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Tossing a plastic spoon or fork into the trash after using it once is not just acceptable; it is fashionable. Experts estimate that over 40 billion pieces of plastic cutlery end up in the garbage each year - And that's just in the US. The numbers are even worse in India where an astounding 120 billion pieces clog the landfills annually. But that may change soon thanks to Indian entrepreneur Narayana Peesapaty whose start-up Bakey's, transforms mundane cutlery into delicious treats!
The company's first product is a spoon. Made of sorghum, rice, and wheat flour, it is vegan, has no preservatives and is both trans-fat and dairy free. The edible cutlery has a shelf life of up to three years when stored in a dry and cool place. The spoons also come in numerous sizes and therefore, can be used for both eating and serving food. Thanks to its primary ingredient, sorghum, the utensil is quite resilient and able to withstand anything from hot soups to frozen desserts for about 15-20 minutes without disintegrating.
With flavors like sugar, ginger-cinnamon, and cumin, the utensils are a culinary treat. However, even those that do not wish to consume the spoons will feel no remorse in tossing them out. That's because unlike plastic spoons that sit in landfills for eternity, Bakey's utensils decompose within 5-6 days when exposed to the elements.
While these attributes should be enough to have everyone clamoring for the edible spoons, there is more. Peesapaty, says that the reason for selecting sorghum instead of the more commonly used sugarcane and corn, is that the climate-smart hardy grain requires fewer nutrients and water to cultivate. As a result, Bakey's spoons use far fewer resources than other biodegradable alternatives. The entrepreneur says that as his product becomes popular, he hopes to encourage more farmers to switch to growing sorghum instead of rice which requires 60 times the amount of water! Peesapaty believes this simple change will help restore the area's rapidly declining underground water table.
And if that is not enough to impress you how about this? In addition to helping the environment, the company is also making a positive impact on the local community by employing women in need of income.
Peesapaty, who has sold over 1.5 million spoons since he established Bakey's in Hyderabad, India in 2011, has two main challenges he still needs to overcome. He needs to lower the production costs so that the edible spoons are as affordable as their plastic counterparts, and also establish an international distribution system so that they can be available globally. The company also hopes to expand its offerings to additional cutlery items like forks and chopsticks.
To achieve these goals, Bakey's recently set up a Kickstarter campaign with an aim to raise a modest $20,000 USD. With three days still to go, it has managed to raise over $240,000 USD from over 8,000 individual backers. Though Bakey's may never be able to replace the use of plastic cutlery, it will make a difference — That's because every edible spoon the company sells means one less utensil in the landfill!