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100% Bio-degradable Sanitary Napkins from Banana Fibers

Zero plastic waste due to 100% bio-degradable natural sanitary pads made from banana fibers.

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Saathi has developed the world’s first 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from waste banana tree fiber.

Lack of access to sanitary pads is a critical women’s rights issue: it is a leading reason for higher school dropout rates of girls than boys, results in lost income from days off work, and is one of the main causes of UTIs and other infections. However, if every woman in India started using disposable sanitary napkins, it would cause an environmental crisis. Commercial pads contain toxic chemicals which are released into the environment when disposed of, and clog waterways or collect in landfills without breaking down. Saathi believes that we do not have to compromise between the health of women and the health of the environment.

However, if every woman in India started using disposable sanitary napkins, it would cause an environmental crisis. Saathi believes that we do not have to compromise between the health of women and the health of the environment.

With only 16% of Indian women using sanitary pads (the rest use old rags, mud and bark), a staggering 108,000 tons of sanitary pad waste is created annually– enough to cover a landfill spread over 24 hectares. The Indian government is determined to increase sanitary pad usage given that the lack of access to affordable sanitary pads is the leading reason for higher dropout rates of school aged girls as compared to boys. As more women become aware about proper feminine hygiene practices and especially as more women in rural areas start using pads, sanitary pad waste will increase drastically. 

In many parts of India, women do not have the proper means to dispose of sanitary pads. This lack of reliable disposal systems causes many women to either bury or burn their sanitary pads. Burning pads exposes women themselves and their environments to toxic chemicals from plastics/additives in the pad. In the cases where disposal systems exist, pads are put into landfills, in which they will sit for over 800 years. It is estimated that the average women generates 120-150kg of sanitary pad waste in her lifetime. This is not a trivial amount, so looking to the future as sanitary pad usage is increased in India, access to affordable, biodegradable, non-toxic pads is essential. 

Idea Title

Pads that are unbleached, perfume-free and natural!

Company / Organization Name

Saathi Eco Innovations Pvt. Ltd.


Where are you / your team located?

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

Saathi bio-degradable sanitary pads are made from banana fibers and are free of any kind of plastic. The pads bio-degrade on disposal within the span of 6 months and leave 0% of wastage in the land. As there is no use of plastic, the pads do not produce any kind of small or big plastic wastage.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

How might we design solutions that improves women hygiene and eliminate plastic waste? Due to high use of sanitary napkins available in the market, the plastic waste is increasing.As they don't degrade by themselves, they end up polluting the environment. Case 1: Commercial sanitary napkins available in the market Divya Sen- Teacher in Chennai, India As an Environment teacher, it shatters me to see plastic pollution & my female students suffering from irritations/rashes due to sanitary pads.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

As our target to capture a 1% market share in India by 2020, we will supply at least 344,000 low-income and rural women with biodegradable pads annually. We see obstacles like competitive pricing and we might overcome it by reducing our manufacturing cost.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Operating Concept / Startup: You have fulfilled the stages of testing, undertaken a full scale roll-out, and are currently operating this concept/idea as a business.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

It would help us fund our scale-up and increase the visibility of our mission. To reach hundreds of thousands of customers per month, we've to purchase large quantities of our raw materials and invest deeply in digital marketing. The prize funds would be used to help us purchase raw materials secure more paid advertising. We understand that their value goes beyond the prize funds. We would use the networking and exposure generated to develop strategic partnerships and increase brand awareness.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Saathi began in 2015, when its four co-founders - graduates of MIT, Harvard and Nirma University - came together on a mission to create a fully biodegradable sanitary pad. Former P&G production engineer, Amrita Saigal was inspired by idea of improving access to sanitary pads in India. Kristin Kagetsu had previously launched sustainable natural-dye crayons made by local artisans in Uttarakhand, India. Along with them fellow co-founders, Grace Kane and Tarun Bothra developed natural sanitary pads.

Tell us about your work experience

I worked on multiple projects with MIT Design Lab (D-Lab) in Brazil, Nicaragua, & India.My first product launch was of a set of natural dye crayons that I developed with an NGO in Uttarakhand.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure


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Hi Kristin!

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