One woman will use around 15,000 disposable pads or tampons during her reproductive life.
The use of sanitary pads is almost obligatory for all women when they’re having their menstrual period. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one woman will use around 15,000 disposable pads or tampons during her reproductive life from the age of 15 to 44. In Mexico, 5.75 billion women’s sanitary products are disposed of every year.
Some of the women who use these products can suffer from allergies, irritation, and other ailments. That was the case for Lorenza Ochoa, director of Ecolunas, a Mexican company that manufactures and sells cloth sanitary pads. This female entrepreneur told her story in an interview with Tec Review.
Lorenza had several allergic reactions to using disposable pads. Her gynecologist recommended using cloths instead, explaining that, “the skin doesn’t have allergic reactions to cotton.”
“I wasn’t happy about the idea of using cloths, so I began to investigate what products there were on the internet. I discovered that there were some brands of cloth pads in other countries,” said Ochoa.
Lorenza decided to do something about this women’s health issue she was facing. She created her own cloth pads, which were a resounding success for her comfort and health.
Later on, she drew up patterns for making them, which were tested so that she could make alterations and create “a final product”. Lorenza said that, “I realized I had a potential business on my hands.”
That was how Ecolunas came about in 2009, in Guadalajara, Jalisco. The company’s objective is to encourage the use of organic sanitary pads and other ecological products such as menstrual cups, panty liners, and natural soaps.
Benefits for women and the planet
They have attractive designs, and come in different sizes and colors. “They feel like underwear,” said Lorenza. “They don’t irritate or itch like disposable pads. They’re comfortable in hot climates because they don’t make you perspire. What’s more, they don’t have the typical bad odor of disposable pads,” she explained.
The pads are made of biodegradable cloth and are filled with absorbent cotton fibers. They also have an impermeable layer of synthetic materials to prevent discharge from leaking. A stainless steel popper allows you to close the wings of each pad to make them more secure.
The director of Ecolunas said that each pad has a useful lifetime of five years, and she recommends them to women suffering from diseases such as vulvitis, dermatitis, or who have sensitive skin.
Another point she emphasized was the economic aspect. According to calculations made by the female entrepreneur, one woman will spend between 600 to 700 pesos a year on buying disposable sanitary pads and/or tampons, whereas she could spend 1,400 pesos on organic pads every five years.
And what about the planet? Each disposable pad that goes in the trash takes approximately 300 to 500 years to degrade.
If a woman were to choose this organic product, “she would use about 50 cloth pads during her entire reproductive life. The pads can be composted almost completely, as the cloth they’re made of will biodegrade in a few months, depending on environmental conditions, except for the impermeable layer,” explained Lorenza.
Use and maintenance
It’s not complicated to use and maintain these products. The sizes of these cloth pads are identical to those of disposable pads. Women have the opportunity to choose the size they think is best for the discharge from their menstrual cycle.
When they have to change the pad outside the home, the company’s website recommends carrying a resealable plastic bag to keep the used pad in.
To keep them clean, you should spray them with a stain remover that doesn’t contain chlorine or any other similar product. Next, you should prewash them in cold water and leave them to soak in a container with soap and water.
After that, you can wash them by hand or in your washing machine. It’s recommended you don’t use fabric softener. You can hang them out to dry or dry them in your clothes dryer.
To date, women’s response to this product has been positive, said the director of Ecolunas. “When we started in 2009, it was common to get negative reactions from girls, but the new generations are becoming more unsatisfied with traditional methods of female hygiene. They’re more open to new ways of experiencing their menstruation.”
Are you interested in buying organic pads? You can find them on the official website of Ecolunas, where you can order from any part of Mexico.