Over the last couple of decades, women's sanitary products have undergone a massive revolution – from homemade pads and cloth rags to modern day napkins and tampons. The range of menstrual products is still evolving with environment friendly, biodegradable and reusable products joining the wagon.
Latest to enter this segment are Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi-incubated startup Sanfe, which claims to have designed first reusable sanitary pads, made with composite banana fiber.
These pads can last upto two years or around 120 washes after washing them in cold water with detergent after every use. A pack of two pads is priced at Rs 199.
The Sanfe Reusable Pad has been developed by founders BTech students Archit Agarwal and Harry Sehrawat, based on inputs from several institute professors.
“The reusable pads are ultra-thin and are highly absorbent with Quadrant True Lock Technology which makes the pad leakproof and avoids creating any rashes. A patent has also been filed for the design,” said a release.
Explaining the technology behind it, the reusable sanitary pad is made up of four layers of different fabrics:
1. Polyester Pilling - This fabric is highly wicking and doesn’t absorb the fluid, giving a dry experience throughout the day time.
2. Terry and Banana Fibers including viscose and Polyester Fibers - This part is highly absorbent, soaking and absorbing all the fluids making napkins highly absorbent.
3. Cotton Polyurethane Laminate - This is a breathable layer with water resistant properties giving leak-proof experience.
The company aims to address the increasing problem of plastic waste generated in society created due to disposable sanitary pads.
“According to Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India (MHAI) there are almost 336 million menstruating women in India, of which 36% use disposable sanitary pads summing up to 121 million. India has approximately 12.3 billion disposable sanitary napkins to be taken care of every year, and a majority of these are non-biodegradable. Most of these sanitary napkins are made of synthetic materials and plastic, which can take more than 50-60 years to decompose. This enormous amount of menstrual waste is usually dumped in landfills, thrown in open spaces and water bodies, burnt, buried (shallow burial) or flushed down toilets. These disposal techniques create a hazard for the environment. For instance, burning releases carcinogenic fumes in the form of dioxins creating an air pollution hazard, putting this waste in landfills only adds to the burden of waste, and so on,” said the company.
The use of reusable pads has already been introduced in African Countries by government bodies, NGOs and UN which distributed the reusable pads to school girls under sustainable menstrual hygiene.
“Due to the taboo around it, women hygiene has been neglected in thought and talk. With our innovations in women hygiene, we want to empower women and make their life simpler. Even for women welfare, Government and NGOs regularly distribute subsidized disposable sanitary napkins in rural and semi urban areas which is a huge cost and harm to environment accounting only for a short term solution. We urge these organizations to switch to Reusable Pads under #IBleedGreen movement and can save upto 75% of the cost,” said Aggarwal.
Interested users can visit reusablepads.org to find out more.
Sanfe, a feminine hygiene brand and women empowerment company, was founded by two Agarwal and Sehrawat while they were in their second year. The journey started during a trip to the mountains when one of their friends contracted a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) after using dirty public washroom. It was only then they realised that this is a problem faced by over 50 percent of women in India.
The company has developed Sanfe Stand and Pee, and Sanfe Period Pain Relief Roll On. The Stand & Pee product allows women to stand and urinate, and thereby, prevent physical contact with unhygienic toilet seats and reduce the chances of contracting UTIs. The Period Pain Relief Roll On is a natural product to relieve women from menstrual cramps without creating any side effects.