NIIST develops alternative to single-use plastic

Technology to manufacture biodegradable tableware from agricultural residues and byproducts

The CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) here has come up with an alternative to single-use plastics.

NIIST scientists have developed a technology for manufacturing biodegradable tableware – including plates, cutleries and cups – from agricultural residues and byproducts. The know-how was licensed to Marikar Green Earth Pvt Ltd last week.

A huge amount of agricultural residues/by-products are released into the environment from food processing sectors. The utilisation of these wastes as an alternative to single-use plastics provides immense opportunities, according to NIIST.

Primary agricultural residues are generated as a byproduct during the harvesting of agricultural crops while secondary agricultural residues are the leftovers from post-harvest processing. According to the NIIST, the biodegradable tableware developed from them has a shelf-life of upto six months and heat resistance up to 100 degree celsius. The developed product is found to be ideal for replacing the single-use plastics, according to NIIST.

Citing Central Pollution Control Board statistics, NIIST scientists pointed out that India generates around 27,000 tonnes of plastic waste per day. The country produced around 400 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2018-2019 alone.

“’The shocking fact is that only nine per cent of all the plastics ever produced was recycled and around 60 % of the plastics have been disposed of into the natural environment or landfills which poses serious health and environmental hazards. With recent ban imposed by various States of India for single-use plastics, there comes a huge demand for alternative to plastics which are biodegradable in nature,”’ NIIST said.

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