What if your dinner plate has more dietary fibre than your meal? Edible cutlery with 43 grams of fibre and 16 grams of protein, these plates might just fill the gap in your diet as well as fight the pandemic of single use plastic.
These wheat bran plates (roughly 11 inches in diameter) called “Thooshan”, manufactured by Aura Exim and sold by Vir Naturals Pvt Ltd, are the latest to enter the edible tableware space to fight single pandemic of use plastic in our daily life
Thooshan a company based out Kerala in India makes a range of edible cutlery such as plates, bowls, spoons, and straws made from natural wheat bran, areca palm leaves, and coconut palm leaves. Thooshan’s dishware has a longer shelf life and is fungus and bacteria resistant. Dishware from Thooshan is completely biodegradable and partially edible.
However, you don’t always have to eat the plate; if you throw it away, edible cutlery decomposes into organic manure for the plants. After its use, these table wares can be used as cattle feed, fish feed, or poultry feed. The use of single-use plastic could be reduced to some extent thanks to this novel concept. Join us to change the way we eat and think about waste!
For those who want to pursue a sustainable lifestyle in India today, options are aplenty, from cloth bags and bamboo toothbrushes to chemical-free cosmetics. The next step is edible cutlery tableware that home-grown manufacturers have been pushing slowly yet surely.
Though India has been slow to catch on, the change is sure to happen, says Vinayakumar B (Vinay), founder of Thooshan. “And for us, it isn’t purely business. The aim is to bring about a long-term change in the way people perceive single use plastic,” he adds.
India generates about 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic annually, says a 2018-19 report by the Pollution Control Board; the average per capita consumption is eight grams per day. The pandemic is expected to worsen the statistic, with single-use masks and PPE kits adding to total waste generated. A large part of that comes from single use plastic
The products are made from grains, millets, pulses, cereal and chocolate and the most popular flavours are chocolate, beetroot, spinach and carrot. Though the market in India is only catching up, Lakshmi and Shaila believe it is sure to gain a strong foothold over a period of time.
“People are more aware now; we get quite a lot of enquiries,” says Lakshmi. The products can be ordered online, through the company’s website. It undertakes customised orders as well.
These edible dishes can hold very hot (boiling) and very cold (up to -40°C) food. They can be stored at room temperature in air-tight containers. Their shelf life ranges from six months to one year. “As you chew on your spoon, think of the water that is being conserved while avoiding the hassle of washing up,” says Lakshmi.
Both Vinay and Lakshmi stress on the need to encourage people to switch over to edible cutlery and dishes for public events, weddings and parties, which would help save the planet from tonnes of waste generated by single use plastic.
RS Pathy Naturo, in Madurai, launched a tea kiosk in the city in 2020, which served tea in flavoured wafer cups. “We tried it as a eco-friendly value-added product to our kiosk, but it came out very well,” says Vivek Sabapathy, owner of the company. He started a manufacturing unit and sells it to different parts of the country.
The company is also selling it as a pack of 10 cups, which come with an expiry date. They are available in supermarkets across Madurai,and can hold hot beverages for at least 15 minutes before they turn soggy, he says, adding, “The idea is to promote a sustainable concept of tea time at home.” Change, say the manufacturers in one voice, will surely come. One edible spoon at a time.
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