Sustainable Business Practices
How about a cuppa sustainabili-tea?
Did you know that India is the second largest producer and exporter of tea in the world? While this is a position of pride, it also brings us to the issue of how sustainable the production and packaging of this delightfully refreshing beverage is.
Tea has played a role in driving economic growth but the greatest challenge for tea plantations are the pests that attack the plants. Currently, chemical based pesticides and fertilizers are making us head for an ecological disaster. There is a slow and gradual move towards natural and eco-friendly products. And another interesting fact is that used tea is a goodfertilizer for your garden.
Dipping into danger?
Danger floating in your cup
Tea bags which seems such a simple way to just dip and enjoy good health are not always as good as they seem. Did you know that many of these contain plastic and release billions of plastic particles into your cup? Wondering how? To ensure that tea bags are sealed and retain their shape in hot liquid, a plastic polymer called polypropylene is added. What's worse is that these do not decompose due to the plastic content. Some manufacturers are known to use chemicals such as chlorine bleach while manufacturing their bags. This processis not just harmful to humans but also to water bodies. The solution? The simplest way is to buy and use loose tea. Certain brands such as Earl Grey avoid plastics, you can look for them.
A tea-table book?
Here's an interesting idea in tea packaging that deserve our applause and is worthy of emulating. New York-based designer Aaron Mickelson got rid of the outer container and the plastic shrink wrap that usually comes with boxed tea bags. What he did then was glue the bags into an accordion-style book. All the user needs to do is, tear off one tea bag at a time, and the book eventually shrinks to nothing. Smart! Isn't it? It goes to show how innovation can make a big difference.
WHY should we implement Sustainable Solutions?
Have you noticed how much of waste we generate every day? Packets discarded after using milk or masala, cornflake cartons, snack packs and so on. Some of these are recyclable, others end up in landfills and take even decades to degrade. The result is ecological disaster, pollution, sickness death of aquatic life and other species. Shouldn't we be doing something to preserve our world for the next generation? As entrepreneurs who work hard for the health and happiness of others, let us do our bit by adopting sustainable packaging methods and zero waste. Here's a look at what's happening in the world of sustainability.
Drink coffee, eat the cup!
Sounds fun isn't it? That's what the latest trend is moving towards. With people getting more conscious about the environment and the enormous generation of waste due food packaging, edible packaging is a welcome option. You don't just eat your food, you eat the packaging too! From coffee cups that you can eat to seaweed packaging, there's a lot of diversity.
Cups to cheer!
The first and most common form of edible packaging that most of us have been exposed to is the wafer in an ice-cream cone. KFC has made an edible coffee cup using a hard cookie. This is lined on the inside with a thin layer of chocolate which resists heat. This delicious cup can be snacked on after finishing with the coffee! That leaves zero waste. However, even if someone throws it away, this will decompose faster than Styrofoam or plastic.
Image 1 : Cups that you can bite into bring cheer. Image Credit:KFC/Official
Loliware is an American brand that offers biodegradable and edible cups which are ideal to serve drinks or dessert at parties and events. This brand is the brainchild of founders, Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker who were shocked about the 33 billion plastic cups which get to landfills every year. These cups manufactured by them are made of seaweed, organic sweeteners and colours from fruits and vegetables. There is a whole range of flavours available and these are gluten and gelatin-free.
Crack that fruit!
Wikifoods is another company that has brought in an innovative fruit like casing which food can be packed in. It has collaborated with Stonyfield Yogurt and yogurt or ice-cream filled “balls” are used instead of the regular plastic containers. These balls are made from fruit filled skins and are almost identical to apple or grape skin. These can be broken open just like fruits!
Milk proteins are good for manufacturing edible films and coatings and are quite nutritious too. Casein is one such packaging made from cow's milk and mixed with citrus pectin. These also help to prevent spoilage and can be considered a new plastic. This is used to wrap products such as cheese.
Image 2 - Caption: Innovative casein packaging made from milk protein is the new plastic! - Image Credit: AFP
What's the secret behind edible packaging?
There's definitely plenty of Science behind edible food packaging and the key types are films and coatings. What makes them different? Films are formed separately and later applied to the food product whereas coatings are formed and applied directly to the food.
Get ready to welcome a whole new era of edible packaging!