How Modibodi Is Making Periods More Sustainable, One Pair of Underwear at a Time

Imagine having to train for a marathon and experiencing light incontinence when you run. This was the case for Kristy Chong, the founder of Modibodi.

At the time, she only had access to disposable hygiene products, finding them uncomfortable to wear and bad for the environment. She was surprised that advanced technology hadn’t yet penetrated the disposable hygiene and apparel sector.

Instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else to do something about it, Chong was inspired to further investigate the gap in the market. After meetings with one hundred textile engineers, conducting thousands of scientific tests and spending two years on prototyping, washing, wearing, testing and fine-tuning, she founded Modibodi in 2011.

Modibodi creates reusable intimate apparel that supports periods and incontinence, as a replacement for pads and tampons. How? Through the creation of the world’s first patented leak-proof underwear gusset technology. Made from 100% superfine Merino wool that’s soft and breathable, its moisture-wicking layer absorbs moisture and controls odour so you’re kept dry and fresh.

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With a key focus on reducing single-use products from going to landfills, Modibodi set out on a mission to normalise reusable leakproof apparel for all bodies. What started out just for women has now expanded into leakproof underwear for men and children too.

Modibodi does this by looking closely at the materials and manufacturing process of its products.

“We spend a lot of time looking at fabric composition and assessing fabric performance and sustainability credentials against alternatives. We lean towards natural biodegradable fabrics and recycled synthetics as a way to ensure quality, longevity and lower environmental impacts. Third-party testing and certifications, such as Global Organics Textile Standard (GOTS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Oeko-Tex Standard 100 ensure our fabric choices are verified and give confidence that they are safe for people and better choice for the planet,” Sarah Forde, Modibodi Head of Sustainability and Public Affairs tells The Latch.

“Traceability of our supply chain is a significant and ongoing task, that helps us to ensure our desired environmental and social standards are being met. We are able to trace approximately 70% of our inputs back to the raw product — the farms where our wool is sourced or the bamboo used in our man-made cellulose fibres.

“Our Biodegradable range and recent limited launch of the Carbon Neutral Brief are just the first steps we are taking in responsible innovation and working towards more eco-friendly sustainable leakproof underwear.”

To further assess the impact of its apparel on the environment, Modibodi undertook a life-cycle assessment (LCA). The scientific data analysis identified the environmental impact of its leakproof underpants over their entire life cycle when used for menstrual management, specifically when compared to disposable tampons and pads.

The tests were run on the classic full brief and recycled seam-free full brief, which revealed that Modibodi’s heavy-overnight gusset is over 60% lower in carbon emissions than both pads and tampons, while the light-moderate gusset is over 70% lower in carbon emissions.

Recently, the brand launched its Recycled Collection, with all apparel in the range made from recycled nylon. The material is durable, lightweight and elastic, not to mention it feels soft on the skin. Using recycled nylon eliminates the need for virgin nylon, which is normally used in swimwear or seam-free pants. Recycled nylon helps reduce fabric waste heading to landfills thereby saving water, energy and carbon dioxide emissions.

Modibodi continues to find ways to adapt and look for more sustainable solutions for transporting its products and shipping them. It supports a range of social impact partners and experts across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US, bringing periods into the day-to-day narrative as a normal bodily function and an important everyday topic for people who bleed.

Modbodi is also participating in the Green Friday sales event, which suggests you shop mindfully, for yourself and for the planet. From Friday, November 18 to Monday, November 21, Australia’s first sustainability-focused online sale event will showcase deals from brands within the sustainable, re-commerce or circular economy space, such as Modibodi.

As a brand, they are on a mission to have conversations others are afraid to have, removing any stigma around periods or bladder leakage. It believes its products are for bodies of all kinds, whatever their size, shape, gender orientation, ethnicity, ability or sexuality. And we can all get on board with that.

Want to shop more consciously? The Latch has partnered with Green Friday ahead of their four-day sales event, running just before the big shopping dates of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a challenge for consumers and organisations to do better. They only showcase brands that meet their sustainability framework and direct consumers to products they need that cause the least impact on the planet through purchasing. You can read more stories about Green Friday here.

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