Menstrual hygiene, which was once discussed in whispers by only women, is now considered one of the most important social issues and is being discussed widely in the public domain. However, in many parts of rural India, anything related to menstruation is still taboo. Therefore, various NGOs, educated people around the world are constantly fighting to break such stereotypes. In a recent study of the National Family Health Survey, the graph of women using sanitary napkins across India is increasing. According to the figures, nearly 60 per cent of urban and 34 per cent of rural Indian women now have access to sanitary napkins.
However, the rapid increase in using sanitary napkins surely took a toll on the environment. Most of these pads are non-biodegradable and the use-and-throw nature of these period products ultimately create a gigantic pile of wastes in landfills and water bodies. Hence, the only way of decreasing the amount of waste is to opt for sustainable products.
Here are the top 5 women-led brands that strive to eliminate environmental pollution by creating sustainable and eco-friendly menstrual products :
Boondh was founded back in 2016 by Bharti Kannan, who recognised the eminent need of menstruation-related interventions, and advocacy in India. Boondh offers reusable menstrual cups and cloth pads, suitable for every woman out there. Every purchase from this brand contributes towards menstrual literacy and reusable products for women in underprivileged communities.
Co-founders Malini Parmar and Smita Kulkarni were both actively involved in waste reduction efforts and therefore, they founded StoneSoup to promote eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to commercial period products. The company not only provides products such as silicone menstrual cups and reusable cloth pads but also offers menstrual health awareness-building sessions and various other programmes for women.
Apart from that, the team of StoneSoup have diverted 12 million pads from the landfill, 10 tonnes of wet waste is composted in our composters daily, and most importantly, there are 5 million fewer plastic bags in the world because of their cloth bags.
Most of the commercial pads are made of 90% plastic and contain carcinogens, which are never biodegradable. Therefore, Nisha Bains created Purganics, a sustainable feminine hygiene brand. The pads are made with GOTS and ICEA certified organic cotton. They absolutely eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, toxins, fragrances in their production of menstrual products.
Due to a lack of information about menstrual hygiene, several women in India face rashes, infections, and UTIs during their periods. Hence, the founder of Heyday, Deepanjali Dalmia wanted to create a product that was both better for women’s bodies and the earth as well as comes at an affordable price. Therefore, she created compostable pads, which have seven super absorbent core sheets made of bamboo and corn starch, that provides a soft texture. Not only that, each napkin has an individual cover made from corn starch and bioactive lactide that too is eco-friendly.
Co-founder Tanvi Johri herself experienced allergies from time to time since she started menstruating. Later, she discovered that it is not necessary for sanitary production companies to disclose the ingredients used in making the products. Hence, she decided to launch Carmesi, a brand that provides all-natural and fully-biodegradable sanitary napkins. Furthermore, to make menstruation a hassle-free experience, the pads come with completely biodegradable disposable bags.