In a previous article we addressed the issue of plastic pollution, so it's no surprise that a variety of startups are coming up with innovative ways to reduce or replace single-use plastics.
The Indonesian startup Evoware is one of many working to reduce plastic waste; however, they stand out from the competition. Evoware creates food-packaging products out of seaweed, and their products are eco-friendly, biodegradable, edible, and healthy.
Their products are great for the environment and for seaweed farmers who are in a viable industry. According to their site, Indonesia is the world's second largest plastic waste contributor to the world's oceans. In addition, about 90% of all plastic waste goes into the ocean, and 70% of that waste comes from food and beverage packaging alone. We've all heard the statistic that in just over three decades, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean; however, in Indonesia, a quarter of all fish sold in markets is already contaminated by plastic. Evoware's products will reduce waste, reduce carbon emissions, and help maintain seashore cleanliness.
Seaweed farming is significant because a lot of seaweed production is dumped as waste or oversupply. What’s more, most seaweed farmers aren’t benefiting financially from their endeavors, since they are often plagued by unethical loan contracts. Almost all of Indonesia's poorest provinces are producing seaweed right now. There just isn’t a big enough market for it - yet. In this way, Evoware can potentially increase the income of seaweed farmers and improve their wellbeing by increasing the amount of money that can be made on seaweed, which would ordinarily be tossed as waste.
Their seaweed-based packaging is halal, zero waste, fully biodegradable, can act as a natural fertilizer when no longer needed, and has a shelf life of 2 years. The packaging is also safe for consumption; in fact, it is nutritious. Once ordered companies can customize Evoware’s products since they’re printable and heat sealable. Though the products are described as "almost tasteless and odorless," businesses can also elect to have custom flavors, colors and brand logos printed on them.
Evoware’s ready-made products include edible grade food wrappers, coffee sachets, dry seasoning packets and biodegradable soap packaging, but they aren’t limited to those few products. Should businesses need any other kind of packaging, they are invited to contact the company for a customized order. According to their site, their products are best used for sachets, wraps, seasoning packs, cereal, single service coffee powders, condiments and burger wraps. Product pricing starts at IDR 240 a piece (approximately $0.017). Though their products are not yet available in physical stores, Evoware products can be purchased by emailing, or by calling them on their WhatsApp line.
The founders come from a variety of fields, like engineering, business, finance, biotechnology, design, marketing, and sustainability, but their goals are the same - to benefit farmers and the environment. Currently, their biggest task is ensuring that seaweed packaging is more affordable for businesses, as currently, it is more expensive than plastic packaging. They're hoping that as interest is generated for biodegradable, edible packaging, the demand will help drive prices down.
Evoware is a product and service brand which brings out the value of eco-friendly innovation to Indonesia's urban people. Through Evoware's product, people can become more aware of their surroundings and live with sustainability.
- Evoware Facebook Statement
Evoware regards itself as a socially-responsible startup that genuinely seeks to bring people closer to nature, and ensure sustainable practices can improve the lives and livelihoods of others. In addition to producing sustainable products, they participate in neighborhood initiates focused on issues like reducing micro-plastic in waterways, combating fashion waste, sustainable eating, and ending single-use plastic pollution.
With products that look and feel like plastic but don't produce CO2, harm fish, pollute the oceans and can be ingested by customers, amazing things are coming up for this startup. The change begins with awareness of the overuse of and astronomical waste generated by single-use plastic. To transition to a waste-free packaging environment, real, ethical solutions like Evoware are vital, as is engaging with local farmers and encouraging the community to think critically about the waste we produce.