Everything we do creates an impact

As a menstrual pad company, our decisions and actions directly impact many things around us: Our local watershed, the atmosphere we breathe, the well-being of our own bodies, the lives of people in our community…

The good dictionary notes that an impact can be both positive and negatives… At Papaya, we strive to always be on the right side of the spectrum. “How can we do better” is always on our minds.

Follow our Blog (Filter using #impact) for more on this.

Our local watershed

The local watershed is where we have the largest physical impact on the environment. Menstrual pads by their very nature are disposable products, and every menstruator uses approximately 20 of them per month. That’s a big fraction of the dry waste that they produce.

How can we do better?

Papaya pad placed in a rapid decomposition (not composting!) machine

We declared war on plastics embedded in our product. Most pads use a super-absorbent polymer (SAP) as their core layer, because frankly, nothin absorbs better – as evidenced by countless TV commercials showing how much blue liquid they can soak in. (Seriously, who bleeds blue water?!)

The problem with plastics is that once they hit a landfill and start disintegrating (a process that can take several years) they decompose into “micro-plastics” which is a generic term for fragments of plastic so small we can’t even see – but are chemically active, form compounds with toxins that are abundant at landfills, and then end up either in the watershed or in the local food chain. They also often leach out toxins that originate from the plastic itself, such as Phthalates.

At Papaya, we took a different approach. Instead of using a super-absorber, we use a combination of a cotton fiber absorber and a natural bio-sourced coagulant (our secret sauce!) that transforms liquid blood into a coagulated paste – using our bodies own natural mechanism!

The result of this innovation is a core layer that sucks in blood and retains it even if it is later squeezed! Natural, safe, and environmentally friendly! (Consequently, btw, our pads are only good for blood. If you’re menstruating semi-clear blue liquid, we may not be able to help you. 🙂 )

What remain of a Papaya pad (right) and a plastic-containing commercial pad (left) after two cycles in the decomposition machine.

With the core layer taken care of, we also eliminated plastics from the front and back sheets (made of all-natural fibers) and made sure even our packaging and release sheet are plastics-free. The best way to make sure you don’t pollute the environment with plastic compounds? Don’t have plastics in your product to begin with!

So every month, know that you’ve eliminated about half a kilogram of plastic-based trash.

Did we stop there? Of course not! Every manufacturing process, including our own, creates waste. (Think of the leftovers when you’re cutting shapes out of a whole sheet of paper) – and the waste can be comparable in weight to the entire product!

More on this later, but our waste goes directly to a composting facility, so in fact your monthly savings are closer to a full kg of plastic based trash!.

Our atmosphere and global warming

It is no secret that most human activity introduces greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Transportation, agriculture, manufacturing…

The contribution of pads may not be a large part of this, but as it stands today – EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS!

We’re reducing the climate load of our pads in all stages of their life-cycle, from manufacturing to post-disposal decay.

Post-disposal decay:

Composting evaluation station comprised of an A/B tumbling composter, a flat “landfill simulator” tray, and a traditional home composting bin.

We made sure that our pads are not only plastic-free, but are able to compost if they reach a composting facility. We are aware that most pads will end up in simple landfills (where they usually get buried too quickly, preventing proper aerobic composting from take place) but if we do our part, we know that at least those pads will end up composted, which means they have a much reduced impact on the atmosphere.

We are working on even making them home-compostable! This is a more difficult challenge – anyone who’s composted at home knows that some compostable materials (think Avocado peels) take longer to compost, and we also know that home composting bins are relatively small… Stay tuned on this!

We are working on collaborations with composting companies – stay tuned on that too.


Did we mention that our core material is bio-sourced? Most plastics are by products of the petroleum industry, and have a large climatic footprint. Ours doesn’t.

Our bodies and our well-being

The #1 complaint we heard while researching existing pads is that “pads cause rashes”.

It’s accepted as a necessary and unavoidable evil – much like many other hardships associated with menstruation.

But this is the 21st century, and we can do better. Rashes are caused by chemicals that are released by plastic fibers, and rashes (and odors) are caused by bacteria that incubate in the core of the pad.

The bio-sourced plastic-free core layer that’s at the heart of Papaya pads not only coagulates blood, but is also anti-microbial. And, coagulated blood is a poor medium to grow bacteria in.

The result: A pad that is friendly to your skin, even when it is retaining blood.

Our human environment

And speaking of the expectation that women suffer quietly through the menstruation cycles…

How many of you are still being told they cannot enter the kitchen during “those times of the month”?

Are these “The Days Who Must not be Named”? Is menstruation so evil that even mentioning it might cause unholiness to happen?

Some of us can laugh at such attitudes, but many others are not so fortunate. Menstrual shaming and taboos cause many young women to miss school days and fall behind. It serves as women’s first marker on the road to making them a second-class citizens, and we have made it our corporate mission to banish these taboos.