Alternative ideas to avoid plastic use surges post State-wide ban

Debasmita Dutta
Friday, 29 June 2018

Pune: With a rapid emergence of alternatives to fight for the plastic ban in the state, people are evolving with new ideas and are focusing to bring out new things which are not harmful to the environment. Carving into the traditional methods and crafts of living, the engineers are looking for significant commodities that would save the nature from exploitation. 

Pune: With a rapid emergence of alternatives to fight for the plastic ban in the state, people are evolving with new ideas and are focusing to bring out new things which are not harmful to the environment. Carving into the traditional methods and crafts of living, the engineers are looking for significant commodities that would save the nature from exploitation. 

Prasad Singadi, 40-year-old chemical engineer, who quit his job to take up this initiative is a resident of Talegaon who follows the ‘Grow Green, Go Green’ policy that urges to create the ideal nursery that did not use even a tiny bit of plastic.

He said, “Every visit to a nursery always left me a certain sense of disappointment. On one hand, the lush green saplings pleased me, but the plastic flower pots stacked up in the corner left me worried as well about the environment. Plant nurseries are supposed to embody green environment, however, plastic pots only encourage the use of plastic. As a child, I was quite aware of the fact that cow dung using as a ingredient was pretty strong for an earthy product as I have seen my mother making cow dung cakes. Therefore, the idea of creating plant pots using cow dung strike me. Choosing cow dung over clay makes it environment-friendly and gives a way to contribute to a farmer’s income as I buy the dung directly from the farmers.” 

“Focusing to one rule that all ingredients had to be organic and environment-friendly, I kept cow dung as the main ingredient and mix it with various other things to ensure strength. After a series of tests and fails, I came up with the perfect mixture of cow dung which are cow urine, leaves of nirgundi and neem leaves. The pots are durable as it can hold water stored for overnight without developing cracks or collapsing after days of rain.” Singadi kneads 100-200 kilos of cow dung each and every day and makes almost 300 pots of three, five and six inches deep. The prices range is also kept reasonable from Rs 20 to Rs 75, depending on the size. “Apart from being eco-friendly, these pots also provide essential nutrients to the soil as cow dung is a great manure for plants,” he added. 

On 2015, during a wedding invitation, Santosh Ingle was highly disappointed with the sight of thousands of plastic plates and glasses getting exposed to garbage. The time when the plastic ban was not an emerging issue, he started making single-use cutlery out of ‘areca nut tree skins’. “For extracting the trees skins the trees are not harmed anyway because the tree itself sheds tons of dry skins in a month. Such skins are easily available in the coastal regions. The dry areca nut tree skin is the only ingredient for the eco-friendly products as they can be easily molded in different shapes or sizes and are rigid for long-term usage. The dry skins are washed and soaked for hours to mold it in a shape by the help of a machine that makes cutlery. Such plates and spoons can be used for about 9 to 10 times if dry food is kept on it. It is also washable for about two times.” Ingle said. 

He further added, “The huge rise of demand was noticed in the market after the plastic ban. These compostible products can easily dissolve in the soil and also safe for animals.”

Looking for safe alternative
Singadi kneads 100-200 kilos of cow dung each and every day and makes almost 300 pots of three, five and six inches deep. The prices range is also kept reasonable from Rs 20 to Rs 75, depending on the size. Apart from being eco-friendly, these pots also provide essential nutrients to the soil as its a great manure for plants.

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