I’m just running through a count in my head. How many times would have I used plastic cutlery in all of my life? Now before you think I’m losing my mind, I’ll get to the point.
Did you know that it takes an average of 450 years to decompose plastic? Do you stand against the usage of plastic bags? Think you might want to contribute to the conservation of our environment in a tasty manner?
We’ve found a way, we’ve found a way!
Narayana Peesapati well knew about the harmful effects of plastic, and more so, the plastic cutlery. Did you know that once reused, plastic cutlery attracts certain bacteria that cannot be removed no matter how properly it has been washed?
Narayana Peesapati always says one thing, “There is always a simple solution to every complex problem.” And so, he created a tasty solution: reusesBakery's Edible Cutlery.
Edible cutlery comes in a lot of flavors and can be eaten after you’ve finished with the food. Heck, it is nutritious, delicious, and no, it doesn’t get soggy if you drink soup with it. How did he do this?!
Me: How long will it take for Edible Cutlery to completely replace plastic cutlery?
Naranaya: Well, it’s a Million Dollar question, and the answer is: I don’t know. China dumps a lot of cutlery every year. They dump about 3 million spoons, forks and knives EACH annually.
Even if we talk on the health parameters, reused plastic has cancer causing agents and can be fatal to health.
Me: What happens where fuses plastic cutlery?
Narayana: Unless you are not worried about microbial contamination, there’s no problem, at all. There are so many crevices on the cutlery that there is always going to be some food or saliva still stuck there. And, that’s what will attract the microbes.img_4
Me: What are the ingredients of every edible spoon?
Narayana: Jowar, Rice and a bit of wheat.
Me: Do you also plan to replace the plastic packaging done on your products?
Narayana: As a matter of fact, we have already successfully done that. Our packaging now goes in paper pouches that are heat sealable. While most generally use plastic sealing, we use potato starch.img_5
Me: How are the spoons priced?
Narayana: Currently, the cutlery is priced at Rs. 3 per product. However, we intend to bring it further down. It will happen as soon as the mass production of these spoons happens. The price will be at par with the price of disposable plastic spoons.
Me: What % of India is using edible cutlery as of now?
Narayana: The demand for our product in India is currently 5-10%, and the rest 90% is exported to different countries.
Me: Why is your manufacturing unit an all-women enterprise?
Narayana: You know, I thought of breaking the persistent mindset that women cannot do male-dominated jobs. You will be surprised that these women are not afraid of using the drills, or any machine that is generally operated by men. They are doing an absolutely fantastic job. See, there are men working, too, who work the night shift, because I don’t want to affect women’s household lives due to my social conviction.img_6
Another big problem that I see around me is the way they are empowering women. I don’t believe activists who yell out how women should be given equality. Rather, I sincerely believe that actions speak louder than words. Do you have a practical approach? Can you do something for the women who are trapped in social barriers? Well, there’s your women empowerment.
Me: How has your relationship with your wife evolved since edible cutlery happened?
Narayana: A very tricky question. *Laughs* It has taken too long a time, and patience played a vital role. My wife is very socially inclined, she works with street children, and towards woman empowerment, and many other causes. So, she’s really happy that I’m working in this direction to do something for the environment.
Me: You put your house as collateral when you needed funds for producing edible cutlery. How confident were you?
Narayana: I was very confident and never had any doubt. I’ve been chasing this dream for 9 years without despising. I was convinced that I had a solution for the problem. I had to get the farmers back to producing millets rather than rice, and that’s all I had to do.
Me: Do you also cook?
Narayana: If there’s anyone in the world who can be qualified as the worst cook in the world, it has to be me! I can’t even prepare a cup of tea, and it’s not like I haven’t tried! Heck, I can’t even boil an egg.
Me: Have you been funded yet?
Narayan: I’m not looking for funding, now. Earlier, I was, but not anymore. There is enough market, and I can draw the funds from the market.
Me: How did you market the product initially?
Narayan: It was extremely difficult. I stood on the outside of various departmental stores, even during the rain. I would go up to people who came for morning walks to tell them about it, and so much that people started avoiding me.
Me: That’s funny, it is such a wonderful concept, then why?
Narayan: Ghar ki murgi dal barabar. They used to think that something is fishy, how can an Indian come up with something so basic and simple? It’s not possible, he’s definitely adulterated it with something.
Of course, it has an ingredient that no one could ever add to any sort of cutlery: a solution that will cut down the adulteration of the environment.
I already ordered myself a pack, have you?