Why Stick to Plastic?

Niyati Shah, founder of Grow Bags, has come up with an innovation that can replace plastic pots.

On the last day of BMC's exhibition, which is designed to inform visitors about alternatives to plastic bags, we give you a sneak-peak at the items on display.
The three-day exhibition espouses a sustainable approach to tackle the plastic ban, which came into effect on June 23 all over Maharashtra. Around 60 stalls are put up inside the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) at Worli by various organisations and start-ups. Here are some of the unique ones.

Tough on Styrofoam
This stall, set up by PAPPCO Greenware, an organization that makes100% recyclable plant-based raw materials, offers non-toxic food packaging options. Their aim is to eliminate the use of Styrofoam. "We sell biodegradable disposable greenware made of sugarcane bagasse, wood, pinewood and paper. If you put them in mud, they will turn into compost for your plant," explains Anupama, a representative of Pappco.

From bottle shards to plant bags
Niyati Shah, founder of Grow Bags, has come up with an innovation that can replace plastic pots. "Using recycled pet bottles, we created a fabric which is a perfect replacement for gardening pots. The fabric is porous and allows the water to flow out. It also allows the plant to breathe, facilitating aeration from all sides. Besides, it has a five-year shelf life," says Niyati.


Have your spoon and eat it too
Deviraj Giri distributes edible spoons sold under his brand, Living Essentials. The spoons can be eaten after a meal and come in a variety of flavours. He explains, "The spoons are made up of multigrain, such as soya, wheat, maize, raagi and chana dal. They are also available in different flavours like chocolate, black pepper, mint, ajwain, spinach and beetroot. Price ranges from Rs. 1 to Rs. 8."

Bagging It
Manish Kelshekhar’s stall offers trendy bags made of the material used in umbrellas. The bag can carry up to 25 kgs, lasts for 3-5 years and can prevent the use of almost 1000 polythene bags. "We manufacture this in Tihar jail, where inmates stitch these bags. Currently we do almost a million pieces. We sold 10,000 bags yesterday. The standard price range is Rs. 99," says Manish.

Banana straws
There is yet another stall offering unique, biodegradable straws as they are made from bananas. "When plastic straws were going to get banned, people were talking about paper as a replacement. But paper is not sustainable; we have to cut down trees for it. That's when I tested the banana leaf straw at home and it worked really well. The price is one rupee and we supply in packs of hundred," says Arpita Kalanuria, creator of the straw.

House of flowers
This stall is ideal for those who have Lord Ganesh visiting their home. Amruta Choudhury and her family make biodegradable, decorative mandirs (temple) ahead of the Ganeshotsav festival. The intention is to eliminate the use of temporary thermocol temples. "These biodegradable temples won't cause pollution since everything is made out of flowers or palm leaves. They are priced at Rs. 4000 depending upon the size of the temple," says Amruta

Bleed green
She Cup is a reusable alternative to sanitary napkins and tampons. The silicone cup collects blood and can be drained and reused. Manish Malani, founder of She Cup says, "We want to lessen garbage. A lady disposes 10,000 to 12,000 pads in her lifetime. This will amount to a big landfill, because for a pad to dispose it may take 500 to 800 years. However, if she uses a menstrual cup, she will end up disposing no garbage."
Well Mumbaikars, with so many alternatives available, we must make an effort to give up plastics for good.

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