Around half of Canadian women will suffer from some form of an inability to control their bladder according to the Canadian Bladder Survey. We had no idea that these symptoms, called incontinence, affected so many Canadians. JustChange was happy to make Erin Engelhardt of I Wear One our latest grantee after hearing her great idea to tackle bladder control issues through reusable incontinence pads.
Erin was surprised by the number of women suffering from incontinence. She became aware of the issue while sewing reusable sanitary pads for her daughter, and was approached by her mother who asked her if she could do the same to help address her incontinence. After further research and talking to more women, including her own mother who had suffered for years from incontinence, Erin began to understand that the issue was widespread but generally unknown because of the shame people faced.
As a seamstress and researcher, Erin engineered a solution where she quickly ran into challenges. Unlike reusable sanitary pads, reusable incontinence pads require specific materials to keep the pee on the pad and specialized channels to keep the pee in the pad. The lack of reusable incontinence pads became apparent when Erin found out the FDA had no classification for her patent.
Traditional disposable incontinence pads work well, but are not environmentally friendly as the chemicals within slowly degrade within landfills. “There is no alternative to daily incontinence wear that is comfortable, beautiful, and functional”, says Erin.
The pads worked and proved themselves during the Launch Some Good event. One of the judges, Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenny, poured a glass of water on the I Wear One pad and turned it upside-down over her iPhone. Luckily for Erin, her ingenuity paid off, keeping Catherine’s phone dry and making her a winner of the Launch Some Good weekend.
I Wear One pads continue to improve with each version. Several prototypes later, Erin is getting close to producing them at scale. JustChange’s $1,000 grant will help to cover the first manufacturing run. I Wear One is pairing up with Eco Equitable, a previous JustChange grant winner, to work side-by-side on the first production run using materials manufactured in Montreal. Erin has also begun work on a male incontinence pad, so keep an eye on the iwearone.com website for these new products and the very first I Wear One pads!
We invite you to come celebrate this idea at JustDrink on Thursday December 17, 2015 from 5:00-7:00 pm at 3 Brewers (240 Sparks St.) Click here for more details.
3 Brewers is an accessible location. If you have any specific questions please contact the venue.