Edible is better
India is a majestic place full of a mysterious paradoxes, bindi bearing brides, pastel painted elephants, home of the samosa and now the most polluted place on the planet.
According to recent NASA satellite data India has now topped Chinas pollution levels for the first time in the 21st century.
Even though it is culturally common in India to eat with your hands, 120 billion pieces of disposable cutlery are thrown away every year. Worldwide, this becomes a figure at 16 times this magnitude. As plastic is composed of major toxic pollutants it has the potential to cause great harm to the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution.
Fed up with this major plastic waste stream, groundwater researcher, Narayana Peesapaty created an innovative edible cutlery company, Bakeys. The edible spoons are full vegan, preservative free, trans fat free and operate of principles of fair trade. Made of millet, rice and wheat they are free from genetically modified organisms (GMO). Their lack of water, moisture or fat allows them a shelf life of up to 3 years without the need for extra preservatives (whilst still remaining their crispness)With India’s favourite spices (ginger-cinnamon, ginger-garlic, cumin, celery, black pepper, mint-ginger, and carrot-beet) the spoons come in sweet, savoury and plain to suit every meal. They are not only environmentally friendly but ‘tasty, fun and highly nutritious’ says Peesapaty.
Whilst biodegrade products are seemingly a step towards a zero waste future, there benefits are many times negated.
Corn and sugar crops currently used for biodegradables require extreme heat and very specific conditions to properly degenerate. Whereas Bakeys Edible Cutlery don’t require specific conditions and if not eaten will break down within 3-4 days in any outside environment. In concord due to the large quantity(presence) of millets used, the spoon itself does not degrade within liquids and can withstand a hot bowl soup, your favourite butter chicken curry, ice cream or tea.
Peespaty develops his business in correlation with growing environmental problems. Debunking the “conventionally known fact that environmental safeguarding and social responsibility rarely integrate with sound business process”.
Peespatys decision to use millets as his primary product is not only due to their incredibly nutritious benefits but millets are known for flourishing in the worlds most arable land. Millets requiring far fewer nutrients and water for cultivation allows environmentally friendly farming on a massive scale. Peespaty cites, ‘of the energy it takes to produce 1 plastic utensil, we can produce 100 sorghum(millet) based spoons’, in comparisons to corn (biodegrade crop) they are able to make 50.
Peesapaty states “for Bakeys Foods, environmental and social amelioration is the business”.
As an attempt to raise funds for mass production Sarah Muir for Bakeys created a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Pledging a goal of $20 000 to compete with the prevalence of plastic. Plastic is widely used due its longevity and affordability. However Peespaty feels ‘with mass production he will be able to make his spoons just as cheap’. Peespaty believes that the ‘change is inevitable’ but before this change can ‘overtake and overwhelm us, we should be instruments of change’.
Since launching in Hyderbad India 2011, Bakeys have sold over 40,000 spoons yet Bakeys business ambitions reach far beyond the realm of spoons. With their plan to expand into a whole new line of table wear, including edible plates, cups, forks and chopsticks.
A collection completely waste free, nutritious and environmentally friendly!
Que the cutlery evolution!
Written by Bridget McDonnell