fbpx

TN Student Duo Make ‘Herbal’ Sanitary Napkins From Edible Kenaf Plant, Whose Fiber Is Thrown Away

Follow Us On

In Andhra Pradesh, kenaf or ‘Gongura’ leaves find a steady use in the local cuisine. The plant is also well-known for its other subsidiary uses in ropes, twines and some coarse fabrics, similar to jute in texture. But student duo Niveda and Gowtham  from Tamil Nadu has upgraded the indigenous kenaf fibre to a whole new level, by manufacturing a super-absorbent, biodegradable sanitary napkin from the edible plant. Both of them are pursuing their Masters in Apparel Technology at Kumaraguru College of Technology in Coimbatore.

The product has earned accolades at a number of national scientific conventions and is being locally marketed now under the name ‘Bliss’.

What makes kenaf fibre ‘Bliss’ pads a true bliss for users

Commercial sanitary napkins which contain Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) and other harmful chemicals are raising health concerns among many women who suffer from side-effects like rashes, itching or even hormonal disturbances. Also, the ultra-thin, heavily scented pads which we find on our supermarket shelves contain around 80% plastic which makes them non-biodegradable. A single commercial pad takes around 500-800 years to decompose completely. Many organisations are coming up with alternatives like cloth pads and menstrual cups, but those also find a number of drawbacks.

This is the first time an eco-friendly menstrual product has been made which is nearly similar to the commercial pads most women are accustomed to using. As per feedback from the regular customers of ‘Bliss’, the kenaf fibre pad has truly been a bliss in their lives.

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

95,07,689 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

From a delicacy to a necessity

So how did the two students come up with such an innovative idea? Talking to Efforts For Good, Niveda shares, “An NGO from Andhra Pradesh approached our college for finding a viable solution to use discarded fibres of kenaf, a crop which is produced in bulk in their state. We started working to create wearable fabrics, but our research revealed that the kenaf fibre has amazing absorbance and antimicrobial properties. That’s when the idea of making sanitary pads out of it came up.”

Kenaf is produced as a crop in over twelve states in India, and feature heavily on the regional food plates. The crop’s ability to reduce greenhouse gases as well as its versatility as a fibre is much lesser known. It is quite popular in Tamil Nadu as well, where it is termed as ‘pulicha keerai’ and used for making chutneys and pickles. So, sourcing the raw materials was a cakewalk for Niveda and Gowtham. The hardest challenge was perfecting the final product – complete with adhesive and wings, similar to any commercial pad.

Niveda and Gowtham subjected the kenaf fibre to a series of laboratory tests, to check its viability as a sanitary napkin filler. They found that 1 gm of kenaf fibre can absorb up to 22.78 ml of thick synthetic blood. The organic pad has a very soft top layer and is coated on the underside with bioplastic made from cornstarch, which prevents leakage. The makers have not added any artificial chemicals or fragrances to the pad as kenaf itself has quite a pleasant natural odour. One pad can last up to eight hours and causes no itching or rashes. The product has already received a patent.

Curated in 2017, the product was commercially marketed from September 2018. “As of now, we are selling our products locally in and around Coimbatore. We have set up some stalls in the city and also take part in exhibitions,” Niveda informs.

Many housewives are volunteering to be sales agents for ‘Bliss’ pads and popularising the product through word of mouth. The good news is that ‘Bliss’ pads will be marketed soon on a pan-India basis through their upcoming website as well as e-commerce platforms.The team also frequents local colleges to spread awareness about sustainable menstruation.

As a student start-up, Niveda and Gowtham’s ‘Bliss’ has won a number of awards and recognitions, including three awards at the 2017 India Innovation Initiative. The team of two hopes they help more women realise the benefits of opting for sustainable menstruation.

Love this story? Want to share a positive story?
Write to us: [email protected]
Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

Follow Us On

With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

95,07,689 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
Next Click right arrow to read the next story Previous