Biodegradable disposable tableware is the way forward not only to minimise plastic waste but also for better health, says Rhea Singhal
Plastics are used increasingly for packaging food items, whether it is for drinking water, milk products, ready-to-eat items and so on. The use of disposable plastic tableware is ubiquitous — plates and glasses can be seen strawn all over the country.
Most of this tableware is manufactured from non-food grade plastics with a film of harmful chemicals used as lubricants or mold release agents. These chemicals are quite toxic and often cariogenic. The problem is further aggravated when these items are disposed as municipal waste, which remains unsegregated.
These plastics are not biodegradable and they end up either in landfills or get burnt with other wastes giving rise to deadly dioxins and other toxic fumes that cause cancer, respiratory ailments, cardiovascular diseases, and so on. The harmful effects of Bisphenol, a common component of plastic packaging, are well documented as leading to infertility, cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Biomass-based disposable tableware has emerged as a significant game changer that not only overcomes all the problems caused by plastics but also helps in solving another major problem. Biomass residue after harvesting is burnt in the fields by farmers and this causes severe deterioration in air quality in Northern India leading to respiratory problems especially for the young and infants.
This waste biomass, instead of being burnt is now used for making disposable tableware that is sustainable, biodegradable and fully compostable. It is not only stronger but also looks better than the plastic tableware thus finding increasing acceptance amongst the environmentally conscious populace.
This range of products was first manufactured in India in 2009 and remains the safest choice for us and our environment because they are 100 per cent natural and once it comes in contact with soil, it fully composts in a short time period. Additional benefits include:
- No wastage segregation is required
- Sustain a temperature range from -20 to 180 degrees Celsius so they can safely be used in the freezer, fridge, microwave or oven.
- Contain no plastic lining or chemicals.
- Can be moulded into required shape for take-aways, packaging, serving and so on.
India’s demographics and the increased mobility is bringing about rapid changes not only in the food habits but also in the personal endeavour to be green and conscious of the environment. The young are becoming more aware and educated and are realising their responsibility to make better choices that will lead to lower pollutions and better health. After all, change is a journey that has to start somewhere. Replacing plastics with biomass-based products is one step in that direction.
(The author is the founder and CEO of Ecoware)