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sustainable menstrual pads for rural areas


Jury Special Award INDEX: Design Challenge 2010


padBACK is a menstrual protection method and start-up kit for developing countries. The production and the waste management creates a cycle starting and ending in soil. The pads are made of fiber plants and biodegradable nonwoven fabric; then turned into compost. The project aims to increase adolescent girls’ school attendance, empower the local people and increase the fertility of land.


Patent #10-2011-0050881 issued in South Korea


600 million

adolescent girls


2 days

absence / month

Due to the lack of affordable menstrual hygiene products, when an adolescent girl misses two days of school every month, she misses one month of education every year! 

Challenges of Cloth Pads

‘‘Some days I bleed heavily, and I need to change clothes at least 2 or 3 times during school hours.’’

Challenges of Sanitary Napkins

‘‘There is no place to dump the pads, so I just throw them in the toilet, I wish there was a dustbin.’’

Research on existing innovative solutions
Design Objectives
Life-cycle of padBack

In cradle to cradle principle, waste equals food! PadBack production, usage, and waste management system create a cycle starting and ending in soil. The pads are made using natural fiber crops that become the resource of a good quality compost soil after being enriched with blood. The more sanitary pads are used, the more compost is made; thus the more fertile the soil gets to grow more crops.

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PadKit combines the essential parts to start the business of pad making process in a box, to make it easy and fast for new local entrepreneurs to start the business. 

PadBack Team

padBack team - NGO, designers, and agricultural scientists will


- Work with papyrus and other possible fiber crops to create absorbency


- Give menstrual hygiene education, how to use and dispose the pads


- Monitor problems and questions of the girls during the usage


- Find the safest and lowest cost method to dispose the pads

Period. Campaign

Period. has started as a non profit campaign aiming to spread the PadKits throughout the world where fiber crops grow.

INDEX: Design to Improve Life and UNICEF

Chosen among the 7 finalist from 115 projects, PadBack is carried to the INDEX Design Challenge Workshop and given a Jury Special Award in Copenhagen. The workshop consisted of experts and jury members from several companies including INDEX, UNICEF, Cisco, World Toilet Organization, IKEA, who helped us develop business models and find ways to execute our projects.

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