These Edible Bags Are Helping Stop Plastic Waste In India
Startup EnviGreen has created biodegradeable and environmentally friendly substitute for disposable packaging
Excessive use of plastic bags and their unregulated disposal in India has resulted in overrun lakes, ponds and urban sewage systems throughout the country. Indian startup EnviGreen is hoping to provide a solution to the growing plastic problem with a 100 percent, biodegradable and eco-friendly bag that are safe to eat. Made from a combination of natural starch and vegetable oils, the edible bags look, feel and function like plastic without any of the harmful consequences.
EnviGreen founder Ashwath Hedge started looking into plastic waste after seeing people in India without an alternative to plastic bags which have been banned in a number of cities across the country. After experimenting for over four years, Hedge discovered a combination of 12 ingredients that when paired together function and feel like plastic. The completely natural ingredients—potato, tapioca, corn, natural starch, vegetable oil, banana and flower oil—are converted to liquid form and then processed in six stages to create the bags.
Costing approximately 35 percent more than a traditional plastic bag, EnviGreen bags benefits really come at the back end rather than in upfront costs. Once discarded, the bags take less than 180 days to biodegrade. If placed in room temperature water the bags dissolve in less than a day, and in boiling water, the time reduces to 15 seconds. The bags are not only safer for the environment once discarded they also pose no risk to animals that might ingest them.
In addition to helping protect the environment EnviGreen is having an indirect positive impact on local farming given that the ingredients involved are sourced from local farmers. Hopefully EnviGreen will be able to grow in size to one day make a dent in the 15,000 tons of plastic waste that are generated in India every day.