Plastic bags you can Eat

A WAY OUT OF LAND POLLUTION

Just in case you go to visit someone and you are offered a plate of 'nylon' (polythene bag) and glass of freshly squeezed cold juice as a first course meal, don’t fret, it is totally okay at least since India’s EnviGreen has pushed for 100% biodegradable, edible alternatives to plastic (after 4 years of research). This was a smart panacea to the national issue (in India) of environmental hazards caused by waste accumulated from just plastic bags; these eco-friendly bags are made out of potato and tapioca and can become animal food on disposal. Great idea you said? I think so too.

Ashwath Hegde,Founder of EnviGreen

Ashwath Hegde,Founder of EnviGreen

This innovation was born out of the fact that plastic bags were ban in India and not a lot of people could afford cloth bags.

“The Mangalore City Corporation implemented a ban on the manufacture, sale, and distribution of plastic bags in the year 2012. But the decision was taken without preparations for alternatives. People were concerned about how they would carry products from the market now. Everyone cannot afford a bag worth Rs. 5 or Rs. 15 to carry a kilogram of sugar. I decided to come up with alternatives after hearing about these problems in my hometown,” says the 25-year-old, Ashwath Hegde.

Raw seeds before they become bags

Raw seeds before they become bags

Are the bags completely edible, you ask? Yes! They look like plastic bags but are made of materials like natural starch and vegetable oil derivatives. If placed in a glass of water at normal temperature, an EnviGreen bag dissolves in a day. And when placed in a glass of boiling water, it dissolved in just 15 seconds! These bags take less than 180 days to biodegrade naturally once discarded. So users can throw them away without worrying about harming the environment. The bags are even edible and will cause no harm to animals if ingested. “We don’t use any chemicals at all. Even the paint used for printing on the bags is natural and organic,” says Ashwath. He adds that the cost of one EnviGreen bag is about 35% more than that of a plastic bag, but 500% less than that of a cloth bag. “To give you a rough idea, an EnviGreen bag measuring 13 inches by 16 inches costs Rs. 3, while a plastic bag with the same dimensions will cost Rs. 2”.

The Edible bags

The Edible bags

Now, having talked about the above product innovation; I’d like to bring it home and say that Nigeria has terrible a terrible waste management system which leads to land pollution and degradation; it is no new knowledge that our land is greatly polluted and oh does the government even care, that it is hard and unhealthy to live under such circumstances; sicknesses and deaths are recorded as an aftermath from respiratory problems, skin issues and cancers all traced back to land pollution.

Sorry state of an affected street with waste 

Sorry state of an affected street with waste 

To create a healthy and safe living and working environments, some materials should be banned from production like tin, plastic and rubber (you can indicate other harmful materials below) either that or an Eco-friendly alternative should be developed in that stead; like the eco friendly nylons. Thing is if this is done the government also gets to benefit as money often allotted in the budget for sicknesses related to this issue can be otherwise spent on further national debelopment schemes.