Biodegradable and edible packaging from seaweed. Evoware / Instagram
You might compost religiously. You might recycle everything your city can handle. But even the most environmentally conscious individual might have trouble responsibly disposing the ubiquitous food wrapper.
These crinkly, colorful sheets that come with our granola bars and potato chips can contain so many different materials mixed together (plastic, aluminum, paper, etc.) that recycling it can be too laborious or too expensive to be worth it.
But Indonesian startup Evoware has come up with a genius solution to tackle this problem by creating an edible and biodegradable packaging made from seaweed. The company says its product has a two-year shelf life and can dissolve in warm water. It can be customized to give a specific taste, like mint or green tea.
The seaweed-based packaging—which claims to be high in fiber, vitamins and minerals—can be wrapped around an endless number of items. For instance, you can dunk whole sugar packets right into your hot coffee. You can wrap a sheet around a burger and consume it whole. Don’t want to eat it? Compost it.
The packaging can also be wrapped around non-food items such as toothpicks, sanitary napkins and soap.Evoware
Jakarta food and beverages retailer Ong Tek Tjan told Reuters that he sells ice cream from Evoware’s jelly cups that customers can eat afterwards.
“I too support this environment-friendly cause,” Ong said, but he noted that consumers may take time to adapt to the product that is pricier than current options.
While Evoware’s products are currently made by hand and are certainly more expensive than typical plastic versions, it’s clear that plastic pollution has a major cost to the environment. Indonesia happens to be the second-largest ocean plastic polluter, behind China.
Evoware co-founder David Christian told Reuters he developed the packaging to fight this mounting global issue.
“I saw how much plastic waste is produced here, which takes hundreds or thousands of years to degrade and contaminates everything,” he said.
Evoware’s product also has a positive impact for Indonesian seaweed farmers. Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest seaweed producers, but many seaweed farmers live in poverty, as Christian notes in the video below. The business can help the livelihood of its farmers all while conserving nature.
“We can maintain many hectares of seashore cleanliness, reducing tons of plastic waste, decreasing farmers’ bad credit, increasing farmers’ income and prosperity of farmer families,” he said.
Watch here to learn more about the effort: