As a school girl, Aiswarya P had wondered, along with hundreds of peers, where she would be disposing the used sanitary napkins in public spaces, for burning them in the open was extremely harmful for the atmosphere. The incinerators were doing the same, though in large numbers. While in class IX, she worked out a simple, low-cost sanitary napkin disposal machine, where the plastic and cotton in the napkins can be cleaned and separated and the cleaned plastic can be recycled and used again.
Aiswarya’s new technique is now awaiting Indian patent and during the waiting period, she was honoured with SRITI (Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions) UNICEF Award for Inclusive Innovation for Children,
Women and Youth last month. She was presented with the award by National Innovation Foundation - India chairperson R A Mashelkar. In 2007, her brother Krishna Kanth had received National Innovation Foundation award for low-cost electronic speed-breaker for vehicles and was hailed as the youngest patent holder in India at the age of 14.
“My brother’s achievement was very inspiring for me. My parents, retired professor Sujath Kumar and Premaja P, Deputy Director, Agriculture Department, were the guiding force. I continued my research and experiments throughout my BTech course at Adisankara Institute of Science and Technology and came out with the low-cost project, which will be of help to the numerous women, travelling and working and having a busy schedule, who find it difficult to get a proper place to dispose used napkins,” says Aiswarya.
The machine, which will be three-fourth the size of a coffee vending machine, acts on the principle of chemical reaction. When the used napkin is put inside the machine, an AC motor will shred it into pieces.
A solution of Cuprammonium hydroxide (mixture of copper hydroxide and ammonium hydroxide in 4:3 ratio) will dissolve the cotton and cleanse the non-woven material, which can be recycled to make bags and plastic covers. A DC motor inside the machine enhances the chemical reaction. The waste will be collected in a plastic tray.