Menstruation is one thing which almost every woman has to deal with. Every month.
Many Indian women still use scrap cloth from old saris and towels, the traditional method for managing menstruation for thousands of years.
On average, a single woman generates 125kg of sanitary waste during her menstruating years when she uses disposable sanitary products. This is avoidable waste. (Source)
It is a natural process and yet people, even women, hesitate to talk about it. To break the taboo, a coalition of international and national organisations will observe the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Day today (May 28). So cheers to a good start and here is a list of 8 brands that offer you cheap, affordable, hygienic and eco friendly pads-
Aakar is a sanitary napkin production unit which offers livelihood opportunities to rural women and also creates sales and distribution models through village-level women entrepreneurs.
The sanitary napkins marketed under the brand name ‘Anandi’ are available at a price point 40% lower than the lowest market competitor. These napkins are UV rays sterilized and adhere to BIS standards for sanitary napkins.
The Anandi pad is fully biodegradable in compostable conditions, solving the problem of rural disposal and ensuring minimal damage to the environment. Read more about them here.
Contact them at- firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Jayaashree Industries
Recognizing that the root cause of sanitary napkin expense is the fixed production cost, Arunachalam Muruganantham, also known as the ‘Menstrual Man’ in India, created a sanitary napkin-making machine to produce quality products at a lower cost to the consumer.
Jayaashree Industries sanitary napkin machine is powered by electricity and foot pedals and can make 1,000 napkins a day for as little as Rs 16 per 8-pack. However, rather than selling the sanitary products commercially, Jayaashree Industries helps rural women buy one of the machines, at a cost of approximately Rs 80,000, through NGOs, government loans and rural self-help groups.
Contact them at- 92831- 55128
e-mail : email@example.com
The organization calls itself a women’s empowerment project. It promotes menstrual practices that are healthy, dignified, affordable and eco-positive.
Ecofemme provides washable cloth pads. Unlike disposable sanitary napkins, they can be washed and re-used for years and they are made of natural material – cotton – that is biodegradable and healthy for women’s bodies.
You can buy Ecofemme pads here or call Kathy on +91 9443135005
A new concept in India, menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicon that collects the blood when kept inserted inside the vagina. Unlike regular pads, there’s no foul smell of the blood, rashes or itchiness and it is much more hygienic than the sanitary napkins. Here is how you can use them.
You can order them here.
Goonj started turning small pieces of clean cloth into sanitary pads – now called ‘MY Pad’ and raising voice on all the possible forums.
Instead of just using these pads as a product they use them as a tool, as an entry point to open up the subject, create awareness and force people to think and open up. In the last few years, Goonj has been able to create over 2.5 million environment friendly, re-usable, economic cloth sanitary pads.
You can get more information on the product here.
6. Srikakulam chapter of Association of India’s Development (AID), offers low cost menstrual cloth pads (Rs. 50/- per set). The Jivika pads are available in cotton, khadi and flannel.
They can be ordered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An early-stage Indian enterprise, Azadi, is also well placed to disrupt the sanitary napkin industry with their product. Azadi has developed a 100% biodegradable sanitary napkin that is 43% cheaper than the average retail price point.
8. How you can make it yourself
If you are one of those diy people, you can make your own sanitary pads. The cloth pads can be used just like disposable pads. Here is how you can make them on your own!