By Eve Tawfick
When you think about lunch, a biodegradable carrier bag is most likely the last thing on your list. It’s hardly appetising. However, eco company Avani has created a biodegradable alternative to the most used item on the globe (over 1 trillion per year), and it’s so safe you can digest it.
Avani was established in 2014 in Bali, where tons of plastic pollute rivers and beaches. However, the innovation of it’s founders noticed that clearing the plastic wasn’t the only change needed to successfully eradicate plastic pollution. They sought to invent something that was preventative, reducing overall plastic consumption before the issue mounted once more.
‘Avani has successfully embarked on its mission to replace disposable plastic products which take hundreds and even thousands of years to be decomposed by Mother nature by using renewable resources made from plants.’-avanieco.com
Bags are not the only products available on the site; there is a range of plates, cups, trays and cutlery that are all made from polylactic acid (PLA)- which is science speak for cornstarch. This helps further decrease usage of everyday disposable plastic products that are popular in vendors, shopping centers and restaurants. These products are durable and compostable. A lot of them have the slogan ‘I AM NOT PLASTIC’, a simple, yet effective marketing strategy.
The ‘Bio-Cassova’ bag is made from ‘a biodegradable alternative to petroleum based plastic’ which is a material derived from a tropical plant the cassava, there is video footage of people drinking and eating it. It is essential to reduce petroleum exposure for human beings and animals.
‘Whether specific petroleum products can cause cancer in humans is not known; however, there is evidence that occupationally exposed people in the petroleum refining industry have an increased risk of skin cancer and leukemia’
So not only does the bag reduce waste pollution, it also protects those who work in the industry from potential carcinogens.
To date, the company is based in India and Indonesia, but hopefully in the near future this can become a global product- as pollution is a global problem. Currently the price of the cassava bag is double that of it’s plastic cousin which is reducing the market in South-East Asia. There is little government funding for plastic reduction projects at the present time. With average earnings in Indonesia at 183USD per month, in comparison with 2840USD in the UK, it comes at little surprise that citizens do not want to part with their income. If there was a way to produce and sell the cassava bag at a lower overall cost, then the popularity would undoubtedly rise.
Check out their Instagram: @avanieco