A green alternative

No matter how much we grumble against the pollution levels in the world, the scenario shall not change unless and until alternatives are developed and used. Realising the very notion, Ashwath Hegde, an entrepreneur from coastal Karnataka, has initiated a drive against plastic pollution.

Ashwath has developed ‘Envigreen’ bags, which are plastic-like bags but are actually made of biomaterials such as vegetable waste, natural starch, vegetable and flower oil, banana and other organic ingredients. These bags are 100% biodegradable, edible for animals, dissolve in hot water and burn without leaving behind toxic waste; and as handy as plastic. The texture is such that it resists oil and grease, dissipation and even corrosion.

Ashwath says that even the paint used on the bags is organic. The Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology has tested this product and affirmed that there is no presence of Polypropylene, Polyethylene, Polyvinyl chloride, Polystyrene, Polyethylene terephthalate or Polymethylmethacrylate. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has also certified the bags to be ‘starch’ material, and not plastic. The best part is that these bags are cost-effective.

Envigreen bags was incepted as an idea in 2012, and Ashwath established Envigreen Biotech in 2016. The bags are now used in nine countries of Asia, and shall soon be in use in 16 states of India. The two units currently manufacturing Envigreen bags are situated in Bengaluru’s Peenya, which produces bags to be distributed in urban areas; and Tumakuru, for supply in the rural areas. The current production statistics stand at 1,000 metric tonnes per month. That Envigreen bag decomposes within 60-180 days is a significant aspect at a time when the world is fighting against pollution. Environment-friendly, cost-effective and inspiring, these bags seem to be amongst the most promising innovations of the decade.

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