Eating Our Way to a Cleaner Planet

By Craig Lewis
Buddhistdoor Global | 2016-04-21 |
From backerclub.coFrom

What happened to the plastic utensils that were left over after your last takeout meal? If you’re like most of us, they ended up being thrown out with the rest of the garbage, another by-product of our unsustainable, “disposable” society.

In the US alone, 40 billion disposable plastic utensils are discarded every year after a single use, while in India the figure is 120 billion. Not only are they non-biodegradable for the most part, choking landfills or ending up in the ocean, the downsides to “disposable” cutlery extend to health risks as the low-cost plastics used to make such utensils contain carcinogenic chemicals that leach into food, particularly in the presence of heat, and are released into the environment after the plastics are dumped in landfills. Some pertinent facts: The plastics industry currently consumes as much oil as the aviation sector; the equivalent of a truckload of plastic waste is dumped into the oceans every minute; just 5 per cent of plastic packaging is recycled; consumption of plastics is expected to rise fourfold by 2050.

Entrepreneur Narayan Peesapaty whets his appetite. From Narayan Peesapaty Google+Entrepreneur Narayan Peesapaty whets his appetite. From Narayan Peesapaty Google+

Frustrated by the sight of mountains of plastic in India’s landfills, Narayan Peesapaty, the founder and managing director of Bakeys Food, has come up with a novel solution to this increasingly ubiquitous problem in the form of edible cutlery. Since its founding in 2010, Hyderabad-based Bakeys Food has produced more than 1.5 million edible spoons, in three varieties—plain, sweet, and spicy, to match your food, although the company’s website notes that custom flavors can be made with additional ingredients, such as onion, tomato, garlic, or ginger.

“[An unflavored spoon] tastes like a cracker, a dry cracker because we don’t put any fat in it. It can complement any food. The taste of the food gets into the spoon,” says Peesapaty, whose background is in agricultural and groundwater research. (The Guardian)

Made from rice, wheat, and sorghum (a form of millet), the spoons—the company plans to expand its range of utensils to forks and chopsticks—are vegan-friendly and don’t get soggy during use, even in hot food or soup, and can even be given to teething babies. And should your meal leave you too full to eat your cutlery, it can be safely discarded, decomposing in less than a week, compared with the hundreds of years typical for plastic waste.

“These edible cutlery are chemical free,” Peesapaty confirms. “There is no use of preservatives and [they] can last up to three years in an unused condition. However, you need to make sure they are stored in air-tight boxes or packed properly.” (Deccan Chronicle)

From techinsider.ioFrom

So far, says Peesapaty, the biggest hurdle to making the products more widely available is cost. He is currently able to sell his spoons for Rs2 (US$0.03) each, which, while cheaper than wood, is still twice as expensive as plastic. Pessapaty aims to lower this barrier by expanding production through crowd-sourced funding and by purchasing raw materials directly from farmers, and plans to set up distribution channels for overseas customers.

See more

Bakeys Edible Cutlery (Homepage)
Edible cutlery company wants us to eat our way out of plastic pollution (The Guardian)
Edible Spoons Are a Delicious Alternative to Plastic Cutlery (Citylab)
Hyderabad man invents edible cutlery (Deccan Chronicle)
Edible Cutlery (#innovation series 3) (YouTube)
Edible cutlery: Narayana Peesapaty at TEDxVITVellore (YouTube)
From oil use to ocean pollution: five facts about the plastics industry (The Guardian)
Do Plastic-eating Microbes Offer a Solution to Pollution? (Buddhistdoor Global)




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