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Saathi

Products: Products – Bio degradable sanitary pads

Saathi is a purpose-driven manufacturing company that makes eco-friendly hygiene products. Founded by graduates from MIT (US), Harvard and Nirma, we are innovators in the use of alternative materials and zero-waste production. Our mission is to create hygiene products that are good for the body, environment, and community. 
 

How did the story begin?

Saathi began in 2015, when its four co-founders Kristin Kagetsu, Tarun Bothra, Amrita Saigal, and Grace Kane - graduates of MIT, Harvard and Nirma University - came together on a mission to create fully eco-friendly, compostable sanitary napkins using locally sourced banana fiber from the state of Gujarat, where Saathi is based. We were inspired by the idea of improving women's access to sanitary pads in India. Kristin was passionate about making a product that is sustainable using natural materials and impacts women. She had previously commercialized and launched sustainable natural-dye crayons made by local artisans in Uttarakhand, India. Tarun brought his business experience in renewable energy, materials and passion for improving the lives of the masses to set up this new social venture. Tarun also had personal experiences with a family member who was affected by having to face the taboos around menstrual hygiene in India. Grace and Amrita were also passionate about sustainable product design and innovation as well as impacting women. We found a way to source natural eco-friendly materials for sanitary pads to make a product that not only positively impacted women but was also good for the environment. We were motivated by the potential to make a positive difference for women in India while using an engineering approach focused on ecology and sustainability. Together we combined our experiences to conceive and develop a biodegradable and compostable sanitary pad with a cradle to cradle (completely sustainable) business model which also embodies circular economy. Our team has a business, technical, and local expertise to develop new products and set up manufacturing. We aim to apply this to other absorbent products.

. “Saathi Pad launched a part of the company’s #onemillionpads program. This will see distribution of a million pads to women in the states of Jharkhand and Rajasthan in conjunction with Delhi-based NGO EkalVidayalaya, who will help educate rural women on menstrual health. Key to the project was creating an environmentally friendly, non-toxic product. Disposable pads, as most of the world knows them today, are made using non-biodegradable plastics, chemical toxins and bleaches, and do not decompose in landfills. T
As the taboos around menstruation are targeted, eco-friendly products for menstruation hit the markets and awareness reaches the farthest corner of the country, an initiative like a baboo fibre based sanitary napkin is another drop that makes the ocean.
 
Why biodegradable pads?
Saathi pads are Biodegradable & Compostable, using plant-based materials for the leak-proof outer layers of the napkin. Many consumers have issues with irritation or rashes from the plastics/chemicals in standard pads. The average conventional sanitary pad contains 3.4g of plastic. This means that over her lifetime, the average woman will generate 60kg of plastic from sanitary pads alone. In 2016, there were 150,000 tons of sanitary pad waste in India. When disposed of, Saathi pads degrade within six months - 1200 times faster than plastic pads! Since Saathi pads don’t contain chemicals, they provide a rash and irritation free experience.

How does bamboo fibre compare to other natural fibres?

Saathi pads are made with bamboo fibre because of its highly absorbent properties, and the environmental and social benefits of the pads. Most plastic sanitary pads use the chlorine-bleached wood pulp as an absorbent, while most other eco-friendly pads use cotton. Bamboo fibre pads contain no plastic, are biodegradable, compostable and thereby, eco-friendly. Furthermore, Saathi uses its income to provide access of pads to women in Indian rural areas. The pads made from the bamboo fibre are 100% chemical-free, perfume-free and unbleached.

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