Entrepreneur Ashwath Hegde, a Qatar-based NRI hailing from Mangalore, has come up with an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. And it’s so good he’s eaten it. Yes, Hegde’s bags are edible and will not cause harm to animals if ingested- so no more wincing every time you see goats, dogs, and cows munching on bags. The name of this much-needed creation is EnviGreen.
EnviGreen carrier bags, which look surprisingly like plastic bags, are made of materials like natural starch and vegetable oil derivatives. The bags are designed to dissolve in a glass of water at room temperature within a day, and boiling water within fifteen seconds. Even if these bags are chucked out on the street they will naturally degrade in less than 180 days.
Now at this point if you’re muttering, “this is too good to be true,” kick your inner pessimist in the gonads and read on. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) approved the use of EnviGreen bags after conducting various tests on the naturally made product. As stated by a member of Hegde’s team to the Times of India, “The bags have been boiled and burnt, and been tested for strength. All the organizations have given them a green signal.”
Speaking to The Better India, Hegde explained that the manufacturing process for EnviGreen bags is entirely different from that of plastic, cloth, or paper bags; “we don’t use any chemicals at all. Even the paint used for printing on the bags is natural and organic.” Hegde’s patented bags are made up of twelve ingredients, including potato, tapioca, corn, natural starch, vegetable oil, banana, and flower oil. Moreover, Hegde has developed the bag to be a reasonably priced, natural solution, “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.”
With a factory in Bengaluru, Hegde produces 1,000 metric tonnes of bags every month. He explained, “we had this unique idea of empowering farmers in rural Karnataka by sourcing all our raw materials from them. We are also planning to distribute seeds to help them produce the amount of materials required to make the bags.” EnviGreen bags are currently available in Qatar and Abu Dhabi, however, in India they are only available in Bengaluru’s big retails chains like Metro and Reliance. Nevertheless, he does have a larger market in mind, “just the city of Bangalore consumes over 30,000 metric tonnes of plastic bags every month. So we want to set up enough manufacturing facilities before we start distributing to individual customers and local kirana shop owners,” he said. So good job Mr. Hegde, we see a lot of good karma and patent money coming your way.
Click here to read the complete report about EnviGreen bags by The Better India