fbpx

Bengaluru Trio Turns Agro-Waste Into Sustainable Plates, Bowls & Trays; Helps Farmers Earn Extra

Follow Us On

Ask any Delhite about winter in the city, the person would surely voice serious concerns about air pollution being at its worst during the cold months. In addition to the regular emission from vehicles and surrounding industries, the capital city hosts another unwelcome airborne menace. The air is greyed with the smoke emanating from stubble burning in the neighbouring states Punjab and Haryana. Despite imposing various restrictions on stubble burning, the problem still continues as farmers fail to find any other feasible solution to get rid of the agricultural waste.

However, a startup in Bengaluru seems to have found the most functional solution to this problem. Bio-Lutions manufacture sustainable, eco-friendly and all-purpose tableware and food packaging from the huge mounds of agro-waste generated annually. Though based in Karnataka at present, the company aims to establish their market in North India as well to eliminate the perilous practice of large-scale stubble burning there.

Most needed in India

Bio-Lutions is a German firm who produce affordable, eco-friendly alternatives of daily-use items. They have partnered with Kurian Mathew, Kurian George and George Thomas in India to launch their Indian initiative of turning stubble into tableware.

Talking to Efforts For Good, Kurien Mathew shares how the unique innovation came along. “I met with Bio-Lutions founder Eduardo at a project in China. It caught our attention there that how much plastic packaging goes into waste every single day. Both of our concerns were similar, so our objectives matched – we wanted to produce an eco-friendly packaging alternative which would be as sturdy, resilient and convenient as the plastic ones,” he recalls.

Both Eduardo and Mathew were architects-turned-product designers, and they zeroed in on agricultural waste as their raw material for the eco-friendly packaging. When a German research institute successfully created a prototype of the product, Eduardo proposed Mathew to launch a production unit of the same in India – the country which generates one of the highest amounts of agricultural as well as non-biodegradable plastic waste. They just had to join the two aspects together.

Win-win for both the farmers & the startup

“With our personal savings, we opened a small pilot production unit in Bengaluru back in 2016. Production was really limited then, so was the popularity of our product. We continued testing various crop wastes as our raw material – paddy and wheat straws, banana stems, sugarcane leaves and fibres, tomato plants etc. Now, a majority of our wares are made from banana stems, pineapple and tomato leaves, sugarcane fibres and water hyacinth,” shares Mathew.

Last year, the firm upscaled to a bigger production unit in Ramnagara, Karnataka. Presently, they source all their materials from the local farmers in Mandya, with the help of the rural NGO Vikasana.

Mathew reveals, “It is a win-win situation for both the farmers and us. They are quite happy to earn some extra by selling their agricultural residue, which otherwise they would have burnt or left here and there. At the same time, we are getting our raw materials in bulk.”

Why opt for ‘stubble-ware’?

So how exactly is Bio-Lutions tableware better than other paper or wood products marketed as eco-friendly alternatives to plastic? Mathew has the perfect answer, “To be honest, paper or wood products are not exactly sustainable, as they are coming after cutting down the trees. Whereas, we are using something which is already discarded. These stubble-based tablewares decomposes faster than other biodegradable variants. Additionally, our products are free of chemicals.”

Bio-Lutions ensure cross-country supply of the finished products. They have established a widespread commercial network by teaming up with retail chains and supermarkets. Initially, the consumers were not so convinced due to the natural brownish appearance of the products, as compared to their immaculate white plates and cutlery. However, with time, the conscious consumers have become pretty thrilled to get their food packaged in boxes or trays that won’t end up in landfills.

Bio-Lutions have also started designing kidney trays for hospitals as a substitute for the stainless steel ones, which require repeated sterilisation. Thus opting for single-use, stubble-borne kidney trays reduces the biomedical expenses of any hospital or clinic.

Efforts For Good take

While India continues to struggle with its enormous burden of agricultural waste, Bio-Lutions has probably figured out the most compatible and relevant solution. It is only a matter of time before they expand to other parts of India and implement their know-how to upcycle farming waste. Efforts For Good urges all consumers to refrain from using single-use plastic containers, packages and cutlery and opt for their sustainable counterparts instead.

Also Read: TN Student Duo Make ‘Herbal’ Sanitary Napkins From Edible Kenaf Plant, Whose Fiber Is Thrown Away

Love this story? Want to share a positive story?
Write to us: [email protected]
Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

94,06,607 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

Follow Us On

With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

94,06,607 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
Next Click right arrow to read the next story Previous