As coronavirus cases are increasing, the demand for disinfection services is also increasing.
According to the 6W Research report, “Indian surface disinfectant market is expected to register high growth during 2020-2026 owing to the increased demand for the disinfection services amid the pandemic.”
6W Research is a market research company headquartered in Delhi. During such a global health crisis, many entrepreneurs are focusing on disinfection derived market as it has become an hourly need mainly due to the unlock phase that India is in.
Such an example is PadCare Labs which is a sanitary waste management startup. Ajinkya Dhariya founded PadCare in 2018. Its main business is to deliver menstrual waste management services. The core products of the startup are SANECO and UVECO. They have been laid out to guarantee the proper disposal of sanitary napkins.
However, due to the COVID-19 emergency, the startup was forced to change its business model. However, it has now come out with two products – UVSATHI and UVHANDY – to disinfect surface areas and inanimate objects with the use of UV-C technology.
Prior to pandemic
Ajinkya considered the idea of PadCare, the creation of a circular economy. How? The hazardous sanitary napkin waste is converted into an eco-friendly waste. Moreover, the leftover products of sanitary napkins such as paper and plastic pellets are recycled for new use.
Ajinkya explained, “Around 12 billion pads are used annually by women. Around 98 percent of the waste ends up in water bodies and landfills, and a single pad takes up to 800 years to decompose. Apart from this, if incinerated, a single pad can release 380 kg carbon in the atmosphere. We are trying to address the gap in menstrual disposal to maintain hygiene and reduce its adverse impact on the environment.”
UVECO is PadCare’s business-to-business product. It is a touchless sanitary pad collection bin based on UV technology. It is fitted into washrooms. Interestingly, the bin has a sensor for the automatic opening of lids as one hovers hand over it. Then, the transfer of sanitary napkins to the centralized processing unit, SANECO, takes place where disinfections and segregation of waste processes are done.
Battle against COVID-19
The startup has conducted five pilot runs of the products for half a year across Pune. Interestingly, it has served 350 women per day. Moreover, the startup was about to implement the products commercially but due to lockdown, the plan is at a halt.
Ajinkya informed, “We started getting calls from doctors who needed something devised for decontamination of surfaces at the ward level and of the N95 masks. We started working on it and developed a basic prototype within a week since we had basic resources available as we have been working with UV devices.”
UVSATHI and UVHANDY are two products that are developed recently by the startup. UVSATHI is a certified remote-controlled air and surface disinfection unit which can decontaminate areas from 50-500 sq ft. The certification was approved by the NABL-accredited lab. Presently, the product is under test at ICMR labs mainly for its impact on COVID-19.
The product can be used for the purpose of disinfecting hospital wards, school classrooms, and offices. The UV-C fitted in the product will eat up all kinds of pathogens. Depending on the surface area, the product comes out in different variants for decontamination. The product needs to be fitted in a room and plugged on.
Cautiously, there should not be any living being in that particular room when the decontamination process is taking place. Therefore, it has a technique to start the process after it is on so that people leave that room in that span of time.
Sound buzzers and detection sensors are fitted in this product. In case it detects any living presence, it automatically switches off. Remote can be used to control UVSATHI so one can switch it off from a distance.
On the other hand, UVHANDY is a portable handy sanitization system for the decontamination of inanimate surfaces. It is mainly used for disinfection of office desks, door handles, parcels, food deliveries, and bags. To sanitize and disinfect N-95 masks for reuse, both the products can be used.
These products mainly work on UV technology. UV-C light attack on the DNA molecules of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. This makes them inactive, hence lose their reproductive capability.
More into Business
PadCare is B2B based model and has deployed more than 50 units of the products across Pune, Mumbai, and Delhi. The price of UVHANDY is Rs 7,500 whereas the price of UVSATHI varies from Rs 25,000 to 85,000 depends upon the area of room.
Currently, the Indian Air Force is using UVSATHI for the disinfection of their meeting rooms. Sahyadri Hospital, KEM, and at local clinics across Pune are using the product for disinfection.
No revenue and turnover figures were revealed by the founder, but he gave a clue about its product sales. There is a high demand for these products from businesses across India, as well as from the Gulf and European countries.
Ajinkya said, “Our immediate goal is to scale up and make both the COVID-19 products available across India and also tap the international markets. To achieve this, we have joined hands with automotive manufacturer Kinetic Engineering Limited for manufacturing and distribution. Currently, the production rate is 10,000 units per week.”
Presently, the main motive of the Startup is to get the regulatory approvals and to launch the product for deployment across the country.
Ajinkya further explained, “PadCare Labs is planning to launch the core sanitary napkin disposal and recycling within the next three months. We are planning to sell 50+ units with the next 12 months which can provide sustainable hygiene and sanitation to a minimum of 200,000 women and 100+ waste pickers. We have received pre-order from the Maharashtra government and other corporate industries for our units.”
Apart from PadCare, there are many other startups too are coming forward with UV technology for disinfecting surfaces. For example, Log 9 Materials Pvt. Ltd is a nanotechnology startup based in Bengaluru has developed CoronaOven for disinfecting e-commerce packages, grocery items, milk packets, wallets, electronic gadgets, masks, and gloves. UV-C light used in the product disinfects within 10 minutes.
Another example is the Green Grapes Device which is based in Delhi. It has a UV Sterilisation Box for the disinfection of small-sized daily use items such as cell phones, keys, watches, rings, and masks.