BECOME AN ECO-WARRIOR BY ADOPTING "SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE"

STONESOUP

1. No Poverty 3. Good Health and Well-Being 6. Clean Water and Sanitation 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Stonesoup is a company founded by visionary working women who analyzed the issues of waste management and started working towards reducing the community’s waste impact. They stepped up from being an eco-warrior to an eco-entrepreneur to create products and solutions that can help people who want to make a change. Stonesoup products include face masks, menstrual cups, cloth pads, cloth diapers, composting kits, handmade personal care products, household cleaners, reusable bags, and home segregation kits. Their ultimate goal is to make sustainable living easy. Stonesoup engages economically challenged communities to manufacture their products. Sourcing cloth bags and hand-made products from rural areas. Stonesoup creates awareness on sustainable menstrual health management in schools, colleges, corporations, and communities through sessions, posters, articles, and interviews in various media. Stonesoup also facilitates skill development workshops on making sustainable period care products for semi-skilled women in various parts of India. Stonesoup also provides solutions to decentralized composting, eliminating sanitary waste, reducing dry waste, and enabling chemical-free water bodies. All their products encourage the reuse culture and mitigate the amount of household waste reaching the landfill by 95%. By using Stonesoup products, the amount of waste generated by households is reduced considerably. This minimizes the waste that is burnt or sent to the landfill. Hence reduction in the production of greenhouse gasses. The natural cleaners ensure that no chemicals are flushed from households into the water bodies. Reusable cloth bags attempt to reduce the plastic bags in circulation that ultimately end up in our water bodies and landfills. Stonesoup also partners with organizations like Rotary Inner Wheel, Word Vision, Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT), Sewa International, and The Better India to increase reach.

Authors

CHETHAN D R

CHETHAN D R

Sumanth Nayak

Sumanth Nayak

sumukh k m

sumukh k m

Tony Sachin

Tony Sachin

School

Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering

Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering

Professor

Rahul Kargal

Rahul Kargal

Innovation

Out of all the products, the most innovative ones are explained here:

Product 1: "Menstrual cups" are designed by women who have been regularly using cups. Stonesoup is first in the world to manufacture a stemless cup. These cups have maximum capacity and compact in size. It is small, soft, and flexible, made of medical-grade silicone or latex rubber (medical grade silicone should be preferred, it is the same material used to manufacture milk bottles). The cup collects blood, unlike a tampon that absorbs it. The cup must be folded and inserted like a tampon without an applicator. The cup springs open inside to form a seal by creating a vacuum lock and prevents blood from leaking. To remove the cup, pinch the bottom to release the seal and pull it out gently. Noting that in other commercial cups, while removing out the conventional cups women in a hurry or unknowingly pull the stem which will be a great discomfort on the walls of the vagina due to the airlock mechanism.

Product 2: "Ladli pads" are reusable, eco-friendly, leak-proof, comfortable, and easy to maintain. It consists of Kora Cotton Inserts that are super-absorbents, free of bleach, fragrance, and dyes, easily available and replaceable and can be used multiple times during heavy flow days.

Product 3: "Stonesoup Petals - Mandya Pads" are soft, hypo-allergenic, washable cloth pads that can be used for period care. These cloth pads have broad wings to minimize pant stains, are leak-proof, and come in a variety of colorful patterns to make period-time a fun-time! These pads are made by trained women of Mandya district in Karnataka, without compromising with quality.

Product 4: "Dharwad Pads" are absorbent, hypo-allergenic, washable cloth pads for period care. They are foldable, compact to carry (can be folded to fit into a purse or a pocket), easy-to-maintain (can be hand-washed or machine-washed) and rash-free. These pads are made by trained women of Dharwad district in Karnataka, without compromising with quality.

Product 5: "Cloth Diapers" for infants are made out of viscous fibers from Natural Bamboo. It has an additional wet-free micro-fleece fabric that keeps the baby’s bottoms dry. These diapers have natural fibers enabling it to be a preferred solution for extreme skin sensitivity. These are stitched by a women-run, Self-Help-Group on the outskirts of Bengaluru, creating employment opportunities for rural women.

Product 6: "Community Composter - Aaditi" is a scalable aerobic composting system. Aaditi is designed in such a way that it doesn’t necessarily need male employees to lift, assemble, handle, or disassemble it to harvest the compost. It is a light-weight, easily collapsible, and shippable unit. That’s generally not the case with all composting innovations. Stonesoup designed Aaditi using galvanized iron mesh and lined it with a finer MS perforated sheet. Both layers were coated with epoxy paint to prevent rusting. These bins can also be used for vermicomposting if needed. Aaditi is available in 3 sizes (Small, Medium, and Large), with or without partitions. Partitions can be made as per the requirement.

Product 7: "The Chutki kit" is an Aerobic Composting Kit that converts the kitchen waste to compost. It can handle 7-10 days' kitchen waste generated by a family of two. The Chutki kit consists of a 16-liter plastic bin with 3 mm holes to facilitate aerobic composting and one medium-sized Compost Maker, Brick. Coir Pith Block infused with active microbes that help convert kitchen waste to manure. One 900 grams block can be used for a month in a Chutki bin. It enhances compost with coco peat which retains water naturally when added to plants and helps to keep them hydrated.

Product 8: "Natural Cleaners" Bio-enzyme is nothing but a natural concoction of citrus peels, jaggery, water, and yeast. A mixture of these natural ingredients fermented for a stipulated time yields an effective home cleaning solution that is not only eco-friendly but pocket friendly too. This amazing solution has proven to rejuvenate water bodies by neutralizing toxins present in the water. This is a multipurpose cleaner that can be used to clean floors, dishes, laundry and can be used to clean pets too. The benefit of using bio-enzyme is the post usage discharge will be completely natural and beneficial to the soil and water.

Product 9: "Bee's wax wrappers" are made with a cotton cloth that's coated with sustainably sourced beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. It is an easy, reusable, all-natural way to store food.


BECOME AN ECO-WARRIOR BY ADOPTING "SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE"

Inspiration

The founders are typical middle-class working women who discovered the connection between their waste and the ailments that were troubling their community. Given their experience in the corporate sector, they analyzed the issues and started working on reducing their and communities’ waste impact. Before they knew, they were part of the nationwide Garbage Sisterhood. At some point, they felt they have to step up from being an eco-warrior to an eco-entrepreneur to create products and solutions that can help people who want to make the change. They realized the cost-effectiveness of using menstrual cups, cloth pads, and cloth diapers in the long run. Additionally, the benefit of obtaining cleaner water resources by using a natural cleaner. Also, the benefits of reuse and reduction. Thus, Stonesoup got established and the team consists of 90% women employees. Stone Soup gets its name from an old folk story in which hungry travelers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys.

Overall impact

● Menstrual cups make periods 'trash free, cash-free and rash free'. Stonesoup menstrual hygiene products like the cups and the cloth pads have eliminated approximately 91 lakhs of sanitary pads, which would have otherwise stayed in landfills for 500 to 800 years. Stonesoup Wings is used by more than 4,000 women and is preventing usage of approximately 576,000 sanitary pads per year. Stonesoup has sold 4500 cups thereby diverting 81, 00,000 sanitary pads from the landfill. Stonesoup has a network of more than 55 men and women across the country, who work as their partners, creating employment for themselves by selling Stonesoup's products. More than 100 women have been engaged in stitching cloth pads in Dharwad, Dindigul, and Mandya. As part of the pan-India “Green the Red Campaign”, over the last 5 years, Stonesoup has been empowering every village and district to make their own cloth pads so that they will not be dependent on a centralized supply. Women make these cloth pads in their homes and get employment. “ATMA NIRBHARTA”, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, is what team Stonesoup is promoting. Bangalore Rotary District 3190 has gifted over 2,000 sets to 2,000 students and women from January 2020. This has saved over 720,000 single-use disposable sanitary pads from being purchased. These 2,000 women will not suffer the lack of proper sanitary pads for the next 3 years.

● Stonesoup has influenced more than 50,000 households and has sold kits and community composters which add up to saving more than 80 tons of wet waste from landfills per month.

● Stone Soup Gives Educational & Environmental Awareness talks at Events, Corporate offices, Schools, Colleges, Seminars, TED Talks & Institutions PAN India.

Evidence:

● 2019, Nov 30: REX Karmaveer Chakra award to Mrs. Smita Kulkarni

● 2019, Oct 29: UN SEED Finalist

● 2019, Nov 23: Flipkart Flipstar Award for the most trusted seller

● 2018, Mar 14: Namma Bengaluru Awards Nomination: Social Entrepreneur of the Year


Business benefit

  • Stonesoup is supported by its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organizations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, government bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises, and more.

The partners are mentioned below:

  • Rekke Personal Care has products and solutions for sustainable menstruation.
  • Aadithi Stonesoup Solutions has products in the space of segregation, composting, and natural cleaners.
  • Social Venture Partners Philanthropy supports Stonesoup with grant funding and capacity support.
  • Eco-brands like Bumberry for cloth diapers
  • Wild Ideas for chemical-free soaps and shampoos
  • Eco Femme and Soch for cloth pads
  • Hasiru Dala Innovations Private Limited for Waste Management
  • SwachaGeaha for Solid Waste Management

Stonesoup’s online channels include Amazon, Flipkart, Bigbasket, PinHealth, MedLife, Qtrove, Netmeds, 1mg, Hygiene & you, Shycart and NYKAA. For Nepal, Stonesoup has partnered with daraz.com.np and for the USA with Amazon.com.

Stonesoup’s “Saathi Network” – a chain of entrepreneurs spread across India help the product to reach the people. Bangalore alone has 44 Saathi’s, other parts of Karnataka have 3 (Hubli, Dharwad, Coorg), and the rest of India has 44. In total there are 91 Saathi’s working towards the common goal and objective of Sustainable living.

“Sustainable businesses are not the ones that make billion dollars and then donate those billions to charity. We believe in giving along the way, without fighting to be the cheapest in the market. The business is self-reliant and we are sustainable at this moment but six months down the line we are planning to have investors.” says Smita Kulkarni, co-founder – Stonesoup.


Social and environmental benefit

Stonesoup creates awareness among the people and provides options to reduce waste at the household level. Their products have taught society to cultivate the habit of sustainable living. With more period care products sold, the environment is free from menstrual waste. It also adds on to the savings of individuals in the long run. By using composting kits, the waste generated is better utilized and not dumped which adds to the landfill. The compost can be used to produce vegetables at home, which are fresh and pesticide-free and completely organic. The cloth bags are helping to reduce the usage of plastics and their designer bags becoming a trend among people. The cloth diapers are also adding on to save the environment from non-biodegradable diapers. The current trending facemask has become an essential commodity, which Stonesoup is trying to deliver and add to the community’s mask requirement during the pandemic. Homemade personal care products like body cleaners and soaps and household cleaners make sure that the drain water is free from harmful chemicals, which help sustain clean water resources. The bio enzymes in turn nourish marine life. Also, these cleaners keep our body free from harmful chemicals. Above all, the biggest benefit the society has received from this innovation is women’s employment. Stonesoup provides employment to hundreds of women entrepreneurs who can sell Stonesoup products, earning INR 30,000 to 40,000 per month. Stonesoup supports and initiates various campaigns like “Plastic Ban Movement”, “Green the Red campaign” and “Swachh Beedhi campaign”. Apart from all this, the co-founders and the team themselves conduct various donation and awareness programs so that people adopt sustainable living.

Interviews

SMITA KULKARNI, CO-FOUNDER

PADMA SUBRAMANIAN, Public Relation

Photo of interviewee

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STONESOUP

STONESOUP

Bangalore, Karnataka, IN

Business Website: https://stonesoup.in/

Year Founded: 2015

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Stonesoup is a company founded in the year 2015 in Bengaluru, Karnataka by visionary working women by working towards reducing the community’s waste impact. They stepped up from being an eco-warrior to an eco-entrepreneur to create products and solutions that can help people who want to make a change. Stonesoup products include face masks, menstrual cups, cloth pads, cloth diapers, composting kits, handmade personal care products, household cleaners, reusable bags, and home segregation kits.