Climate-Friendly Management of Sanitary Waste

April 17, 2020

To mark World Intellectual Property Day 2020 Innovate for a Green Future, WIPO GREEN is showcasing a number of the climate-friendly technologies featured on the WIPO GREEN online database.

More than two billion tonnes of solid waste are generated annually across the world, a figure that the World Bank estimates will increase to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050. At present, approximately 33 percent of global waste is not managed through environmentally-friendly methods, contributing to environmental pollution and degradation.

Disposal of sanitary waste, including menstrual products, in a climate-friendly manner remains a challenge. At any given time, over 800 million women around the world are menstruating. Many of them use disposable sanitary products such as menstrual pads, which can take over 800 years to decompose. In India alone, 12 billion sanitary napkins are used annually, with 98 percent of them ending up in landfill sites or lakes, seas and oceans.

group picture of PadCare Labs team
PadCare Labs team with their innovative technology Saneco. From left to right: Aasawari Kane (Project Assistant); Shriniwas Adhe (Engineering Intern); Ajinkya Dhariya (Founder & CEO); Krishna Malji (Design Engineer); Sarika Kulkarni (Product Engineer and Saneco's inventor). (Photo: Courtesy of PadCare Labs)

PadCare Labs, a start-up company from India, focuses on addressing the challenge of managing menstrual waste and finding greener alternatives to incineration (burning), which is the most common sanitary waste management practice in many countries. Their technology, Saneco: Sanitary napkin disposal and recycling unit, registered in the WIPO GREEN database, offers a safe and ecological method of sanitary waste disposal, helping to mitigate harmful environmental impacts.

The technology was designed by a young female mechanical engineer and industrial designer, Sarika Kulkarni. In her recent interview with WIPO GREEN, Mrs. Kulkarni said that she was inspired to find a solution to this environmental challenge, which is still a social and cultural taboo in India, because it creates significant challenges for women.

(Photo: Courtesy of PadCare Labs)

Saneco is an eco-friendly recycling system that uses a "5D" (disinfection, decolorization, deodorization, deactivation and disintegration) chemo-mechanical process, which disposes of a sanitary napkin within 30 seconds. The process is odorless, colorless and smokeless meaning that the device can be installed easily in washrooms and individual cabins. The resulting byproduct can be recycled as fuel or material for the paper industry.

At present, the project is in a pre-commercialization stage. Five Saneco devices have been installed and are being piloted in Pune, India.

In terms of intellectual property (IP) protection, Saneco has submitted a patent application to protect its technology and is also seeking design and trademark rights over its innovative device.

(Photo: Courtesy of PadCare Labs)

Saneco is now seeking support from companies interested in switching to a greener sanitary waste management approach and in installing its device on their premises.

“With intellectual property (IP) and green innovation at the center of our start-up company, we are thrilled to celebrate this year’s World IP Day,” says Ajinkya Dhariya, Founder and CEO of the company PadCare Labs.

“Today we are truly making history and laying the groundwork for the future of our world; it depends on us, whether this future is going to be green and healthy, or otherwise. So today, I urge innovators around the globe to unite their efforts in making our lives more sustainable and eco-friendly, says Mr. Dhariya. Let’s innovate for a green future on World IP Day and every day!”


WIPO GREEN is a global marketplace for sustainable technology, supporting global efforts to address climate change. Through its online database and regional activities, WIPO GREEN connects green tech seekers and providers in order to catalyze green innovation and accelerate green tech transfer and diffusion.