Flowercycling helps keeps the Ganges clean

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In India, entrepreneur Ankit Agarwal is upcycling floral waste from temples and mosques in Uttar Pradesh—which is usually dumped into the Ganges River—into bioplastic.

Agarwal tells The Hindu the idea came after he noticed a substance on unused flowers by the river.  “It looked like a spider’s web. Multiple tests later, we realized it was a fiber and this gave us the idea to create a multi-purpose natural material,” he says. The process was later developed by researchers at Indian Institutes of Technology.

Dubbed Florafoam, the bioplastic is expected to have a wide range of uses. “Based on our in-house tests, it is biodegradable and can be buried in your garden post usage,” Agarwal says. “We are now setting up our first production unit (to make 11 tonnes a day) in Kanpur and it will be operational next January. Until then, we will be working on samples for our buyers, and expanding units to Varanasi and Vrindavan.”