New Delhi: “Until 2014, I was a banker in Karnataka and handled part of SME (small-to-medium enterprises) export at Citibank as a vice president. The clients of Citi SME segment are typically self-made entrepreneurs who have worked hard to become successful business persons and exporters. They were my inspiration to build a brand of indigenous products. Then there was the omnipresence of plastic and glaring statistics associated with hazardous plastic that used to push me to bring a change”, says Roli Bhat, who combined her motivation and irritation to produce eco-friendly alternative to plastic.
On a lookout for an answer to her problem, Roli reached out to her husband, T Harsh, who then informed her about eco-friendly alternatives to disposable plastic being used in some of the local restaurants and how states like Sikkim are banning single-use plastic.
Considering the reckless use of single-use plastic, to take on the menace of plastic waste the duo thought there was some potential in this sector and decided to step into ‘anti-plastic’ industry.
From interacting with both consumers and producers to understand their reason behind opting for single-use plastic to doing extensive market research to studying viability of current alternatives to plastic, it was a learning period of good three to four months. After this we realised that the way eco-friendly products were produced was unhygienic, recalls Roli Bhat.
The research came not only as a reality check, but also gave birth to Adaaya Farm, small farm, providing a hygienic, eco-friendly solution that is palm leaf tableware and cutlery.
Making Of Eco-Friendly Tableware And Cutlery
Palm trees are available in abundance in Deccan side and every year, each tree sheds eight leaves. We have a chain of 300 farmers who collect those leaves for us and bring it to our factory in Bhadravati. We condition the leaf with water and mould it into different shapes with heat. We don’t use any kind of chemical or adhesive. Property of leaves are not changed in anyway, says Roli Bhat, co-founder at Adaaya Farm.
This way Adaaya Farm produces 30-35 different kinds of products ranging from plates, trays, soup bowls to cutlery, sausage trays, and pasta bowl. All products are available in different shapes and sizes. The products produced by Adaaya Farm are completely biodegradable.
Perks Of Palm Leaf Tableware And Cutlery
Once used, products from Addaya can either be composted or simply thrown into the soil or given to cattle.
Throw a leaf on the ground and it will decompose in a couple of weeks; same is the case with our biodegradable products. At the production stage, when we are cutting out plates from leaves, we give leftovers to farmers to either compost or feed their cattle, says Roli.
Along with being compostable, products are quite sturdy which is evident with them being microwave friendly. Areca bowls hold liquid like soup with ease for half an hour. After half an hour, a bowl will start absorbing the content, change its form, but won’t leak, confirms Roli.
Some of our clients even bake in our plates and they claim that nothing happens to plate while baking, says Roli.
The price of the product ranges from Rs. 3 per piece to Rs. 12 per piece. For most of the products, the minimum order quantity is 25. Today, the products are available on Adaaya Farm’s website and E-commerce website like Amazon. The products are delivered across India.
Taking Adaaya Farm Ahead
With the plastic ban in effect in the state and people becoming conscious about their plastic use, the demand for eco-friendly products has gained momentum in the state claims the duo. The waste warriors plan to continue their green efforts towards eliminating plastic.
Plastic is literally present everywhere. One food order brings a whole lot of plastic with it. Not just food delivery, at various local food outlets, you are served in single-use plastic plates and bowls. I as an individual can refuse it, but what about others? We had to replace it. We can’t match the production of plastic, but we can substitute a percentage of single-use plastic tableware and cutlery. Ours is an effort towards it, signs off Roli Bhat.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.