First-ever Biodegradable Sanitary Napkins from Banana Fiber Made by ‘SAATHI’
Saathi, a social enterprise and manufacturing company, makes eco-friendly & bio-degradable sanitary napkins made from banana fiber. This kind of pads is discovered by graduates from MIT (US), Harvard and Nirma. This process of sanitary pads production is the alternative way of pads production and it also can be termed as ‘zero-waste production’ as these pads are totally bio-degradable. This product is good for the human-body & environment.First-ever Biodegradable Sanitary Napkins from Banana Fiber Made by ‘SAATHI’
When & How did the Saathi begin?
Saathi has been formed with the base at Gujarat in 2015. The four co-founders of Saathi are Amrita Saigal, Tarun Bothra, Kristin Kagetsu and Grace Kane – who were the graduates of MIT, Harvard and Nirma University.All of them came together to create a fully eco-friendly, bio-degradable sanitary napkins using locally produced banana fiber in Gujarat state. It is really so inspiring idea of developing women’s sanitary napkins in India by the Saathi team. Both Tarun and Amrita have their personal experience with their family members who were affected by facing the taboos around menstrual practice in India. Kristin was very much passionate about making a product that makes an impact on women and had been commercialized before and created viable natural-stain crayons made by local craftsman in the Uttarakhand state of India. She was also looking for an opportunity to create sanitary pads from bio-degradable eco-friendly materials that not only make a positive impact on women but also good for the environment. Grace was passionate too about sustainable eco-friendly product design. Basically, they were all inspired by the enthusiasm to take an effective step for women in India using a technical approach typically focused on economy, ecology and sustainability. They altogether integrated their experiences to develop biodegradable and compostable sanitary napkins which belong to the totally sustainable business model. Their team of 4 persons has technical, managerial and business expertise to develop new products for women and started up manufacturing the pads. They also have the objective to apply this model to other absorbent products.
Why biodegradable pads?
Saathi pads are Compostable as well as Biodegradable. These pads are made using plant-based (Banana plant’s fiber) fibers for the outer layers of the napkin with a leak-proof facility. Actually, most of the women have been suffering from the issues like irritation or rashes from the plastics/chemicals in standard pads available in markets. The standard sanitary pad contains 3.4gm of plastic. This means that thorough out her lifetime, one woman will generate 23kg of plastic in average from sanitary pads only. In the year 2016, there were near about 150,000 tons of sanitary pad as waste in only India. In case of disposal, Saathi pads decompose within six months – that is 1200 times faster than standard plastic pads! Besides, Saathi pads don’t contain chemical ingredients moreover they provide an irritation and rash free menstruation period.
How does banana fibre compare to other natural fibres?
Saathi pads are made from banana fiber because it has highly absorbent property, environmental benefits and its availability. The stem of the banana tree is the source of banana fiber. As the stem is normally discarded after harvesting, the Saathi team bought and collected the stems from local farmers. After they extract the fiber from the stem, the part left after extracting can be used by farmers as an organic fertilizer. Most of the plastic non-biodegradable sanitary pads use chlorine-bleached wood mash as the absorbent, while the eco-friendly biodegradable pads use cotton. Banana fiber uses six times lesser water per ton than that for cotton, and 10 times lesser for fertilizers. Most importantly, since bananas can be cultivated in the field of existing food crop, no extra land is needed for the production of banana fiber. There are already 9 million hectares used for banana production all over the world. By the use of banana fiber for the production of eco-friendly sanitary pads, Saathi has already achieved a positive feedback all over the world and they are looking to expand the use of this kind of bio-degradable sanitary pads worldwide.
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