Women empowerment is a necessity in current times in India. One important step towards that is to help women with menstrual hygiene. But India faces three major challenges to menstrual hygiene.
First, only a limited population in India has access to clean toilets and water. Most of the population depends on public washrooms. We do not keep the public toilets clean. People have a high risk of developing Urinary Tract Infections and other health-related problems.
Second, the waste collectors in the country collect the used sanitary napkins with no protective gear. They lead a life devoid of dignity. It severely affects their mental and physical health.
Third, sanitary napkins used by most women are not environment friendly. The pads harm the environment. Each woman is generating up to 125 kilograms of waste.
PadCare – A Step Towards Women Empowerment
PadCare is a management solution based on hygiene that generates eco-friendly, harmless, and recyclable pads. Ajinkya Dhariya is the founder and CEO of PadCare. It is a Pune-based startup. It is the first sanitary napkin processing and recycling solution. They promote the concept of sustainability. For this, their system produces a smokeless, harmless, and long-term solution that allows you to create a carbon negative impact out of menstrual waste.
The PadCare Bin
The PadCare system follows a 4-step approach. The first approach is segregation. Women separate their general waste from sanitary waste at the source level by using the Pad bin. It is inserted into individual washroom cubicles. Women can safely and privately dump their used menstrual absorbents. The bin is completely touch-free. It can hold up to 30 sanitary napkins. Their bin works on vapor phase technology and is connected to the cloud for volume tracking. PadCare bin protects women from vaginal infections and enables carbon-negative menstruation. The body of the PadCare bin is sleek; the bin is battery-powered and has low maintenance needs.
Collection of Sanitary Waste
The second approach is the Collection of pad waste. The waste management partners collect the waste and drop it at the central processing unit. Shriniwas Adhe, a design engineer, mentioned,
“Since the entire process is contactless, the solution is beneficial to the waste picker as well.”
The third approach is Processing the waste. Through a chemo-mechanical process in the smokeless unit founded on 5D technology, the waste is shredded and disinfected.
Recycling The Sanitary Waste
The fourth process is the Recycling of the waste. Harmless, sterilized, and odorless plastic material and cellulose are given new life. PadCare System processes 300 pads a day, has an anti-stainless steel body, smokeless and silent.
The machine has a 5-year warranty and easy maintenance. The VAP technology enables the pathogenic lock, eliminates false odor and stinkiness from the sanitary waste. The plastic material and cellulose are used to make items like pots, tables, paper blocks, etc.
PadCare Vend Machine
Another innovation of the PadCare startup is known as PadCare Vend. A vending machine is a modern machine that eliminates all the worries of a woman who has forgotten to carry a sanitary napkin in workplace settings. It caters to the problem of unavailability or inaccessibility of pads in workplace settings. The machine has customized payment options and it ensures menstrual hygiene. They collect the waste on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
Impact Made by PadCare
PadCare is not only affecting the lives of women and waste pickers. The entire process is beneficial for the environment as well. Jesha Shah, the Industrial designer, mentioned,
“As a menstruator, I wasn’t aware of what happens to the pads after I dispose of them. But when I think about the plight of the waste pickers, I feel guilty about it.”
To date, this phenomenon has recycled 9500 pads, 150 bins installed, and 5000 kilograms of carbon emissions have been reduced. The model of PadCare is a perfect example of sustainable development.
If you loved this story, read a story about how Aparna Rajwat is empowering women by training them to become mentally and physically stronger through Pink Belt Mission.