Ashudhinashak Clay Incinerators for Sanitary Napkins


Author – Suchika Arora

Ashudhinashak Clay Incinerators for Sanitary Napkins

Rural schools in India typically face high rates of high absenteeism and dropouts, which is particularly high among girl students. Poverty, lack of knowledge and unhygienic menstrual methods are the major reasons. Lack of access to sanitary napkins is another problem; when they are available, their disposal becomes an equally compelling issue. Swati Bedekar, a social entrepreneur working in the field of menstrual hygiene realized the gravity of the problem.

Swati-Bedekar-Sakhi-Sanitary-NapkinsSwati Bedekar is a member of Vatsalya Foundation (Gujarat), which manufactures and distributes sanitary napkins at a low cost under the brand name ‘Sakhi’. Vatsalya Foundation provides these napkins at a minimal cost of INR2, so that women can make a switch from cloth rags to sanitary napkins. However, such a switch gives rise to another problem in rural areas – the safe disposal of used napkins.

The used napkins if left or thrown in open can pose serious health hazards; therefore proper disposal to prevent the spread of bacteria and foul odor is important. Further, since sanitary napkins are made of synthetic material, it takes around 500-800 years for them to decompose. The average Indian woman in urban areas throws away more than 10,000 disposable pads in her lifetime! If every woman of reproductive age starts using sanitary napkins, a staggering 58,500 million waste pads would be generated in India every year.

Ashudhinashak-Clay-IncineratorsTo address this problem, Swati along with her husband, designed a clay incinerator, which enables disposal of used sanitary napkins. They named the incinerator “Ashudhinashak”, which means destruction of impurities in Sanskrit. This incinerator can burn many used napkins at a time, and can turn them into ashes without spreading smoke. When the incinerator is filled with used napkins, a burning matchstick is inserted in it through an opening in the bottom. The waste then burns down into ashes that can be removed using a tool provided along with the incinerator. The ash produced can be mixed with soil to nourish plants. This novel innovation prevents littering and helps women to dispose of their used napkins in an eco-friendly way.

Advantages of Clay Incinerators

Clay incinerators have many advantages:

  • Disposing of sanitary napkins in a hygienic and eco-friendly way
  • Creation of livelihood for local potters as incinerators are made of clay and cement
  • Cheaper way to dispose of waste
  • Compact and handy, and it is safe from theft due to its low value

Ashudhinashak-Cement-IncineratorsThe price of clay incinerator is INR1500 each as against electric incinerators that cost somewhere around INR18,000-22,000. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan officials in Gujarat have decided to install these incinerators in all government schools across Gujarat. In fact, there is already a rise in attendance of girls in the schools where these incinerators are installed.

These clay incinerators are eco-friendly and cheap, and hence are being installed in schools, hospitals, primary health centers and homes. Besides solving the problem of menstrual waste disposal, these also provide livelihood to local potters. Vatsalya Foundation and Bedekars have trained and developed a group of potters to manufacture these incinerators. Due to their unique features and benefits, these clay incinerators are gaining demand not just in Gujarat, but across other neighboring states as well.

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  1. I need to meet the Innovator of Clay insinator and would like to but few for schools in Karnataka

  2. Can any type of sanitary napkins be disposed of in this clay incinerator or only degradable sanitary napkins.

    • Hi Jyoti, you have a valid question. you can dispose any type but the non-biodegradable ones emit toxic smoke

      • But generally those are only being that means for disposing that we need electric incinerators and this product can’t be used!!Moreover in villages too , the brands like stay free and whisper are more popular!!kindly advice easy and affordable disposal so that awareness can be spread and environment can be saved

  3. Hii… This type of incinerator produces cancer causing gases that contain furan and dioxins! But there is no proper measure to reduce its toxicity?

    • Hi Suganthi, I agree with your point, but that is what every incinerator does. it just burns whatever is put into it! you need to suggest a better alternative for napkins disposal

  4. Hi… my name is Eka, i so interested to this inovation. Would you give the video how to use this incinerator? thank you….

    • Sorry Eka, we have stopped promoting this innovation since we dont consider it eco-friendly anymore

  5. my name is Mwai Sulaimana from Zomba,Malawi a graduate from the University of Livingstonia,Bachelor’s degree in Food Security and Nutrition.In my area i noticed a problem of poor waste management of diapers which has affect the productive land in our community and it has also reduced fish production in our rivers. So am planing to civic educate people around my community about proper waste management of diapers and constructions of community incineration. please anyone who is interested you can help me in any way, or link me in my email


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