“With daily use of 4700000 to 4800000 plastic bags in Nepal only, the age old battle with inevitable consequences of the plastic use has become tougher than ever. Thus, Bioplastics Nepal is a fresh new perspective In the war against global warming”, says CEO and co-founder of Bioplastics Nepal, Mr Bimal Raj Regmi.
It is hard to imagine that originally plastic bags were designed to be used more than once. Nowadays, due to cheapness, flexibility and durability, it’s use has been ubiquitous but it is used only once and thrown away, thereby leading to pollution. Majority of these plastic waste spreads out and ends up in rivers and streams due to the absence of an effective waste management system in Nepal. Sadly, the trend of reusing plastic bags has not yet caught up with the population. Moreover, the carbon released from manufacturing a single cotton bag is equivalent to emissions of 140 plastic bags, so the cotton bags have been proved not to be a good substitute.
This is what motivated the team of Bioplastics Nepal to hunt for an appropriate alternative to creating a biodegradable version of the the bags, in light of pollution that has choked many cities to promote a sustainable environment for all living beings.
Before transforming the idea into action
The dilemma regarding the next phase after his graduation urged the co-founder Bimal Raj Regmi to hold back from abroad study and begin the impactful social entrepreneurial journey along with Prabin Neupane and Nabin Gurung in July 2019.
“After a year of research, we decided on making completely biodegradable and compostable starch-based bioplastics that does no harm to the environment as it decomposes and transforms back to the natural elements,” says Regmi.
Coming from the Human Biology domain, understanding various terms of plastics was easy but launching an unfamiliar product brought about huge challenges and opportunities along the way. Amidst various obstacles, Regmi confesses that the government was not supportive towards start-up organizations. He further added that the lack of consciousness among people regarding the existence of bioplastics was a major hurdle during its initiation. However, the start-up is thrilled with the positive response from B2B organizations for their trial product which encouraged them to bring the product in the market very soon.
Aiming at sustainable future
Bioplastics Nepal aims to bring the concept of garbage bags to Nepal. “People are habituated in using plastics for garbage as for now, so we opt to create garbage bags with holding capacity of one and a half kilograms of waste for households and twenty kilograms for hotels”, explains Bimal. The usual polythenes used to carry foods are contaminated with microplastics which the Nepali public are not well aware of. To overcome this, they are producing varieties of bags for grocery, fruits and vegetables and other purposes.
“As we believe in mass awareness for change, we are in the process of rendering customized bioplastics with the barcode of our organization. So people can perceive every single information regarding bioplastics by scanning the code,” discloses Regmi.
They will be establishing their factory in the Terai region. Though they are importing the products now, they intend to produce bioplastics from decayed vegetables scavenged from dumping sites later in Nepal. “We are still debating on the pricing,” he adds,” it will be difficult to put on the same price as the other plastic bags due to its production cost but we are striving to habituate the people to this new form of bag, and maintain the price as low as possible.”
Humble request from Bioplastics Nepal
Unlike the polythene plastic bags, which require thousands of years to decompose, bioplastics can decompose within six months. While we are cognizant about the threat of polythene bags, it’s high time we unfold eco-friendly alternatives to this long overdue problem. Having said that, Bioplastics Nepal discourages adding piles of bags frequently. They humbly request people to get accustomed to reusing the bags until they disintegrate..