Bali entrepreneur launches cassava-based bioplastic

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In Bali, biology graduate student and surfer Kevin Kumala has launched Avani Eco, a manufacturer of bioplastics made from cassava starch, vegetable oils, and organic resins, in an effort to cut down on the region’s issues of plastic waste in the ocean.

The company currently produces 4 tons of bioplastic a day. It is used in plastic bags, food packaging, and covers for hospital beds.

The company’s production site has the capacity to produce 20 tons a day, but funding has been a challenge. The fact that its bioplastic is more expensive than conventional plastics has also limited sales. Kumala tells CNN, however, that the Bali government recently announced an initiative to ban plastic bags by 2018. “The government is supporting us and we are working with them to create a roadmap to be plastic-free by 2018,” says Kumala. “On an island like Bali it is becoming inevitable that they have to execute right away.”