Our Impact

Enhancing Biodegradable Sanitary Towel Production through Utilization of Seaweed and Banana Pseudo stem Residues: A Value Addition Strategy

Thematic Area: Minerals, mining and materials engineering

University: Kenyatta University (KU)

Project Leader: Dr. Jacqueline Kisato

Collaborating Partners: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; Busitema University, Uganda

Duration: 2 years

Project Overview


Environmental sustainability and the protection of our bio ecosystem has become a key focus for organizations globally in line with SDG 17 that supports the protection of the world’s ecosystem. Female sanitary towels are a major contributor to plastic waste globally due to petrochemical by-products used in making hydrogel (a super absorbent gel) and the plastic cover at the base of the sanitary towel. It is estimated that the sanitary towel contains 90% of plastic. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a lot of these products end up in landfills since their disposal in a climate-friendly manner remains a challenge. There is limited research that has addressed the scope of this problem in SSA despite the increasing sanitary waste dumped in garbage landfills every month in most urban centers. This multidisciplinary project shifts to develop an alternative biodegradable superabsorbent gel and sanitary towel that is derived from seaweed and banana stems resulting in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable product.

The technology 

The main goal of this project is to adopt a multidisciplinary approach and develop prototypes of biodegradable sanitary towels using cellulose from seaweed and banana stems- by integrating design thinking, innovation, human-centered and value addition-oriented approaches. Additionally, consumer engagement will be incorporated in the course of the project to enhance the commercial readiness of the biodegradable sanitary towel.

Expected Impact 

The biodegradable sanitary towels prototypes fabricated in this project will help mitigate micro plastic environmental pollution, enhance knowledge and scholarship in the sea weed/ banana value chains and create new entrepreneurial opportunities to address micro-plastic pollution due to sanitary towel waste disposal in landfills across urban areas in Kenya, Uganda and other SSA cities.

For more information, please contact the Project Leader.