The Chief Of Sanitation

A first-generation founder, Ajinkya Dhariya launched PadCare Labs as a means to dispose and recycle menstrual products

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By Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur India

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A single sanitary pad takes at least 500 to 800 years to decompose due to its 90% plastic composition, along with the use of super absorbent polymers and glue. Unfortu­nately, waste management is carried out by sanitation workers with no protective gear, making them susceptible to life-threatening diseases such as Hepatitis or Tetanus. To combat this concern, Ajinkya Dhariya founded PadCare Labs in 2018 to move towards a sustainable society where sani­tation management standards are higher than their current form. "Come to think of it that way, every sanitary pad ever manufactured on earth is still on earth," he shares. PadCare is the world's 1st automated sanitary napkin processing and recycling system.

A first-generation founder, Dhariya completed his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering in 2017, was a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering under its Innovation Fellowships Programme, and worked as a Research and Development Engineer briefly before finding a cause which stirred him away from the traditional path. His eureka moment arrived during his educational stay in Pune, where he "saw a couple of rag pickers carrying used pads using bare hands. Upon deep diving into the problem, I came to know about different challenges faced by women, waste pickers, and its high environmental impact."

PadCare is a smart menstrual hygiene management ecosystem which begins with creating awareness about the issue, providing vending machines and disposable bins, and ends with the disposal and recycling of menstrual products. Typically, sanitary pads are disposed of in two ways- buried in landfills or burnt in incinerators, both being environmentally detrimental. The onset of the process is with the installation of PadCare Bin in individual washroom cubicles, which offers women a means to dispose of their used absorbents privately and safely. Their bins are manufactured with PadCare Vap technology (patent approval pending) which locks pathogens along with ABS materials that enable the bin to store and hold 75 pads (1.5 kg) for 30 days. The bins are emptied monthly by trained staff, and the pads are recycled with the help of their 5D patented technology.

The recycling sees the waste being shredded after going through a disinfection, decolourisation, and deodorisation process in the Central Processing Unit. The disposed pads are broken down and separated into two-by products cellulose and plastic. Body fluids, including blood, are also broken down in this process and removed through a different outlet. Cellulose and plastic are further utilised in the paper-packaging, chemical, and agriculture industries.

The PadCare phenomenon has recycled over 100 MT+ pads, installed 5500+ disposal bins, and saved over 1800 million litres of landfill waste. The cleantech startup sees reputed companies such as Capgemini, Goldman Sachs, Meta, P&G, Mahindra Group, JSW, State bank of India, IIM Nagpur, Taj, and ICICI Lombard as few of its 250+ list of clients.

2022 saw the startup scaling from two cities to six, receiving the Marico Innovation award and ANIC Grant. The venture has been profitable with a good gross margin and aims to reach a break-even point by 2025. Dhariya's 2028 goals include serving 10 million women daily, uplifting and dignifying 10000+ rag pickers, saving 1MT carbon per day, and scaling up the Singapore market. "Our plan is to make modern sanitation choices safer and recyclable for women across the world and encourage inclusiveness, equality, and healthier practices in public hygiene on a global scale," he concludes.


Number of employees: 42

Year of inception of the company: 2018

Investors in your idea: 5

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer

Covering news and trends in FinTech, AI, Metaverse, and Wealth segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side.  

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