Made on purpose: Saudi sisters launch the Kingdom’s first biodegradable feminine hygiene product
RIYADH: Saudi sisters Nora and Joud Aloraini are the brains behind C, a Saudi company that sells “mindfully made” organic and biodegradable menstrual pads for women.
The Saudi brand reinforces the notion that protecting our bodies and the environment are one and the same. The brand’s name, C., means “relief” and “wheel,” and the sisters’ official website states: “Like the sea, our bodies feel the surge.”
The sisters noticed a gap in the Saudi market for more earth-friendly feminine hygiene products. While living in the US, she saw a variety of biodegradable and organic pads and “noticed that it really made a big difference,” Nora Aloraini told Arab News.
Through their products and mission, the sustainability-oriented brand creates awareness about the importance of using biodegradable menstrual pads. Additionally, clinical trials conducted on the Saudi company’s own products show that organic pads and feminine products are more absorbent.
The Women’s Environmental Network found that single-use menstrual products generate an estimated 200,000 tonnes of waste globally each year. Organic pads with biodegradable packaging are a way to reduce plastic waste by eliminating the plastic inside the pad and its casing.
Due to the layer of taboos surrounding this topic, many women in the Arab region are not fully aware of the health implications of regular use of traditional pads.
Research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that conventional non-organic sanitary pads contribute to irregular menstrual cycles and exposure to toxic and harmful chemicals such as methylene chloride, toluene and xylene that affect the reproductive system and health.
The pads are made with organic cotton and are “free from chlorine bleaching, pesticides, fragrances, polyester and chemicals.” Food-grade glue and Japanese Sumitomo super absorbent polymer are used in production, and other biodegradable elements are ethically sourced.
Before starting their own brand, the sisters persuaded US companies to branch out into the country. However, many are already overwhelmed by the prevailing demand in the domestic market.
Nora Aloraini said: “That’s when we decided to bring the product to Saudi.
“With the lack of organic and biodegradable products on the market, we thought it was a great opportunity to give women a careful choice to choose what’s right for their bodies.”
After months of trial and error with their manufacturers, the Aloraini sisters designed a sustainable alternative to toxic feminine products.
Aloraini added: “Within 215 hours under natural conditions, it (the pad) biodegrades. So not only are you being very kind to your body, but you are also being kind to Mother Earth.
Now widely shipped to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), C.’s products are certified and approved by global standards and organizations, including the International Organization for Standardization, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Global Organic Textile Standard, and the European Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Mark CE Standard.
Since launching the company last September, the Aloraini sisters have partnered with gynecologists and medical professionals to hold sessions on a quarterly basis to educate women about women’s health and ways to make sustainable choices for themselves and the environment.
Aloraini explained: “It’s not about the product, it’s also a movement. It’s about making women more connected to their bodies and the world around them.
“In school in Saudi Arabia, I never learned about certain topics when it comes to women’s bodies, so we want it to be that resource (for other women).”
The country has made great strides towards sustainable practices within the framework of environmental longevity, and pad replacement is a small way for women to instigate that change in their daily lives.
C is one of the first brands in Saudi Arabia to offer an alternative, breaking the taboo of discussing menstrual products and their harmful impact on the environment and the body.
Talking about the response to the brand, Aloraini said: “I don’t think there is much awareness about the use of organic and non-organic pads, but I think it is growing and more and more people are starting to make the switch.
“We’re getting good feedback, and I think that’s the biggest driver for us.”