WUKA – Wake Up Kick Ass – underwear has been designed to make periods better.
It's the brainchild of Ruby Raut (pictured), a environmental scientist from Hertfordshire and originally from Nepal, where she says menstruation is considered 'dirty' and girls might use rags of sari fabric as towels. When she arrived in the UK she saw that sanitary products are more easily accessible, but often uncomfortable and pretty bad for the environment.
Many sanitary products aren't biodegradable and almost half of people who use tampons and towels flush them down the toilet rather than bin them. From the sewers they can end up in rivers and seas.
Enter WUKA: washable underwear that features an absorbent layer that can hold up to four tampons' worth of blood and a waterproof layer to prevent leaks. The knickers are pretty stylish and brand says it makes them with eco-friendly, ethically manufactured fabric. They're also super-handy for people with mobility disabilities and can be worn for urinary incontinence too.
"WUKA underwear could dramatically reduce the amount of waste caused by modern menstrual products on our shelves today," says Ruby. "The average menstruating person uses over 16,000 shelf-bought tampons or pads in their reproductive lifetime."
It's about empowerment too. "It is my dream that menstruators all over the world will one day be able to have a happier period," she says. "In making sustainable living choices people will not only benefit the environment but also their own health. I would like to break the social and cultural barriers of menstruation around the world.
"WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass, a bold attitude changing a taboo subject."
WUKA pants (from £25) – and some cool T-shirts – are available via Kickstarter now.