On average, a woman will throw away over 7,000-8,000 pads in her lifetime. Multiply this with the number of women on earth menstruating every month and one will come to an unfathomable number. On top of it, 45% of the menstrual waste in India is disposed of with regular garbage. If not thrown, we flush it down the toilets or end up near the water bodies.
Typically, once it's in the garbage dump, sanitation workers will segregate this waste by hand, exposing them to health concerns. They sort out the waste that no one would want to do if given a choice.
The apathy towards sanitary waste management is obvious from the fact that there is no reliable data available on it. Our menstruation practice is the root cause of so many bigger issues that are affecting us in multiple ways.
Do we have a solution?
Meet Sujata Pawar, Menstrual activist and Founder of Avni. These facts and figures rattled Sujata as much as they have rattled us. She brought in a change in the way menstruation has been.
Mumbai-based Avni is a brand dedicated to bringing products that are eco-friendly and sustainable. Avni, which means Earth is well thought of as a name. Her experience and experiments throughout her periods and subsequent research inspired her to come up with sustainable menstruation. She launched Avni as a solution to all these problems. She has taken up ensuring sustainable menstruation practices and empowering sanitation workers at the same time. Avni promises an eco-friendly, healthy and guilt-free menstruation experience.
She is also the force behind "AvniBuddy" - India's first-ever Period Helpline.
Sujata shares, "A report published by the non-profit organisation Women's Voices For Earth says that commercially available menstrual products may use chemicals that are known or suspected to be endocrine disruptive chemicals, carcinogens or allergens in nature. Contrary to popular belief, they do not make sanitary napkins out of cotton. Cellulose gel, rayon and synthetic fibres containing dioxin are released after the material is bleached. The vaginal tissues can absorb other chemicals that are used in these sanitary napkins. A woman wears a pad for 7 years of her life periodically through her menstruation".
Notably, a plastic product may take nearly 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. Avni has innovative feminine care products ranging from Go Green Period kit, AvniSafepad, AvniEzeePad and Avni Menstrual cup.
Avni Safepad is the only "Antimicrobial Reusable Cloth Pad" in India that prevents infections. It's ideal for females looking for a comfortable pad that promises 99.9% efficacy to prevent vaginal infections while in use. Easy to use, wash and dry, Avni safe pad is made using advanced Danish technology. Leakproof and stain-proof clothing can be used for up to 3 years, saving a lot of money.
AVNI EZEEPAD is a cotton sanitary pad with a recycled paper disposal bag with RED Dot. The RED DOT is a campaign run by the Pune-Based NGO SWaCH that highlights that a particular bag with RED DOT is a sanitary waste. This saves the sanitation worker from a lot of concerns. The Ezeepad has 7 layers of rash-free protection. It's ultra-absorbent yet super thin with no dioxins, perfumes or chlorine.
Avni menstrual cup is designed to encourage first-time users to try the cup. It is just perfect with ease of insertion and functionality. Dermatologically tested and medically approved, it's made up of 100% medical grade silicone and ensures up to 12 hours of reliable leak-proof protection.
Avni is the only brand in India that has eco-friendly products for comfortable periods. It does not put down menstruation products over others. As every woman has a preference and letting them continue with their preference is something that will work out in the long run. They developed a Go Green Period kit to let women switch between the cup, pad and disposable pads at their convenience. It is designed keeping in mind that sustainability is effective only when it is done for a longer duration with comfort.
Sujata explains, "The best thing about these pads is that a Self-Help Group makes them in Tamil Nadu, providing support to 27 women. We source all the raw materials from India and it's a complete "Made In India" product".
Talking about the "AvniBuddy" 24*7 helpline on questions related to periods Sujata said that there has been a tremendous response. It receives close to 1000 calls and messages per month. A team of medical experts are on board to provide proper information and solutions to all the queries.
As part of their, CSR Avni conducts regular workshops in urban and rural schools, collaborating with NGOs to educate and distribute the cloth pads. They plan to get Avni EzeePads for females in the rural area, helping the environment and society at large. Avni will soon expand its portfolio and collaborate with similar initiatives.
Avni aims to change the next generation's mindset to mensuration. Sustainable menstruation can go hand in hand with convenience and comfort, leaving a better place to live.
Written By: Tabassum Jawed