Ajinkya Dhariya, Founder and CEO, PadCare Labs
Ajinkya Dhariya, Founder and CEO at PadCare Labs, is a Mechanical Engineer and Sanitation Entrepreneur.
Waste management in India is a big issue. There are many projects indulged in making a circular economy and managing the waste produced in India the right way. One thing that contributes to the waste of the country is the non-biodegradable used sanitary pads. Women on average use 6 pads a month that go straight to the dustbin and they have no use after that.
This is a huge problem that was unattended until now, but now we have social entrepreneurs like Ajinkya Dhariya, who have made the development of a sustainable society, the mission of their life.
Ajinkya Dhariya is the founder and CEO of PadCare Labs. He is a mechanical engineer and sanitation and social entrepreneur. By sanitation and social entrepreneur, we mean that Ajinkya is developing a circular economy with the used sanitation products.
Recalling his childhood days, Ajinkya tells us that it was clear to him since childhood that he wanted to do something for society. He studied mechanical engineering. Throughout his mechanical journey, he used to make small prototypes of the products that could solve tiny societal problems like tap water conservation, energy from silencers, etc. In all his projects he noticed that he was very empathetic towards the consumer.
In 2017, Ajinkya visited a landfill and saw rag pickers picking up waste like sanitary napkins with their hands. He didn’t find it right and asked the pickers about it. Then he got to know that sanitation waste goes into common waste and there is no proper segregation. That was the time he decided to indulge more in sanitation waste management.
Ajinkya tells us that one pad takes about 800 years to perish and in India, a billion pads are generated which go into landfills and water bodies. Women do not have any pad disposal methods. In 2018, as Ajinkya was working on a solution for a proper pad disposal method, he received a grant from the government of India to develop his prototype. This is how PadCare Labs was established with a vision to create a sustainable society by enhancing hygiene standards.
What is PadCare’s contribution to making a sustainable society?
In Ajinkya’s words, “PadCare Labs is a startup providing menstrual hygiene management as a service to B2B clients, organizations, educational institutes having large footfalls while taking care of awareness, accessibility and sustainable disposal and recycling of sanitary waste”.
In PadCare Labs, they are recycling the used sanitary pads into usable material like paper, plant pots, etc.
The process of making reusable goods from the used Sanitary Napkins
Ajinkya tells us that PadCare provides women a pad disposal bin where the used pad can be stored for thirty days without any bacterial formation. This is how the collection of the used pads is managed.
After collection, these used pads are put in the EHS safety manner into their system which is called the PadCare Central Processing Unit, which is the world’s first absorbent hygiene product processing and recycling system. It works on the chemo-mechanical methodology and provides 5Ds. These 5Ds are Disinfectant, Deodorisation, Decolourisation, Disintegration, and Deactivation of super absorbent polymers at standard temperature and pressure. In this process, they are getting a good amount of plastic and cellulose.
The difference in the Sanitary disposal issues in Urban India and Rural India
Ajinkya tells us that urban India and rural India are very different from each other. In rural areas, there is no or very little awareness about female hygiene. Women there do not have the right products to use. So the main problem of rural areas is not pad disposal, it is more about the lack of awareness about women’s hygiene. However, many NGOs and foundations are working to improve this situation. On the contrary, in urban areas, both men and women are well informed and aware of feminine hygiene. Women have the right and good quality products for themselves. The problem in urban areas is just the right disposal method and recycling of them.
Ajinkya also tells us that PadCare Labs is not only working on female sanitary napkins but also with baby diapers and adult diapers to manage all kinds of sanitary waste.