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Ajinkya Dhariya: An Engineer Reshaping Menstrual Hygiene & Waste Management

Ajinkya Dhariya, Padcare Labs

Ajinkya Dhariya, Padcare Labs

A recent study revealed that approximately 121 million Indian women, or 36% of menstruating women, use sanitary pads, generating a waste of 12.3 billion pads, equivalent to 1,13,000 tons of waste annually. The primary reason behind this waste crisis is the scarcity of incinerators and recycling facilities.

Ajinkya Dhairya, a mechanical engineer, noticed that sanitary pads were being disposed of in dustbins or thrown out in the open, which posed a significant environmental and public health concern. Together with two friends, Ajinkya developed a technique for recycling sanitary pads and managing plastic waste more efficiently, with the aim of promoting menstrual hygiene and environmental sustainability.

Ajinkya founded Padcare Labs to provide women across the world with a safer and recyclable choice for the disposal of sanitary pads.


Ajinkya Dhariya: Promoting Menstrual Hygiene With Padcare Labs

Despite an increased awareness among women about menstrual health and hygiene, there is a long road ahead to ensure a hundred per cent adoption and awareness. Urban women have easy access to knowledge and resources for safe menstrual hygiene practices; however, in the case of the rural populace, ignorance still prevails, and women need an option for safe disposal of sanitary napkins. 

Famously known as the Padman of 2023, Ajinkya’s startup has made headlines for its groundbreaking technology that ensures odourless, smokeless recycling of sanitary pads. Padcare Labs has emerged as a pioneer in the safe disposal, management and recycling of sanitary napkins. 


Preventing Plastic Pollution & Safe Disposal

Environmental sustainability has emerged as a crucial topic in the 21st century as global temperatures rise owing to an accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs), inducing climate change, which leads to catastrophic weather events such as droughts, flash floods and landslides across the world.

Sanitary pads are made primarily of plastic, which constitutes almost 90% of them and takes nearly 500 to 700 years to decompose. 

Padcare Labs is a six-year-old company that is creating an impact in 19 cities through 550 organisations, saving up to 100 metric tonnes of Co2 equivalent annually. It seeks to ensure that these napkins do not end up on the streets, in landfills, or in water bodies. They recycle them using their patented machine ‘PadCareX, which produces no harmful gases or smoke and recovers plastic for industrial use.

To date, Padcare has collected and recycled approximately 138 metric tonnes of sanitary waste and counting.


“There was a huge problem that needed to be solved, and I realised there was no technology built around it. So I decided to make one.” 

                                                                     ~ Ajinkya Dhariya


The Pune-based startup also provides Padcare bins for the safe disposal of sanitary pads in washrooms. Currently, it caters to companies like Mahindra, Pfizer, Meta, Mercedes Benz and Thermax.

From a collection of 1000 pads per day to 60,000 pads per day, the company has grown to new heights under the leadership of Dhariya. Recently, a unique and world-first material recovery facility with a capacity of 1.5 metric tonnes per day has been inaugurated in Pune.

Future & Vision

Ajinkya Dhariya is a visionary dedicated to revolutionising how we approach waste management. He has already made significant strides with Padcare Labs but Ajinkya’s work is far from done. Now, he is setting his sights on a new challenge – He intends to work towards decomposing baby diapers as the company moves forward. His commitment to improving the world’s waste management is inspiring and a powerful reminder that even the smallest actions can have a profound impact on the world around us. Ajinkya Dhariya is a true champion of sustainability, and his ambition to improve the world’s waste management pad by pad will undoubtedly continue to shape the future of hygiene and waste management.


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