Unesco Green Citizens
Project begin: 05/09/2016

Saathi began in 2015, when its co-founders Kristin Kagetsu, Tarun Bothra and Grace Kane – graduates of MIT (US), Nirma University- came together on a mission to create fully eco-friendly, compostable sanitary napkins using locally sourced banana fiber. They  were inspired by the idea of improving women’s access to sanitary pads in India.

Leading organisation: Saathi
The country where the team is based: India
Covered Countries: India
Theme: Local and Indigenous Knowledge
Sub-themes: Waste management
Tag: #Women
Selection: 2021
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Project needs
Communication strategy design
Equipment supply
In search of financial partners
Partnerships development
Press relations
Sponsorship/ Philanthropy
Volunteer workforce

The insight at the origin of this social enterprise? Women in India produce more than 100,000 tons of sanitary pads waste every year. These sanitary pads are often made from plastic, which takes 600 years to decompose; or is burned, generating CO2 emissions and toxic fumes. Using a patented technology to process natural fibre into a highly absorbent pulp, Saathi has developed alternatives that decompose in just 3-6 months. Their first 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads are made from banana fibre, an absorbent natural fibre readily available in India. Saathi pads are good for the body, community and environment.

Supporting the circular economy

Saathi works on  the principle of circular economy. The impacts are built in their supply chain. They buy banana fiber which is agri waste from farmers providing them extra income, employ women from underserved communities in the factory to make them independent and the pads are sold in urban areas at a premium price and in rural areas with NGO partners at a subsidized price addressing the issue of accessibility and plastic waste created.

Saathi joined forces with various NGO partners which works with 80,000+ villages in India to help educate women in rural Jharkhand about menstrual hygiene, as well as provide banana and bamboo-fibre sanitary pads.

This young social enterprise has already improved the lives of 7,800 women and saved 18.7 tons of plastic waste and 52 million tons of CO2. The next challenge? Launch new products and increase production to reach more women in India and beyond.

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