Saathi is a social enterprise and manufacturing company that makes eco-friendly hygiene products. Founded by graduates from MIT (US), Harvard and Nirma, we are innovators in the use of alternative materials and zero-waste production. Our mission is to create hygiene products that are good for the body, environment, and community.
To join our team, see our job openings on the Careers page.
How did the story begin?
Saathi began in 2015, when its four co-founders - graduates of MIT, Harvard and Nirma University - came together on a mission to create a fully eco-friendly, biodegradable sanitary napkins in India. While working as a production engineer at an MNC in the US, Amrita Saigal, was inspired by the idea of improving women's access to sanitary pads in India. Kristin Kagetsu, had previously commercialized and launched sustainable natural-dye crayons made by local artisans in Uttarakhand, India, and was passionate about sourcing through grassroots supply chains. Tarun Bothra brought technical expertise and local knowledge to develop the product and set up manufacturing and Grace Kane brought product development and operations knowledge to set up the team. Together, they conceived and developed a biodegradable sanitary napkin using locally sourced banana fibre from the state of Gujarat, where Saathi is based.
Why biodegradable pads?
Saathi pads are 100% biodegradable, using plant-based materials for the leak-proof outer layers of the napkin. Many consumers have issues with irritation or rashes from the plastics/chemicals in standard pads. The average conventional sanitary pad contains 3.4g of plastic. This means that over her lifetime, the average woman will generate 23kg of plastic from sanitary pads alone. In 2016, there were 150,000 tons of sanitary pad waste in India. When disposed of, Saathi pads degrade within six months - 1200 times faster than plastic pads! Since Saathi pads don’t contain chemicals, they provide a rash and irritation free experience.
How does banana fibre compare to other natural fibres?
Saathi pads are made with banana fibre 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 we 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. Banana fibre uses six times less water per ton produced than cotton, and 10 times less fertilizers. Most importantly, since bananas are an existing food crop, no extra land is being taken up by the production of this fibre. There are already 9 million hectares dedicated to banana farming worldwide. By trailblazing the use of banana fibre as a consumer product raw material, Saathi hopes to champion its expanded use.