Bioplastic offers disposability amid India’s plastic bans

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In Nagpur, India, chemical engineer Poonam Dixit has launched EnsaBio, a bioplastic made from vegetable starch and other renewable materials that can be used to package food.

“We have used locally available corn starch to manufacture EnsaBio,” Dixit tells Times of India. “Local farmers, even in dry belt, can take use produce of this variety of corns. Apart from it, vegetable, potato and starch extracted from various tropical palm stems can also be used.”

She says she at first struggled to find thermoformers willing to use the material. But ultimately it was found that EnsaBio could be used to make items such as disposable plates without modifying equipment.

Dhawal Poddar said his company, Mahamaya Agro Industries, had stopped manufacturing disposable plates because of local plastic bans. “But [EnsaBio] gave us another chance to bring something eco-friendly,” he says. “The granule required lower production temperatures, which also saved electricity. We are confident about this formulation.”