- Sustainability Problem: Waste
Single use plastic bags are among the greatest contributors to land and water pollution. They are normally used for just minutes, but take can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, polluting land, air and water, and killing wildlife in the process.
- Avani Eco, an Indonesia based company, has created a 100% plant based, non-toxic and biodegradable material that can replace plastic bags.
- The material is made primarily from the cassava root, a very common and inexpensive vegetable in Indonesia.
- The material is harmless to animals and humans if ingested, and breaks down in months.
- The bio-based plastic bags still cost about twice as much as conventional plastic bags.
- Stakeholders for this technology include municipal governments/sanitation departments, large retail stores and supermarkets (who are increasingly facing plastic bag bans), as well as environmental advocacy groups and non-profit organizations dedicated to waste and pollution reduction.
- The first steps for deploying this technology on a large scale:
- Invest in R&D to help reduce the cost of the bio-based plastic bags, making them more competitive with traditional plastic bags.
- Ban the use of single use plastic bags in local municipalities
- Partner with a large national retailer (such as Walmart, Target, or Wholefoods to gain widespread recognition and prove market viability.
- Comment on post “Smart Transportation & Smart Waste Management” by sn2754:
While I think technology is a great idea for optimizing waste management, there would be a huge hurdle to implement this in NYC, as commercial waste (from stores, offices, restaurants, etc.) is not managed by the city. Each business has a contract with a private waste hauling company, which causes garbage routes to be extremely inefficient and redundant. In order to implement a “smarter” waste management system as described in the post, legislation would first have to change the status quo in commercial waste contracts.