Special Startup Series: Environment friendly sanitary napkin disposal technology

Besides addressing the unhygienic disposal of sanitary napkins through its novel approach, Pune based Padcare Labs is also focusing on quality and affordability

Social entrepreneurship driven startup, PadCare Labs has developed the world’s first smokeless sanitary napkin disposal and recycling solution to solve the unhygienic, pollution-causing, and silent issue of sanitary napkin disposal at the source. The solution includes patent-pending innovation called PadCare which works on the principle of the chemo-mechanical method.
Explaining the problem and its answer, Ajinkya Dhariya, CEO, PadCare Labs, says, “When segregated at source, sanitary pads are burned in an incinerator at 800 degree Celsius for effective disposal. This causes a lot of pollution and consumes a lot of energy as well. We have developed technology by combining chemical, mechanical and electrical innovations that can ensure smokeless disposal of sanitary pads. The pads are broken down, sterilized, deodorized and segregated into cellulose and plastic pellets.”
PadCare is a centralized processing unit that can handle 1,500 pads in a day and provides 5D’s- that are disinfection, Deodorization, Decolorization, Disintegration and Deactivation of a super absorbent polymer. The process includes organic consumables called Cytoslay – which provides these properties instantly.
CytoSlay provides up to 6 logs of bacterial reduction, and as per company, is tested as per World Health Organization standard. From PadCare, segregated, sterilized cellulose-plastic comes as output. Interestingly it can be recycled for different applications including packaging material, plastic bricks and RDF pallets.
PadCare Labs has developed a proprietary technology for smoke-less disposal of Sanitary Pads.
Sharing more details, Ajinkya says, “We are at TRL-5, tested and demonstrated the product on the ground. We have already started commercial engagement at Pune and Mumbai with the corporate sector.”
A dream to shape sustainable societies
Since his childhood, Ajinkya Dhariya always wanted to pursue social entrepreneurship and want to solve social issues with the help of technological means. It was during the year 2017 when he as a final year of engineering during project immersion observed the issue around sanitary napkin disposal.
Ajinkya started PadCare Labs in 2018 with a vision to shape sustainable societies by enhancing hygiene standards. He is pursuing the dream for a sustainable society with his 3P’s, Passion, Perseverance, and Persistence. His efforts were recognized by WIPO, TBC, WSSCC, Unltd India, Dassault, UK- Royal Engineering Academy, and the Government of India. He is acting as a young ambassador to inspire social actions for a healthier community.
Ajinkya’s curiosity drives him to forge new paths and develop bold, innovative, and progressive solutions like sanitary napkin disposal and recycling. His courage empowers the challenge vested interests, pursue unconventional ideas, and fight for the health of our planet and its people to bring prosperity.
“We are focusing on female hygiene. Our R&D activities include product development, disinfection system, and material recycling. We choose this area as globally more than 500 million females looking for safe disposal mechanisms around sanitary waste disposal. 12 billion pads going into landfills that take 800 years. Waste pickers facing health issues. So, I thought this ideal problem to solve and create the social, environmental and economic impact,” explains Ajinkya.
Aiming high and big
PadCare is looking to tap an untapped market of Rs. 800 crore in urban India. On the high target are the B2B organizations like educational institutes, offices, airports having large women footfall. It is expecting Annual Recurring Revenue(ARR) of Rs. 1 crore for 2021 by serving 1 million females on daily basis. It is currently working with the subscription-based business model and installing collection units are free of cost.
“In last two years, we faced a number of challenges from technical, pilots, process, regulations,” mentions Ajinkya who specifically talking about hardware iteration cycles also adds, “It took us 3-4 months to do product iterations. The product-market fit journey, pilots helped us to achieve product-market fit exercise.”
Since its inception, PadCare Labs has received support in terms of mentoring, funding and partner collaboration. The company is backed by the Department of Biotechnology under the Biotechnology Research Assistance Council’s BIRAC-BIG fund and BIRAC-LEAP fund. It is also associated with Toilet Board, Dassault System, Tata Trust, the Government of Maharashtra, Infosys Foundation, and  NITI AYOG.
Way forward
While continuing to focus on female health and hygiene, the company plans to tap the global market with B2C approach. Going by the fact that a single baby generates more than 8000 diapers with two years, the company is working on diaper disposal as well.
“Our immediate plan is to define units that can scale and achieve product-market, Channel-Market, and Product-Business model fit. As part of it we are serving our clients like SBI, Educational Institute with our subscription-based model, says Ajinkya who is highly optimistic about the future of PadCare.
BioVoice wishes Ajinkya and his team all the success in their endeavors.