Collaboration will seek to use surplus materials from shellfish industries to develop bioplastics

SMI Hub researchers team up with Callaly to discover recyclable materials for menstrual products




Researchers from Royce’s Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub (SMI Hub) in collaboration with Callaly are working together to find alternative sustainable materials for menstrual hygiene products to help combat the growing need for natural-renewable alternatives for plastics.

New funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has enabled the collaboration which seeks to use surplus materials from shellfish industries to develop bioplastics. The novel materials will replace the stretchable films in feminine hygiene products with an ultimate aim to reduce the use of non-renewable and non-recyclable materials.

Callaly are a UK-based developer and manufacturer of menstrual period care products with an international sales footprint. The new project will utilise expertise and state-of-the-art equipment from the SMI Hub to find suitable alternatives to raw polymer materials.

The majority of period care products are designed to address the practical needs for the menstrual cycles and are often made from single-use plastics. Their properties and the excess of organic contamination makes recycling a significant challenge.

By utilising surplus materials from shellfish industries, researchers hope to develop bioplastics that can replace the stretchable films in feminine hygiene products. The properties of the bi-products offer a unique opportunity in developing functional films that are optically transparent, stretchable and have antimicrobial properties.

Commenting on the project, lead researcher Dr Ahu Gumrah Parry said:

We’re excited to be teaming up with Callaly on this project. Our efforts will unlock the potential of biopolymers as a biomedical material. Furthermore, using materials from shell fish farming waste streams to conduct this research helps us to enable a circular economy. Where disposal is necessary, such as feminine hygiene products, we want to ensure that the environmental impact is minimized by offering routes for biodegradable and compostable products.

The funding will enable initial research into biodegradable components for Callaly’s award-winning Tampliner products.

Thang Vo-Ta, CEO & Co-Founder at Callaly said:

We are delighted to receive this Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funding to test and develop exciting new materials that we can integrate into our products & bespoke manufacturing processes. As a B Corp, Callaly always holds ourselves to the highest standards and to be able to team up with the SMI Hub for greater sustainability in the period care market could make for very meaningful & positive impact.

About Callaly

Callaly is a British period care company that invented and manufactures the multi-patented Tampliner® – the first significant tampon innovation in 80 years – and recently awarded one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2020. Named by Fast Company one of the Most Innovative Companies of 2021, Callaly inspires customers to expect more from their period products – using innovation to transform the $35bn industry. The company offers their range of products managed through its ISO9001 based Quality Management System. As the UK’s first certified period care B Corp, Callaly is a company that’s committed to using business as a force for good, balancing people / planet / profit.

About the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub

The Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub is a new regional development project that helps to create trusted sustainable solutions for plastics use with companies looking to make a change. The SMI Hub is part of the Henry Royce Institute at The University of Manchester and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The Hub predominantly works with SMEs with a footprint in Greater Manchester but our expertise and activities can be made available to those outside of the region.


Mia Belfield
Digital Communications Manager
Henry Royce Institute/Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub