Following the new policy, the Student Union will provide period products for anyone who needs them!
Did you know that Scotland is the first country in the world to make period products widely available in universities for free (under the Period Product Bill, 2021)! This means Heriot-Watt University and the Student Union provide a wide range of menstrual products for anyone who needs them!
Just a quick reminded that not only women get periods and that not all women get periods!
Where can I find them on campus?
On the Edinburgh Campus, you can find pads and tampons in the women's and accessible toilets in the main building and in Halls. If the toilet you are using doesn't have them, try checking other toilets as they run out quickly sometimes.
The Advice Hub, in the Hugh Nisbett building, provides packets of tampons, individual disposal pads and a bunch of sustainable options (find out more below!). We can’t currently give you full boxes of pads because they’re in such high demand, so we run through supplies too quickly, but we’re working on it! You’re welcome to come as many times as you need to pick up disposable pads.
On the Scottish Borders Campus, you can find pads and tampons in most women’s and accessible toilets in both the High Mill, the Thread, and the Borders College building.
If there are any issues with supplies, please let Georgia, the Vice President Wellbeing, at email@example.com.
Where can I find them off campus?
Local councils currently provide free period products in a range of locations. Click here to find out where you can access free products in your local area.
You can also use the PickupMyPeriod app to find out where you can access free period products. You can use these links to download the app:
Download the PickupMyPeriod app for iOS (Apple)
Download the PickupMyPeriod app for Android
Need more information on sustainable period products?
Menstrual cups and reusable pads can last a long time, which means you’re not contributing more waste to the environment. You can find menstrual cups and reusable pads in the Advice Hub or from ResLife in Halls
Using a menstrual cup
A menstrual cup is a reusable period product, it's a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that you insert into your vagina to catch and collect period fluid. Menstrual cups can hold more blood than other methods, so lots of women use them as an eco-friendly alternative to tampons. And depending on your flow, you can wear a cup for up to 12 hours. Menstrual cups are safer because they collect rather than absorb blood, which means you’re not at risk of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare bacterial infection associated with tampon use.
Here is a video to help you insert your menstrual cup How to Insert a Menstrual Cup. If you can put in a tampon, you should find it relatively easy to insert a menstrual cup.
Reusable menstrual cups should be washed and wiped clean before being reinserted. Your cup should be emptied at least twice a day. Reusable menstrual cups are durable and can last for 6 months to 10 years with proper care. Please read the instructions provided with your menstrual cup to see for how long you can use it.
Using reusable pads
Reusable pads are another sustainable and eco-friendly option, but they are also comfy and perform better than disposable pads! They work just the same, or better than normal disposable pads, but you remove them and wash them instead of throwing them out.
To wear, you simply place a reusable pad into your underwear like you would a disposable pad. Instead of the kind of adhesive you find on disposable pads, reusable pads are attached to your underwear with poppers, clips or velcro.
Reusable pads can be used roughly the same amount of time as disposable pads, so you will probably need 1 pad every 4 hours or so, depending on flow. You will probably find that you need to change reusable pads less frequently, as they are more absorbent than standard disposable pads.
Washing reusable pads properly is important, but thankfully easy! Some are put off by needing to wash reusable pads, but washing reusable pads is easy. Once you have finished with a reusable pad, you can either pop it in a sealed bag, say if you are out and about, or immediately put it in cold water to soak.
Soaked pads can be washed in a standard dark 40-degree wash or by hand. Don’t be tempted to crank up the washing heat – this could damage the pads. You can use light detergent, but fabric softener will leave residue on the pads, which you don't want. If you are concerned about disinfecting the pads, you can add some white vinegar to the wash. This is perfectly safe for your washing machine and great for other clothes.
Please don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable using menstrual cups and reusable pads, they're just sustainable alternatives of what you would usually wear during your period. However, it is always worth trying them out!