Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis

Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis

Typically, leaves degrade within a few days making these a poor alternative to plastics but Banana Leaf Technology, invented by 20-year-old from Tamil Nadu, can make it last longer
Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste CrisisSay goodbye to single-use plastic with Banana Leaf Technology invented by a 20-year-old scientist from Tamil Nadu that makes banana leaves stronger, last longer for upto 3 years and reusable for multiple purpose everyday use

New Delhi: With rising global concern over the increasing plastic waste and the harm being caused by it to the environment, governments around the world have started banning single-use plastic and thereby pushing the need to identify eco-friendly alternatives. In a bid to provide an eco-friendly and zero-waste alternative to single-use plastic, 20-year-old Tenith Adithyaa, a scientist from a remote village of Watrap, Virudhunagar District, Tamil Nadu has invented ‘Banana Leaf Technology’. This technology enhances the physical properties of banana leaves which can help in using it to replace plastic and paper and can last up to three years. Not only can this help in tackling the plastic crisis and saving trees from being cut for paper making, it can also become fodder for the cattle at the end of its use instead of becoming a burden on the landfill. The banana leaf technology can also help farmers gain additional income as the commercial use of banana leaves increases.

Also Read: Say No To Plastics: Government Looks To Junk Plastic Water Bottles

Social Empathy At The Age Of 10 Got Tenith On The Path Of Inventing The Banana Leaf Technology

While talking to NDTV about his journey, Tenith said that it all started at the age of 10, when he got to know that farmers in his village throw away large chunk of banana leaves and only a fraction is utilised for domestic use. On observing that most farmers in his village were poor and were looking for methods to increase their income, he felt that banana leaves which are discarded in large numbers everyday, can be put to some commercial use which can add to the farmer’s income.

So when most children of his age were still learning basic mathematics and science, Tenith was already spending after-school hours experimenting with various ways in which banana leaves could be made more valuable. Soon he realised that along with raising farmers’ income, it can be used to tackle two major environmental problems of the world – single-use plastic and the resulting waste crisis.

At the age of 18, he became the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of his startup, Tenith Innovations Private Limited, has received many national and international accolades for the ‘Banana Leaf Technology’. He said,

We are habitual of using plastic plates, straws, cup, polythene and packaging and their paper alternatives that are used only once and create a lot of waste, so I came up with an idea to replace these with banana leaves. The technology preserves banana leaves for over three years without the use of any chemicals. It also increases its durability. Preserved leaves can resist extreme temperatures and hold more weight than the original ones. The manufacturing cost of these plates and cups is very low and they can also be used as manure or fodder at the end.

Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis
Being completely organic and chemical-free, banana leaves processed using Tenith’s technology, can be used as animal food

Owing to economical, innovative and environmental impact of this technology, Banana Leaf Technology’s innovation has received over seven international awards and two national awards including the prestigious International Environmental Awards, International Green Technology Award, and the Technology for the Future Award, among others.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu Gets Its First Smart Dustbin To Tackle Plastic Waste, 500 More To Follow

How Does the Banana Leaf Technology Works?

According to Tenith, Banana Leaf Technology is a cellular eco-friendly technology. It uses a combination of processes for natural preservation. He said,

In this technology, the cells in living organisms are made to stop in such a way that its metabolism is stopped and this enables the organism to stop ageing. Metabolism includes the activities of the cells in order to maintain life like respiration, movements, growth among others. These processed leaves are 100 per cent biodegradable, healthy, human-friendly, completely eco-friendly and are a viable replacement for disposables.

He explained that typically, leaves and biomaterials degrade within a few days after which it gets extremely dry and can be easily crushed into crumbs. This makes leaves a poor alternative to plastics and paper.

Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis
In normal conditions, banana leaves dry up within three days

Banana Leaf Technology aims to address this problem by enhancing the physical properties of leaves to make them last longer and in a more eco-friendly way. He said,

Initially, the research was more about how can we increase the lifespan of the leaves so that we can give the farmers a way to utilize this part of the plant. Once I started researching towards this, after some trials and errors, I came up with a technology I was able to expand the lifespan of the leave and in addition to this, I was also able to increase the properties of the leave to a certain extent. The banana leaf technology is able to transfer the leaf into a material that can replace plastic and paper.

Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis
Banana leaf processed using banana leaf technology, after one year
Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis
Processed banana leaf after three years

He further said that this technology creates materials that can be used to make products suitable for any application like an ice-cream cone, envelope, gift wrap, plates, spoons, cups among others.

Replacing Single-Use Plastic, One Leaf At A Time: This 20-Year-Old’s Invention Can Help Tackle The Rising Plastic Waste Crisis
A range of items can be produced from banana leaves which can replace plastic and paper

Also Read: The Top Priority Of All States Should Be To Eliminate Single-Use Plastic By 2022, Says Environment Secretary

It’s A 100 Per Cent Biodegradable And Low-Cost Alternative To Single-Use Plastic, Says Tenith

Tenith asserted that the cost of producing material and making alternate products from banana leaf technology is very cheap. He said,

For manufacturing a straw from banana leaves using banana leaf technology, the cost is only 10 paise per straw while the manufacturing cost of a plastic straw is 70 paise. Similarly, manufacturing a plate from banana leaf will cost around Rs. 1 while manufacturing of a plastic plate costs Rs. 4. In the international market, there is even a bigger a difference as the plastic straw costs around $2 and a plastic plate costs around $4.

While Tenith Innovations Private Limited has patented banana leaf technology, it is not producing mass products for sale. According to Tenith,

We are technology developers. So we produce the prototypes and provide licenses to the manufacturers. There are three companies around the world that are using our technology- one from USA, one from Thailand, and one from Canada. We are currently in discussions with a few companies in India as well but nothing has been decided yet.

According to Priti Mahesh, experts on plastic waste at Toxic Links, a Delhi based non-governmental organisation working towards environmental issues, if the technology invented by Tenith can be scaled up for mass market, it could potentially put a dent in the entire plastic waste problem while saving life on land and water. She said,

In South India, banana leaves carry a traditional significance and is also used as plates by many but after one use, it is discarded. Tenith’s technology can be very useful in enhancing the use and value of the leaves. If the leaf can be used for a long time and for multiple purposes, it will definitely reduce the use of plastic and paper and is definitely good for the environment in the longer run.

However, Ms. Mahesh pointed out a challenge that banana leaves are not easily available in North India and so if this technology is used commercially in the northern parts of the country, it will become costlier and may not attract manufacturers and users. She also expressed concern over the bulk procurement of leaves from the trees which may cause harm to the tree.

Tenith clarified that banana trees produce and shed leaves in large quantities that can easily cater to the market demands and so there is no loss to natural life. He highlighted that if used as a replacement for disposables, banana leaves can prevent the destruction of billions of trees caused due to the large scale use of paper, cardboard and plastic.

Also Read: Indian Oil Corporation Close To Plastics-To-Oil Tech Breakthrough

World

19,59,54,660Cases
6,30,45,359Active
12,87,22,004Recovered
41,87,297Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,59,54,660 and 41,87,297 have died; 6,30,45,359 are active cases and 12,87,22,004 have recovered as on July 29, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,15,28,114 43,509Cases
4,03,840 4,404Active
3,07,01,612 38,465Recovered
4,22,662 640Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,28,114 confirmed cases including 4,22,662 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,03,840 and 3,07,01,612 have recovered as on July 29, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

62,82,914 6,857

85,913 466

60,64,856 6,105

1,32,145 286

Kerala

33,27,301 22,056

1,50,040 4,164

31,60,804 17,761

16,457 131

Karnataka

28,99,195 1,531

22,592 82

28,40,147 1,430

36,456 19

Tamil Nadu

25,53,805 1,756

21,521 667

24,98,289 2,394

33,995 29

Andhra Pradesh

19,59,942 2,010

20,999 34

19,25,631 1,956

13,312 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,313 87

768 30

16,84,790 116

22,755 1

West Bengal

15,25,773 815

11,370 10

14,96,294 811

18,109 14

Delhi

14,36,093 67

573 3

14,10,471 61

25,049 3

Chhattisgarh

10,01,651 164

2,226 164

9,85,905 327

13,520 1

Odisha

9,72,517 1,703

15,765 65

9,51,049 1,699

5,703 69

Rajasthan

9,53,605 30

268 10

9,44,384 40

8,953

Gujarat

8,24,802 28

274 11

8,14,452 39

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,778 11

130 8

7,81,135 18

10,513 1

Haryana

7,69,828 32

702 1

7,59,499 28

9,627 3

Bihar

7,24,673 76

480 4

7,14,554 80

9,639

Telangana

6,43,093 657

9,314 77

6,29,986 578

3,793 2

Punjab

5,98,947 65

559 24

5,82,102 84

16,286 5

Assam

5,62,731 1,276

14,499 536

5,43,031 1,791

5,201 21

Jharkhand

3,47,049 27

237 10

3,41,686 36

5,126 1

Uttarakhand

3,41,934 60

672 13

3,33,901 47

7,361

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,026 160

1,139 15

3,15,511 144

4,376 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,499 116

953 30

2,01,026 84

3,520 2

Goa

1,70,810 81

1,082 48

1,66,586 127

3,142 2

Puducherry

1,20,627 97

923 0

1,17,912 96

1,792 1

Manipur

95,824 1,003

10,922 120

83,392 871

1,510 12

Tripura

77,788 376

3,861 107

73,177 267

750 2

Meghalaya

63,014 541

5,456 124

56,510 409

1,048 8

Chandigarh

61,943 5

36 1

61,098 6

809

Arunachal Pradesh

47,142 342

4,301 14

42,617 325

224 3

Mizoram

36,407 1,110

11,610 686

24,657 424

140

Nagaland

27,586 114

1,350 34

25,684 78

552 2

Sikkim

25,856 240

3,117 42

22,406 198

333

Ladakh

20,320 6

64 6

20,049 12

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,642 3

41 3

10,597 6

4

Lakshadweep

10,155 6

76 6

10,029 11

50 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,531 1

7 5

7,395 6

129

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1 Comment

  1. Literally this will became like plastics with the high durability 🙂

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