Across the world, plastic is having a detrimental effect on the environment, but in India it seems to be a more magnified problem connected to health too. With a large streetfood culture, India’s plastic cutlery waste is highly damaging. What if our plastic spoons could be disposed of in a non-destructive way or be used to create a positive impact? Narayana Peesapaty has the answer: Bakey’s Edible Cutlery.
Bakey’s Edible Cutlery is made from various flours – mainly Jowar (sorgum) – and then kneaded with plain water. It has no preservatives, no food colouring and is entirely edible. Founded in 2011 in Hyderabad, India, this groundwater researcher created a fully nutritious spoon.
The concept is simple, you eat your food or drink your tea, munch on your cutlery to finish off your meal or, if you aren’t feeling peckish for a nutritious post-meal snack, you can simply throw the spoon away. It is safe for stray animals or insects to eat and degrades in under 3 days. What I’m still puzzling over is how the cutlery A) doesn’t soften in hot liquids and B) doesn’t break our teeth.
Now for the sustainable part. Yes, this spoon reduces plastic waste. Yes, it means we aren’t in direct contact with toxins that plastics contain. Yes, it is nutritious, but Bakey’s Edible Cutlery goes a step further. Groundwater depletion is an ever-growing issue and, according to Narayana, it isn’t to do with a lack of rain. Instead, the issue lies in farmers changing their crop cultivation to rice. To put this into context, 1kg of rice uses 5,000 litres of water. Millets, on the other hand, uses 60 times less water than rice does, hence the main flour in Bakey’s Edible Cutlery being Jowar which is made from millets. Narayana understood that the only way to encourage farmers to switch to millets was via demand which is exactly what his product creates. His estimation model predicts that by decreasing 25% of rice cultivation, the groundwater depleting trend will be reversed.
The actual cutlery comes in various flavours including savoury (rock salt, black pepper, cumin seeds and ajwain), sweet (has a dash of sugar) and plain. A pack contains 100 spoons and costs Rs.275 which includes shipping within India. If you want to have it sent abroad, you need to email Bakey’s Edible Cutlery directly. The aim is to grow direct connections with millet farmers to eventually reduce the costs to the price of a plastic spoon.
Personally, I love the raw aesthetics of the cutlery and the entire concept linking up to several health and environmental issues is simply brilliant. As someone who is permanently hungry, it sounds like a dream come true. Food, dessert and then cutlery… Mmm. My only qualm is this: if you are so anti plastic, why are your spoons packaged in plastic?