Well, Sonia Lal, a University of Alberta student studying physiology, got together with some peers to see what they could do to reduce the impact—and the stigma—surrounding menstruation.

Thus, Hempact, a student-led, social entrepreneurship project was born to address the waste that comes from dealing with a woman’s monthly visitor—hundreds of pounds of pads, tampons and applicators. Of that amount, 35 pounds of it is plastic that will take lifetimes to decompose. Hempact’s alternative to all that waste? A 100% biodegradable pad made from hemp fibres and other environment-friendly materials. It’s a solution that cuts down on agricultural and menstrual waste, while also destigmatizing the topic of menstruation through the educational programming that Hempact’s team offers.

The idea came to life in 2017, and since then, Lal has been racking up the accolades anywhere she pitches: third place at at Innovation Rodeo, first place at the Inventures 2019 Student Pitch Competition (with an exclusive trip to Banff to meet face-to-face with angel investors), first place at World’s Challenge Challenge (a $10,000 cash prize included) and a $12,000 scholarship to attend Draper University’s five-week intensive entrepreneur program, at which she placed second in the capstone pitch event.

What’s next for Lal and Hempact? Well, it looks like we can count on even more wins for this venture as it grows and reaches more audiences.

Are you a student with an idea to pitch? Start here like Sonia Lal did.