At a time when non-biodegradable thermocal plates are used abundantly by almost all road-side food vendors in Valley, a non-local entrepreneur has come up with biodegradable plates.
Sathya Prabhu runs a unit producing biodegradable plates of areca leaf to provide local vendors replacement to save the environment.
Presently, almost all the food vendors, restaurants and hotels are serving food to customers in thermacol, Styrofoam or plastic disposable plates. Later, the disposables are seen scattered on roads causing pollution in the Srinagar city.
These disposables are also used during marriage ceremonies to serve chutneys and other fast food items to guests.
On seeing the efforts of the man, Srinagar Muncipal Corporation (SMC) also shot a letter to regional director, JK state pollution control board numbering SMC/Enf/SWM 261-300 which is dated 20 August, 2015 with subject reading “banning of thermacol/Styrofoam/plastics of disposable plates in Srinagar city being used by food vendors, restaurant/hotels under non-biodegradable waste rules 2009.”
Sathya prabhu hails from Tamil Nadu and is nowadays busy in making locals in Srinagar aware about importance of these bio-degradable plates.
“My only aim is that this paradise on earth should become free from environmental pollutants and people should use more nature-friendly items,” shared Sathya.
The use and throw “Areca Leaf Plates” made out of Areca Leaf are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.
These hygienic, non-odorous, non-toxic, light weight plates and cups made out of Areca leaf are environment-friendly. These areca leaf plates and areca leaf cups need no wash.
Sathya is also planning an alternative to plastic carry bags. These bags are made by pasting and folding either two or three sheets of newspaper to make bags of different sizes. The handles of the bag can be made with jute string, cotton string or nylon string. The price per bag depends on the size and the thickness. Bags are available in different sizes and also can be customised according to requirements.
Areca palm tree (areca catechu) drops its leaves naturally when the old leaves are making room for the new leaves. These leaves have been used as plates for dining purposes for centuries. With new technology this natural and rigid material can be compressed to a shape of a design plate which in use with dry food can last longer periods.
“The production process of the plates doesn’t require added chemicals or heavy infrastructure. The carbon footprint of making the plate consists mainly of heating water and the metal cast. Because the tree drops its leaves naturally the production process doesn’t require cutting or harming of the trees,” said Sathya.
The safety of the food contact material has been verified in several studies conducted by VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) and the recommendation is that in use with moist food the plate would serve only once.