales to provide FREE eco-friendly packs to students. 

Silly Panda is a small indie business in South Wales, created in 2014 by Becca Mapp. Becca started by creating reusable cloth menstrual pads for friends then quickly gained popularity and blossomed into a busy full-time job.

As part of the launch, these free products were offered in a gender-neutral and inclusive way to anyone who experiences periods or knows someone who does. The pack includes a branded wash bag, reusable sanitary pads in a variety of appealing designs, a menstrual cup, a stain remover bar, drying strap, a locally made soap bar and an exclusive discount voucher for the purchase of further products.

To raise awareness throughout Women’s History Month in March, the Student Wellbeing Team and the College’s female student focus group, the G.R.L Society, coordinated a number of buzz sessions that were open to all genders to educate and to raise awareness of period poverty amongst students.

Members of the G.R.L Society have already trialled the products with positive feedback:

“Reusable Pads are amazing – the soft material is much more comfortable. I no longer have to buy tampons – the organic cup is cost-effective and lasts up to 12 hours”.

The College along with its partners within the scheme want a community where periods are fully understood, accepted and normalised by all and access to products of choice are available in the most dignified way. The initiative has a gender-neutral approach which aims to eradicate stigmas and myths so that no one is ashamed or embarrassed to talk about periods.

Student Wellbeing and Safeguarding Manager, Samantha Gunnarsson, said:

“We are really excited about this initiative. Awareness across the College has been entirely student-led and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from students who have already tested the products. We understand that the impact of single-use plastics on the environment is a hot topic amongst our students and our aim is to do our bit to find solutions for that.”

According to the Women’s Environmental Network, a woman will go through an average of more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products throughout the course of her life, which contribute to more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year (Independent, 2019). 

Bridgend College is proud to support the scheme in an attempt to tackle period poverty, the environment and equality. For more information, please contact the Student Wellbeing Team on 01656 302 302 Ext 488 or wellbeing@bridgend.ac.uk. To find out more about Silly Panda, visit sillypanda.co.uk.