Extended Producers Responsibility: the Case of Sanitary Napkins and Diapers

For the past four years SWaCH has been working on the issue of appropriate disposal of sanitary pads
and diapers. What began as an effort to avoid direct handling of this waste by  wastepickers has over
time evolved into a complete campaign to ensure manufacturing companies fulfil their duties under EPR.

What is EPR?

Click here to read : The ST Dispo Bag – Waste Pickers Create a Solution to an Occupational Health Problem

Below is a chronological listing of the work done on EPR:


Date Event Response
7th February 2017

Dispose your sanitary waste with a RED DOT As per the new Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it is mandatory for every household to keep sanitary waste including diapers, incontinence sheets, condoms, and sanitary napkins segregated at source in clearly marked bags which are to be provided by manufacturers of these products.


- Red DOT Campaign *


- RED DOT stories *


SWaCH/KKPKP launches bags for sanitary napkin disposal that are identified / recognized by wastepickers

Some citizens and corporates support this initiative.
Wastepickers are happy to get sanitary napkins in bags
April to December
SWaCH/KKPKP a cooperative of wastepickers raises issue of handling and disposal of sanitary napkins and diapers as product is non-biodegradable and non recyclable with wastepickers, Johnson and Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Pune Municipal Corporation, Valsa Nair- Secretary Dept of Environment, Maharashtra
Raises issue of handling of such products that are degrading and potentially hazardous to wastepickers
  Plastics Waste Rules are notified.
Very few municipalities have formally engaged wastepickers.
  As per the rules :
Plastics manufacturers held responsible for end of life of products manufactured. Emphasis placed on laminates and plastic carry bags
Municipal Authorities held responsible for implementation of rules including collection, segregation, storage etc. in an environmentally friendly manner. Authorities to engage wastepickers for this activity.
Under EPR, Municipal authorities may ask manufacturers to pay for collection spaces and other infrastructure
In Pune, municipal authority has not held plastics manufacturers responsible for end of life.
No collection spaces have been built either directly by municipality nor sponsored by plastics manufacturers.
Wastepicker groups have been engaged in waste management
  SWaCH/KKPKP approaches companies like Proctor and Gamble (P&G), Johnson and Johnson (J& J) to make handling more humane. Request to consider enclosing specific identifiable bags in packaging
  P &G responds to emails sporadically with no clear promises. J &J does not respond.
  SWaCH/KKPKP makes a small film on EPR and attends a conference in Berlin to discuss EPR globally
  Some companies attend the meeting but no concrete steps are taken by them. Communication pauses again.
  SWaCH/KKPKP mobilizes environmental groups and wastepicker groups in Pune and India to write to companies requesting them to respond to demands of wastepickers and environment at large
  None of the companies respond.
December / January
  Hon mayor and Hon municipal commissioner ask for a consultation with manufacturers at the request of SWaCH/KKPKP
  Representatives do not come for the meeting held on Jan 8th
8th March 2013
  SWaCH/KKPKP takes an aggressive stance and at a press conference organized on the occassion of international women’s day sends back used sanitary napkins to J&J, P&G and Kimberly Clark
  In April 2013 Feminine and Infant Health Association (FIHA) responds to packages sent to them. Visits Pune to discuss matter with Joint Commissioner and SWaCH/KKPKP reps. They say they require at least 90 days to come up with an action plan. Have no answer to the question “does a sanitary napkin or diaper go into organic waste or recyclable waste”
March 2013 onwards
  SWaCH/KKPKP begins requesting the Ministry of women and child development, Ministry of public health, Ministry of urban Development to hold a consultation with various stakeholders to find a solution to handling and disposal of sanitary waste
  Ongoing effort
June 2013

SWaCH/KKPKP has started building public awareness about the issue.

Click here to read letters sent by citizens



Mohalla committees have sent letters to companies

Some people’s representatives have also sent letters to companies to demand accountability
June 2013

SWaCH/KKPKP launch a product for Diapers that can be easily identified by waste pickers


Contact us to participate in the EPR campaign


Newspaper coverage of the campaign :

  Down to Earth :
Kicking up a stink

Times of India :
Special meet to discuss disposal of sanitary pads and diapers

  Sakaal Times :
Wastepickers await disposal system for sanitary napkins

  Times Of India 9th March 2013
  Indian Express 9th March 2013
  Lokmat 9th March 2013
  Maharashtra Times 9th March 2013
  Sakal Times 9th March 2013
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Events & Campaigns
  Come and present your inspired ideas for how we can rethink e-waste and, in particular, spread awareness about e-waste disposal in ways that are outside traditional approaches.    
SWaCH in the News
  The Times of India
( Pune ) Sep 15, 2016
  Indian Express
September 12, 2016
  Indian Express
September 12, 2016
  The Times of India (Pune)
Sep 13 2016
  MaharashtraTimes (Pune)
Sep 12 2016
  Sakal Times
10 / 09 / 2016

NGOs pitch in for management of waste during Ganesh idol immersion
  The Goldensparrow
05 Aug, 2016
  Waste-pickers get no protection from the rain  
  Maharashtra Times
Aug 7, 2016
  The Times of India
Sept 29, 2015
  Over 500 tonnes of nirmalya collected in 10-day festival  
Sept 29, 2015
  42 Thousand kg nirmalya collected by Swach  
Sept 28, 2015
  Classification of nirmalya by Swach  
Sept 25, 2015
  7th day of ganpati visarjan 17 Thousand kg nirmalya collected  
Sept 24, 2015
  7th day of visarjan 16 Thousand kg. nirmalya Collected  
Sept 19, 2015
  Swach ready for nirmalya collection.  
Sept 18, 2015
  Nirmalya collection of initiative to swach  
  Maharashtra Times
Sept 04, 2015
  Nirmalya project call for volunteers  
  I am dna of Pune
Sept 04, 2015
  Be a swach volunteer, help collect nirmalya during Ganesh visarjan  
  The Times of India
Sept 03, 2015
  Ganeshotsav `nirmalya' target higher  
  Sakal Times
July 25, 2015
  The PMC to finally set up garbage shed on Baner Road  
  Sakal Times
August 15, 2015
  The Fees hiked for trash collection  
  The Indian Express
August 14, 2015
  The SWACH is the first co-operative of wastepickers in the country  
  The New York Times
JULY 29, 2015
  Scavengers Are India's Real Recyclers  
  From A Ragpicker To An International Labour Speaker, Here's Suman More's Inspiring Journey!  
  Loksatta 29.04.2015  
  Times of India 29.03.15
With industries privatizing waste collection through contractors and companies, waste pickers in the city have said that access to recyclables was ...
  The Indian Express 6.11.14
Swach gets parliamentary committee's thumbs-up
  The Indian Express 31.10.14
Waste-picker from city attends international convention, meets Pope Francis
  Sakal Times 07.11.14
Meeting Pope was memorable : Waste picker Rebecca
  Times News Network
Waste collector from city meets Pope Francis
  DNA 5.11.14
From rags to recognition : A waste picker's struggle for basic rights
  DNA 3.11.14
For ragpickers, Pope is their hope
  Surfing their way into the mainstream  
  Midday 17.10.14
They plan to beat music out of junk
  Loksatta 02.09.14
Remember to give your Nirmalya to Swach members
  TOI 20.08.14
Change mindsets to change cities say wastepickers
  The Indian Express 13.08.14  
  Waste pickers demanding pre-matric scholarship for their kids end strike  
  TOI 09.08.14  
  Pune Municipal Corporation not providing gear: SWaCH  
  TOI 06.05.14  
  SWaCH to scale up e-waste collection  
  HINDU Survey of Environment 2013
Picking a brighter future
  Midday 26.06.13
NGOs tie up with schools for environmental awareness
  IE 12.07.13
Green school programme launched to spread awareness among school children
  N Y Times blog
Out of India's Trash heaps, more than a shred of dignity
  HT 06.07.13
South Civic body eyes Pune Model for garbage solution
  TOI 06.07.13
Ragpickers resolve sanitation dilemma
  Newspaper Archives