Startup makes biodegradable cutlery from apple tree waste

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 19

The apple tree prune waste, generated annually in orchards and used as a fuel, is now being put to use for making biodegradable plates, cutlery and packaging material by a local startup.

Tonnes of wood waste from apple trees, which are pruned every year to get rid of the unwieldy growth, are being utilised for the environment-friendly production. With its no other use, the pruned twigs and branches are normally burnt as a fuel during winters by villagers.

Himjoy Enterprises is founded by a Himachali couple, Bhanu Uday Singh Kanwar and Devangini Kanwar. They are from the apple belt of Kotkhai. Bhanu, a civil engineer, quit his job to return to his apple orchards.

They have successfully developed the prototype of biodegradable plates using apple tree prune waste with the help of CSIR-NIIST, Kerala. They have also received a financial grant from IIT, Mandi, to further develop the technology for the commercial use.

"The apple prune waste is generated on annual basis in apple farms, which is burned by the farmers, so we thought of putting it to some use," said Bhanu. Both, central and state government are working to minimise the use of plastic and plastic-based products. "The innovation can be helpful for everyone as plastic products are non-biodegradable and have chemicals," he said.

Now, after the successful development of the prototype of biodegradable plates, the startup will be looking to establish their first manufacturing unit to develop various biodegradable products. This will help protect the environment, create jobs and increase revenue of farmers.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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