IIP student talks about sustainable straws using banana leaves

Saamir Akhtar, PGDP student of IIP Mumbai shares with WhatPackaging? about a sustainable straw using banana leaves and food grade approved adhesives.

08 Nov 2022 | By Disha Chakraborty

Straw made of banana leaf and potato starch

Single-use plastic straws cannot be recycled, so they either end up in landfill or as litter where they harm wildlife and the environment. In landfills, plastic products often take up to a thousand years to disintegrate. While the plastic bottles we use daily take 450 years to break down, the plastic bags we deploy daily take 10 to 20 years. To prevent this, the over-dumping of straws into the landfills, National Green Tribunal in Delhi NCR enacted a ban on throwaway or single-use plastic such as straws, cutlery, bags and food containers.

Paper straws are considered as an alternative but are more expensive than the single-use plastic straws. Also, once they come in contact with a regular beverage, they lose their mechanical integrity. Even if plastic straws are more destructive to the environment, it is obvious that paper straws with plastic coatings are also not very healthy for the environment. Paper straws are not eco-friendly and have significant negative effects on the environment.

Since the beginning of human history, leaves have been used for a variety of purposes, including eating, serving and storing food. Banana leaves are easily accessible, enormous, thick, and difficult to pierce. Additionally, the banana leaf gives the food a scent and enhances its flavour. Polyphenols, flavonoids, fibre, carbs, tannins, vitamins, enzymes and potassium are abundant in the leaves. According to recent reports, the leaves purify the blood, strengthen the immune system, increase hunger, help with food digestion, and prevent intestinal ulcers.

Saamir Akhtar told WhatPackaging?, “My attempt was to create straws out of leaves while focusing on the above-mentioned problems that come along with the usage of plastic in straw production, packaging and other items. Using suitable glue and banana leaves, we followed traditional straw-making techniques to create our straws.” He said that when choosing the potential adhesive for banana leaves, numerous starch-based options were tried and tested that work well with all types of beverages. “A few of these tested adhesives were arrowroot, maize, tapioca, potato and wheat starch. But for our focus, potato starch hit the target,” he signed off.

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