One of the biggest problems in India is the amount of waste generated by the use of plastic cutlery. Indians eat almost exclusively with plastic utensils, contributing 120 billion pieces of plasticware to landfills annually. Founded in 2010, Bakey’s Edible Cutlery offers an alternative: edible utensils.
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The utensils are made from wheat, rice and millet and they come in different flavors. When you’re finished with your meal you can just eat them. The utensils are vegan and biodegradable; they have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years if kept in their packaging. And they cost just a little more than plastic utensils.
As company founder Narayana Peesapaty explain in this TedX Talk, Indians have a major problem with waste generation due to plastics being relatively cheap and widely available. The idea behind Bakey’s is to generate cutlery that, if not eaten, breaks down easily when thrown out in regular garbage. This cutlery breaks down in 3 to 7 days.
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One of the most frequently asked questions of Bakey’s is why create yet another disposable product instead of championing reusable (e.g. metal) cutlery? Bakey’s is attempting to offer a disposable alternative in a culture that already uses, and is familiar with, disposable cutlery. The idea is not to create competition among reusable cutlery, but rather to offer an alternative to non-biodegradable, environmentally-harmful plastic.
Presently, you can buy 100 spoons from Bakey’s for about $4, which is a little more than plastic cutlery. But, says Peesapaty, he can make his products just as cheap as plastic, provided he gets enough orders. With higher volume, his negotiating power with farmers for the price of the grains he uses to create the utensils will increase, and he can produce them more cheaply.
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Want to help? Bakey’s has a crowdfunding campaign running on Ketto.org, a Kickstarter-like fundraising site based in Asia. Their goal has been blown over by fifteen times the amount they initially wanted to raise, but you can still back them if you want to try the edible cutlery for yourself.
*1 million tonnes figure extrapolated from annual plastic garbage figures provided here