Vinayakumar Balakrishnan recently launched his edible tableware brand 'Thooshan' a month ago, joining the slowly rising trend of edible cutlery in India. Vinaykumar, who is a resident of Ernakulam in Kerala and the former CEO of a life Insurance company in Mauritius, left his job to start his mission towards a sustainable way of living. A few states in the country, including Kerala, have already banned single-use plastic, marking a stepping stone towards a sustainable future.
The project incubated at IIT Kanpur, Kerala Agricultural University, and Indigram Labs, is a result of extensive research of nearly two years, studying wheat bran and its viability in making edible tableware. The 100 per cent biodegradable and partially edible tableware was developed by Vinaykumar in collaboration with scientists at the CSIR- National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.
The concept, borne out of 'Thooshanila', which means tapered plantain leaf is an innovation to the culture of eating out of banana leaves. Made out of wheat bran, the brand's products such as food containers, bowls, cups, and cutlery including spoons, fork and knives will soon hit the market.
"If someone is not happy with eating the plates, they can always discard it. The items can be used as cattle feed, poultry feed, fish feed, and organic manure. The product, after its use, will never accumulate as waste. It will serve as food to all the living organisms," said Vinayakumar, as reported by The New Indian Express.
Extra Income For Farmers
Vinayakumar's venture checks the sustainability list in more ways than one. His brand provides extra income opportunities to local farmers by procuring the supply of wheat bran, which is usually a discarded by-product in agriculture. Apart from this, Vinaykumar also stated that the nationwide distribution of the products for sale will be done after the identification of dealers who do not sell plastic as a policy.
"As an organic brand, the product will not be sold by retailers selling plastic items," he added.
With the Indian government proposing to completely ban single-use plastic by 2022, Vinaykumar says that the country would need more eco-friendly alternatives like these. More plastic waste has been generated in India during the pandemic with single-use masks and PPE kits. However, slowly but steadily, with more awareness people's attitudes are changing.