Amid an international push to utilize environmentally friendly choices, a company led by a team of University of Alberta students is currently developing disposable menstrual pads made from hemp.
Hempact will produce eco-friendly options for feminine hygiene and sanitary products like tampons and menstrual pads. The original idea was originally pitched two years ago at the Clean Energy Technology Centre Entrepreneurship Competition in Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada. Eventually, the project was supported by Enactus, a nonprofit organization helps students with entrepreneurship projects that have goals to provide positive impacts.
“I think it would be a huge asset to have something in the market that you know is a hundred percent environmentally friendly from both the production side and its disposal,” Anka Chan told The Toronto Star.
Hemp is three times more absorbent than cotton, and hemp fibers breathe and are biodegradable. In addition, hemp is naturally pest-resistant and requires little water. The prototype includes a biodegradable plastic lining and a layer of softened hemp in the middle.
Hempact won $10,000 at the World’s Challenge Challenge at the University of Alberta, although it didn’t win the international competition during the finals. “That competition woke everyone up, and just realizing that it’s not just us believing in the idea; there are more people,” Nicole Sanchez said.
The timing couldn’t be better, considering that last June 10, the Canadian federal government announced its plans to ban single-use plastics across Canada as early as 2021.
Sanitary pads are one of the many disposable items that frequently end up at a landfill. “Consider that the average woman menstruates for 38 years—during which 35 pounds of plastic waste is created through the use of existing menstrual products,” the Hempact website states. “Meanwhile, in rural Alberta, over 20,000 acres of hemp parts are considered agricultural waste. Majority of [this] waste ends up in landfills. So how can we addressing the problem of