A Student's Journey to a Sustainable Alternative to Plastic Bags
Today, when I look back on my career of 20+ years of management in the field of plastic processing and manufacturing, I recall the entire life cycle of plastics, from the birth of commercial plastic products to the declining demand for plastic products due to climate change, global warming, and consumption of natural resources.
My childhood passion for plastics encouraged me to study chemical engineering. At the time, there were not enough schools to study plastic engineering, but I maintained my interest and began my career in 1989 in Styrofoam cups and containers manufacturing (single use products) in India. I slowly learned that my products were creating municipal waste that could not be easily recycled and therefore were not environmentally friendly. I refocused my career towards plastic injection molding, because many plastic molded products can be recycled and much of the material can be reused. With time, however, I realized plastics manufacturing and processing of all sorts cannot help but consume natural resources, produce pollution, and fill up landfills.
I was torn and deeply saddened. Plastics had long been my passion, but I could not look away from the difficult truth: they are dangerous for our environment and planet. As a major factor in the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, plastics production has been causing environmental pollution, natural disaster and resource consumption. Realizing this, I began to study “green manufacturing”, “clean energy” and “renewable material” in hopes of learning to build management systems that could accord with our natural world. Sustainability guru Ray Anderson’s thinking began to inform my own:
“Linear must go; cyclic must replace it. That’s nature’s way. In nature, there is no waste; one organism‘s waste is another’s food. For our industrial process, so dependent on petro-chemical, man-made raw materials, this means technical “food” to be reincarnated by recycling into the product’s next life cycle. Of course, the recycling operations will have to be driven by solar energy too.”
When I asked about how to make all these changes, I learned that adopting and practicing awareness for sustainability can help us to bring “The Green Spring” on planet earth where we can hear birds singing, rivers flowing, and live with no draughts and no hurricanes.
My love and concern about nature motivated me to continue my learning at Harvard University with courses in Sustainable Management and Environmental Science. Through this coursework, I have come to understand that sustainability is not a profession but a practice, that is, a consistent enactment of awareness in daily life, on all levels. Sustainability is micro process that requires 24/7 conscious efforts at practice by an individual or by any organizations.
At present, I am working on various projects of bioplastics, such as products which are available in regular non-degradable plastics with short “use” phases as an effort to cut-down landfill waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint.
Our latest product launch is “bioDOGradable Waste Pick-Up Bags”. Our new generation bioplastic product in an effort to eliminate the use of trillions of plastic bags each year. Made with natural and renewable resources, bioDOGradable bioplastics bags promote minimized environmental pollution and improved sustainability. Our mission is to support pet waste disposal efforts in the most eco-friendly approach that results in a positive momentum towards healing our planet. We strive to make a difference in the life you live, with the pets you love.
The foundation of my approach to nature’s needs stems from a professional knowledge and learning in sustainability from the extremely talented staff of Harvard University Extension School during my study for Online Professional Certification in Sustainability at Harvard, and a continuous search for alternative, environmentally-friendly material sources and processes.
Derived from renewable resources, the bioDOGradable bag material benefits from the Vincotte “OK Compost” and “OK Compost Home” labels, which is in accordance to the European standard (EN 13432) for compostability in industrial composting installations and home garden compost heap.
After the use and responsible disposal, bioDOGradable bags are broken down by microorganisms. This process produces good quality humus, suitable for use in gardening or agriculture. It is a natural process for reusing waste.
My passion for sustainability comes from our innermost care for the health of humans, pets, and the environment overall.
We define sustainability as the consistent enactment of awareness to reduce the consumption of natural resources and the production of waste at both the individual and organizational level while maintaining current and long-term economic prosperity alongside minimizing negative impacts on the environment and human health progressing towards a net positive outcome for the future.
Remember! Responsible disposal of pet waste is a sustainable act. In other words, Sustainability is a 24/7 act. My urge to whole world is "Be Aware, Be Sustainable".