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From Pineapple Waste to Period Products

In Kenya, pineapple is big business, but its production also generates considerable waste. Thanks to the ingenious work of Mary Nyaruai, this waste is being repurposed in a way that improves the environment while also addressing a societal problem. Through her company, Nyungu Afrika, she has developed a method for using the discarded husks of pineapple and maze to create sanitary pads for women. Disturbingly, the quality of pads available in Kenya was incomparable to that of international brands. This sparked a social media outcry trending across many African countries where women shared experiences of irritation, burning and recurrent infections from using a popular local brand. “As a menstruating woman, it was frustrating not to find products that understood my needs during my periods,” Nyaruai says. A strong advocate for women’s health issues, Nyaruai curated and created content around menstruation and implemented pad drives. With her experiences as a former journalist and storyteller, she also travelled to more than 15 countries to collect stories, distribute pads, and hold peer discussions.