The alternative to the toxic plastic bag is here!

The alternative to the toxic plastic bag is here!

Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-07-05 18:29 Bengaluru: There’s some good news for those who have been scratching their heads to find an alternative to the toxic plastic bag.A 24-year-old Karnataka-based entrepreneur has been able to find an eco-friendly, practical, and affordable alternative to the plastic bag: corn starch bag.Ashwath Hegde, who is the CEO of Go Green Corporation, says he began working on the project to manufacture corn starch bags four years ago. A business management student from Dakshina Kannada, Ashwath even won plaudits from Qatar, where he recently launched the product on the country’s National Environment Day on February 26.“The Qatar Environment Ministry appreciated and accepted eco-friendly corn starch bags. The response has also been good and many top brands and shops have started purchasing these bags,” he says.Ashwath HegdeAbout the bagAshwath’s bags are made using corn starch and ten other organic products. “These bags are ecofriendly as they are not prepared out of chemicals. They decompose completely in a period of two months without leaving any chemical extract in the soil. These can be reused after washing them,” he says.The most interesting feature of this bag is it can dissolve in 100 degree Celsius hot water without leaving any chemical behind.  At present, the Go Green Corporation is producing bags which can carry items weighing 250 to 1000 kg.But what about the cost? “It will not be too costly,” assures Ashwath. “Our team is working towards bringing down the cost of bags and selling it at the same cost of Rs 2 or Rs 3 like plastic bags,” he says, adding that he wants to approach medical industry and hospitals to make hospitals plastic-free.“After hospitals, I will approach common people, grocery shop, petty shops, fish and meat stalls. Before this, I want to educate people of the difference between cloth-like plastic bags and our bags,” Ashwath says.The young entrepreneur has also had talks with Union Environment Minister Prakash Javdekar and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who has given green signal for the product.“I want to establish a large scale corn starch bags manufacturing factory by the end of July and this is based on the ‘Make in India’ concept,” he says. “With this, I can also help farmers as I will purchase corn from them by establishing direct market. We are also ready to supply the same raw materials to the plastic industries which have shut down so that they too can produce the same kind of bags that we do.”There is more. Ashwath says that he has also had talks with Karnataka Milk Federation officials for the supply of milk pouches. “The milk pouches being used now are plastic. I want to introduce milk pouches which are also ecofriendly. This will be also launched soon along with the corn starch bags,” he says. Success story in QatarAshwath says he stayed in Qatar for more than seven months before launching the product. “I visited corporate industries, studied the government laws, what kind of bags people use there, and spoke to super markets. I also got in touch with the people of Karnataka community,” he says, adding that as in India there is a huge plastic lobby in Qatar. “But the Environment Ministry has been working to bring down the pollution and also find a solution to stop the use of plastics.”The Qatar Environment Ministry’s Vision 2030 includes priority for the environment as one of the agendas. “There are around 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer in the world. This kills any seabirds, mammals and also camels which die due to ingesting of plastic. It is the time to act now,” says Ashwath.“Corporations in Qatar, middle class families have accepted it,” says Ashwath. “This shows that they care for environment and they want to preserve it for future generations.”