June 2015 By Life Positive My heart breaks to see huge mountains of discarded plastic and thermocol plates and glasses every time I pass by a puja pandal or attend a family get together. The amount of non-recyclable trash produced on these occasions constitutes a significant percentage of the landfills. Ecoware products are easily biodegradable unlike their synthetically produced counterparts Either this plastic languishes for 5,000 years in landfills or leaks into the ocean and disrupts aquatic life. And if one takes into account the alternatives, then plates and bowls made of banyan and sal leaves, are environmentally friendly but not as efficient as their plastic counterparts. Here enters Rhea Singhal, the founder of Ecoware, a company credited with producing environmentally friendly disposable plates and glasses in India. A former marketing and sales professional in Pfizer, UK, she was disturbed by the poor waste management in the country, and decided to address it. After her return to Delhi, Rhea decided to produce biodegradable tableware which was as strong and efficient as its synthetic counterpart. Thus was born Ecoware. Rhea used plant biomass to create disposable ware which was efficient, strong, water-resistant as well as user-friendly. Her company uses bagasse, (fibrous remains of sugarcane or sorghum, after stalks have been crushed to extract their juice), to make a range of disposable dishes that are certified by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) as compostable. “We do not use any additives, binders, fillers like carcinogenic styrofoam to make our products. The tableware are 100 per cent biodegradable; which means that within 90 days, they’ll return to the soil they were born of,” she says. “The products are strong due to heat-induced pressing; the inter-fibre bonding makes them water and oil-resistant. Even the production is eco-friendly since it does not produce any chemical or pesticide residue, and only uses recycled water,” she adds enthusiastically. Started six years ago, Ecoware has worked with Haldiram’s outlets in Delhi and NCR, Cinnabon, Delhi Airport, and several schools across the country. Manufactured in Haridwar, the unit employs around 100 casual labourers. Happily, the products are easily available on Amazon and Snapdeal if you wish to procure them. Waste management has become an individual call, rather than being the government’s job alone. And the more citizens take responsibility for personal waste management, the cleaner our environment will be. www.ecoware.in
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