With an alarming increase in plastic consumption and environmental degradation, Earthware by Visfortec Pvt. Ltd. is working towards producing renewable and environment-friendly tableware and packaging products. SAMANVI BHOGRAJ, in a conversation with GAURI HUKKE, explains her cause and rationale behind the venture.
You wish to go on a small trip for a day or two and pack some home-cooked meals. Would you rather pack the meal in a Tupperware and go through the strain of washing it later, or in a disposable single-use plastic container that would harm the environment? If your answer stands is ‘neither’, Visfortec’s ‘Earthware’ is your saviour!
For A Better World: Earthware
Earthware Founder Samanvi Bhograj
Founded by Samanvi Bhograj, Visfortec Pvt. Ltd.’s brand Earthware is South India’s first and only manufacturer of biodegradable and compostable tableware. Established in 2011, the brand aimed at making single-use biodegradable replacements for plastics using corn-extracts. Developments with research and technology led the company to discovering bagasse and other plant fibres, which they now use to manufacture their tableware. Made of 100% agricultural fibres and raw materials, Earthware products make for the perfect companion in our fight against plastics and environmental degradation.
“Over the last 10-15 years, the use of single-use plastics has grown drastically, and it is concerning. Our target was to find a biodegradable and sustainable alternative for these plastics. That is when we came across bagasse and decided to make environment-friendly single-use disposable products,” says Samanvi.
What was born as a biodegradable tableware venture has now progressed to include industrial packaging, such as automotive packaging and electronic pulp packaging. Playing an important role in helping various industries, Earthware uses a mix of agricultural pulps in its packaging to replace the harmful styrofoam substances used in most industrial packaging. The product starts degrading in 60-90 days and decomposes completely by 120 days, thereby increasing renewability.
“Over the last 10-15 years, the use of single-use plastics has grown drastically.”
What led Samanvi to start her business?
Samanvi comes from an industrial background; her grandfather started a steel and automotive business in 1963. Her exposure to this industry led her to question the ways in which waste management is approached in the country.
“Having been born and brought up in Bengaluru, I’ve witnessed the city drastically change from a ‘garden city’ to ‘garbage city’. All of this indirectly leads to climate change and environmental degradation on a broader perspective. That’s when I thought of starting with one industry and targeted the food industry. We have now spread to other industries to help them reduce the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable substances in their packaging,” she explains.
Earthware began looking into alternatives for packaging to tackle waste production and management.
Goods like food and electronic items cannot be delivered without packaging, which is why these industries were identified and targeted first. Earthware also manufactures eco-friendly bags made of jute, cotton and paper, catering to all industries. During these times, when food delivery apps are at their highest peak of business, the use of plastic containers has reinstated the use of one-time plastics. Why not replace them with eco-friendly containers that can be disposed of without any harm to the environment?
Perhaps their most successful innovation to date is the manufacture of single-use tableware like plates, cups, cutlery, bowls, containers for takeaways, straws, and clamshells, all of which are made of plant fibre. In case of industrial packaging Earthware goes a step further and provides customized products to meet the client’s needs.
According to National Geographic, about eight million tons of plastic escapes into the ocean from the coastal nations, every year. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of every coastline around the world.
“Having been born and brought up in Bengaluru, I’ve witnessed the city drastically change from a ‘garden city’ to ‘garbage city’.”
In an era of widespread plastic pollution that’s affecting wildlife, wildlife habitat and humans, it’s important that we do our bit to help save the planet for the coming generations. Visfortec’s Earthware is one among the fewest ventures to work towards turning this realisation into reality.