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In India, 84% of women lack access to sanitary napkins. In the absence of proper menstrual protection, many women resort to using rags and cloths and even ash, bark and sand to stem menstrual bleeding, which exposes them to a high risk of infection. Women who use cloth are often not able to properly sterilize them because of societal taboos against washing and drying them in public. Improvised alternatives to pads are also uncomfortable, unreliable and lack adequate absorbency - making it very difficult for women to manage work or school day while on their period. The key problems Saathi addresses are to provide a hygienic, effective alternative to improve the lives of these women without creating any negative environmental impact. This is most significant; the small percentage of Indian women using sanitary pads today already generates 100,000+ tons of sanitary pad waste each year - a figure that could rise to 1,000,000+ tons if disposable pads were used by women of menstruating age
Saathi has developed 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from banana fiber which is one of the most absorbent natural fibers and abundant in India. Unlike wood pulp or cotton, it is an agricultural by-product and does not require additional land usage. Our all-natural pads do not contain bleach or chemicals to minimize skin irritation and release of toxins into the environment upon disposal. Not only are they more comfortable and safer for the user as they don’t contain bleach which has carcinogenic dioxins, but Saathi pads also degrade within 6 months of disposal, 1200 times faster than conventional pads, and eliminate the need for incineration, reducing CO2 production. We eliminate 60 kg of pad waste, per woman, in her lifetime. Saathi is part of the circular economy where everyone is positively impacted and our goal is to create hygiene products that are good for your body, community and environment.