published by, sheen kachru
Last Update: April 19, 2023, 5:30 PM IST
A group of students from Delhi University’s Ramjas College has developed biodegradable cutlery from stubble impregnated with vegetable seeds, which they claim has the potential to address the problems of pollution and unemployment.
Food can be served using these cutlery and planted after use so that seeds can germinate in them, said the group, which is part of the Ramjas chapter of the non-profit organization Enactus, which works for positive social and environmental impact. Uses business as a catalyst.
Inectus representatives said the cutlery has been designed to address a number of problems, including the threat of stubble burning, the waste generated by paper and plastic plates, and continued deforestation.
The project, named Warak, is in the pilot phase and the students are looking to set up a workshop for the production of cutlery. Although the cost of biodegradable cutlery is a bit high, students involved with the project said that “its benefits should not be overlooked”.
“Project Warak aims to tackle the problem of food insecurity, air pollution and unemployment. We are preparing biodegradable plates from stubble and plant seeds, which will then be planted and grown into new plants, thereby increasing the nutrient levels in the daily diet.
He said that the aim of the project is to link nutrition and environmental welfare.
“India is home to 46.6 million stunted children, most of whom are deficient in basic nutrients. Moreover, with India generating an estimated 5,600 tonnes of plastic waste daily, a major portion of the single-use plastic in our collective footprint comes from dining cutlery,” Agarwal pointed out. “Project Warak will provide employment. During the entire process, we provide them with additional livelihood and plan to sell the plates to schools, old age homes, orphanages and canteens, which then enter into a self-sustaining model of operations,” she said.
It was one of the top 4 global finalists in the Race to Feed the Planet event organized by Project Enactus. It was selected from 79 entries from 16 countries by an independent judging panel of sponsor staff, subject matter experts and Enactus alumni.
Next year, the group hopes to expand its reach to 100 schools with the mid-day meal scheme.
“We hope to expand our reach to 50 North Indian villages with 100 schools, freeing approximately 70,000 people from hunger and poverty. By processing paddy straw into seed plates and utilizing it, we aim to prevent the emission of 12 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. Estimates suggest that VARK will be responsible for replanting 15 lakh trees,” said Agarwal.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)