PadCare Labs, a Pune-based startup, has set a monthly target to prevent about 4,800 sanitary pads from reaching landfills and being disposed of in other unscientific methods.
The company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra State Innovation Council to work on improving sanitary waste across government-run Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), offices and institutions in the state.
Incubated at the Venture Centre in Pune, the two-years-old startup has developed a smokeless and odourless sanitary waste management system. From waste collection at the source to an environment-friendly disposal, the company has set up a chain of processes wherein harmful waste can be disposed of in the most effective manner.
Due to growing awareness about menstrual hygiene and the easy availability of sanitary napkins at affordable rates, it is estimated that 8,000 used sanitary pads are generated every month per 1,000 women. About one million used sanitary napkins are generated per month in India, making their disposal a challenge. At present, this waste is either directed towards landfills or burned in an unscientific manner.
Although it is yet to be launched commercially, PadCare Labs has demonstrated their pad collection and processing units in the city, which are readying for installation.
“Initially, 40 collection units will be installed at ITI, Aundh. The collection will be monitored digitally. During the past one year, we have demonstrated the working of these units at the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research, the National Chemical Laboratory and Cummins College in Pune,” said Ajinkya Dhariya, founder and CEO of PadCare Labs, adding that the MoU will be in place for a year.
Once installed at washrooms, the waste collector ‘Sanibin’ can store up to 30 pads for a month without emitting any foul odour or creating any bacterial reactions. This bin may also be emptied periodically. The collected waste is sent for processing to ‘Saneco’, a processor with the capacity to churn 1,500 pads and produce recyclable-quality material.
Meanwhile, the company is also in talks with corporations of metro cities such as Chennai, along with residential societies and the two corporations in Pune, to encourage the safe disposal method.