New Delhi: Today there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. To give you an idea, it is an amount that is equal to the area of Argentina. Yes, that’s right! Even the Arctic oceans have not been able to escape the unending tide of plastic pollution. According to a new report from Norwegian researchers, it has been found that there are traces of plastic everywhere in the Arctic Ocean. The problem of plastic pollution is so huge that it is taking life of nearly 1 million birds, and 100,000 whales, sharks, seals, dolphins and turtles every single year.
The country we live in produces around 15,342.6 tonnes of plastic waste per day. Currently, India is the 7th largest plastics manufacturing base in the world, with over 150 countries importing plastics from India. By 2020, India is expected to become the third largest plastic consumer in the world and so there will be a lot of plastic waste in circulation.
So, the best thing we can do to change this reality is try to keep as much plastic as possible out of the waste stream in the first place. By simply using less plastic items in our daily life, we can help keep marine life alive and beat plastic pollution. Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to help you make this green switch.
1. Cutlery Made From Sugarcane That Can Decompose Within 80-90 Days
Visfortec Private Limited, was started in 2011 by Samanvi Bhograj in Bengaluru. It aims to erase plastic cutlery demand from the market by providing alternative solutions to the conventional plastic tableware products across India. Today, from food containers and tableware like plates, bowls, meal trays and cups, Visfortec Private Limited is making every possible cutlery in all the possible shapes and size. The cups and bowls are available for 95 paise and above, plates range from Rs. 2-Rs. 7 each. While, meal boxes cost around Rs. 14 and the containers vary from Rs. 8 to Rs. 18.
From where to buy: One can buy the products online from the company’s official site
2. Edible Cutlery That’s Made From A Mix Of Jowar, Rice And Wheat Flour
Narayana Peesapati, the founder and Managing Director of Bakey’s Food Private Limited in 2010 introduced edible cutlery that is made from a mix of jowar (sorghum), rice and wheat flour. The products contain no chemicals, preservatives, fat, plasticizes, emulsifiers, artificial colour or milk. In fact these contain nothing that is not a plant product (except salt, which is added for taste).
Currently, Bakey’s manufactures edible spoons in different shapes and chopsticks at a cost of Rs 300 (pack of 100). If you are wondering, if the spoons and chopsticks get soggy if placed in water or food? The answer is, they only soften after some time (10-15 minutes), and thus you can eat with them easily. If you opt to discard it after eating rather than consuming it, then they decompose within five to six days.
From where to buy: Go to their official site and go green
3. Cutlery That Biodegrades Itself Into Manure
Alarmed by the dangers of plastic, Uttar Pradesh-based Ved Krishna came up CHUK, an organisation that is today providing a solution to the ever growing pile of plastic in the form of edible cutlery, that is made out of sugarcane waste which decomposes itself into manure a few months after its disposal.
The tableware range includes plastic plates, bowls, containers and lids that cost anything between Rs. 1 to Rs. 7. The cutlery is in the natural brown color of pulp instead of traditional white colour because the organisation has avoided using bleach which is a harmful chemical. One can easily use it in a microwave or freeze it when necessary.
From where to buy: One can contact the organisation for placing the order or can email them
4. Good For Earth Cutlery Made By Recycled Agriculture Waste
With an aim to make cutlery from plant and not plastic, in 2011, Pappco Greenware started from Mumbai. Today it offers plates, glasses and packaging boxes made from agricultural waste like sugarcane bagasse and bamboo fibres that can decompose within 3 months.
The items are mainly sold through prominent retail stores such as Star Bazaar, Reliance, and Nature’s Basket all over India, and through restaurant chains. The items cost Rs 4 to Rs 8 a piece
for a plate; Rs 2.50 per piece for bowls; Rs 2 per piece for spoons and fork.
5. Disposable Tableware Made Of Up-Cycled Agricultural Excess
Bio-Lutions, a Germany-based company, with its Indian partners uses a unique, first-of-its-kind technology that turns almost any agricultural excess that has fibre into packaging and disposable tableware. With just two ingredients – agricultural excess and water, the company is making eco-friendly tableware that can decompose itself without polluting the planet.
For now, the company has tied up with retail store Big Basket for packaging of their products and soon will be tying up with other suppliers.