Amrita SeRVe‘s new reusable cloth sanitary napkin received the Most Innovative Product Award at the annual product expo of the National Institute of Rural Development. The product was developed as an affordable, sustainable alternative to the modern sanitary napkin, which is 90% plastic. As such, it is non-biodegradable. It is estimated that 9,000 tons of menstrual waste are generated per month throughout India. Burning used napkins produces toxins that are harmful both for the environment and the human body, and currently there is no way to safely dispose of used sanitary napkins in an eco-friendly manner.
Beyond sustainability, our product has the potential to significantly improve an important public health marker. In India today, only 8-12% of women use sanitary napkins. The rest find it too expensive to buy disposable sanitary napkins to manage their periods every month.
It was in response to these issues that we developed our new reusable cloth sanitary napkin to address women’s health needs with a sustainable solution. Its design is better than that of other similar products currently available in the market because it is designed to look like an attractive accessory, which is not obviously a sanitary napkin. Thus women feel comfortable allowing it to dry in the open, where it can be exposed to sunlight and dry properly. Women in the Amrita SeRVe villages are now being trained in making these napkins, the sale of which will generate income for them, which they can use to help pay for their family’s healthcare and to keep their kids in school