Did you know that ‘Saathi’, a social enterprise, manufactures biodegradable sanitary pads from banana tree fiber? These pads are specially made for women who are concerned about both, their health and the community, since these pads not only reduce rashes and irritation but also reduce plastic waste. Saathi pads aim to reduce sanitary pad waste and the overall carbon footprint generated by them. Saathi also aims to prove that sustainable manufacturing is possible.
Why go for Saathi pads?
Banana tree fibre
On an average, a conventional sanitary pad contains 3.4 grams of plastic. This means that over her lifetime, an average woman will generate 23kg of plastic from sanitary pads alone. In 2016, 150000 tons of sanitary pad wastes was produced in India alone. When disposed of, Saathi pads degrade within six months – 1200 times faster than plastic pads!
Why are they made with banana tree fibre?
This is because of its highly absorbent properties and the environmental and social benefits of its supply chain. Banana fibre comes from the stem of the banana tree, which after harvesting is normally discarded. Saathi instead buys the stems from collectives of local farmers. After they extract the fibre, the residue left over can be fermented and used by farmers as an organic fertilizer. Most plastic sanitary pads use chlorine-bleached wood pulp as an absorbent, while most other eco-friendly pads use cotton.
Most importantly, since bananas are an existing food crop, no extra land is being taken up for the production of this fibre. There are already 9 million hectares dedicated to banana farming worldwide. By utilizing banana fibre as a consumer product raw material, Saathi hopes to champion its expanded use.
Saathi began in 2015, when its four co-founders came together on a mission to create fully eco-friendly and biodegradable sanitary napkins in India. Founded by graduates from MIT (US), Harvard and Nirma, they are innovators in the use of alternative materials and zero-waste production.
Saathi manufactures the pads in Ahmedabad employing women from the local area. They also have a tie-up with Ekal Vidyalaya and Aroga Foundation, an NGO, to distribute pads in rural Jharkhand.
The total cost of the box of pads is Rs. 178.08. You can buy them on www.saathipads.com