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Sustainable fashion, biodegradable menstrual pads: Students’ innovations won WWF’s Panda trophy

NIFT students reached out to 40,000 people through campaigns and various other platforms and saved up to 90,000 gallons of water and 4200 kg of scrap fabric. Sree Ayappa College, Kerala came up with the idea of producing biodegradable sanitary napkins from natural raw materials and trained local women to generate livelihood by creating them.

By: Education Desk | New Delhi | Published: July 21, 2020 1:26:50 pm
sanitary napkin, coorona virus, biodegradable pad, sustainable fashion, panda trophy, education news NIFT students working with fabric wastes and (right) the re-usable sanitary pad created by students

NIFT Delhi’s sustainable fashion initiative ‘Tattertales’ and Sree Ayappa College, Kerala’s biodegradable menstrual products using readily available natural resources were joint winners of WWF India’s second National Youth Summit 2020. The programme ‘ECHO – Building Environment Conservation Heroes’ had the theme ‘SDG12: Responsible Production and Consumption’. A total of 55 colleges participated to conceptualise and execute their innovative ideas and projects.

Under the initiative ‘Tattertales’, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Delhi held fabric donation drives, street plays on fast fashion and clothes swap events to spread their message. Through the initiative, the college claims to have saved up to 90,000 gallons of water and 4200 kg of scrap fabric over a period of nine months. Students reached out to 40,000 people through campaigns and various other platforms. Designers including Esha Rao, Bhavini Bhavya and Anwesh Sahoo supported the ‘Capsule’ competition, stressing the importance of sustainability in fashion.

The adjoining winner, Sree Ayappa College, Kerala came up with the idea of producing biodegradable sanitary napkins from natural raw materials such as water hyacinth. The team found a readily available natural resource and fashioned it into a sanitary napkin that was affordable and biodegradable. They provided necessary skills to the women of these villages to create employment while promoting sustainable livelihoods among these rural women. The team conducted seminars on sustainable menstrual products in five villages, engaging with and training more than 500 women on how to create their own biodegradable menstrual products. The team has formed a partnership with international NGO, CARE for their project.

The winners were awarded the coveted Panda trophy and will receive mentorship and guidance from WWF experts as they continue to scale up their product.

Radhika Suri, Director, Environment Education, WWF India said, “This year, we were able to influence 15,000 students and almost one lakh people through our programme and through our ECHO leaders. We try to inspire these students to embark on a long-term environmental journey, but in reality, these intelligent young minds inspire me and everyone they interact with. Our future is bright in the hands of these green leaders of tomorrow.”

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