Although we are trying our best to abandon plastic, we are still not using plastic-free cups. The cups being sold under the name ‘paper cup’ are not completely plastic-free. They have a thin plastic lining on them. This makes them non-biodegradable.
The reason for adding this plastic layer is to make the cups water-resistant. But it defeats the whole purpose of having paper cups. This is dangerous because most of us buy products just by looking at the ‘eco-friendly’ tag. We don’t do proper research before buying things.
Pinyapel is a product that has been launched to solve the problem of the plastic lining in cups. It is created by the researchers of the Philippines. These cups are made up of pineapple leaves and contain 100% paper. The process of making these cups doesn’t involve the felling of trees.
The word ‘Pinyapel’ is made by joining two Filipino words- pinya meaning pineapple and papel meaning paper. The group won the Wood Pencil Award in D&AD Future Impact Awards due to their creation. It is an event that is held every year and it recognizes the projects that are world-changing.
The bags, sheets, and plastic-free cups are not only minimal in nature but also very aesthetic. The paper is fully safe to be used for food packaging. Their rate of decomposition is much faster than other products made up of paper. The DCP (Design Centre of the Philippines) conducted tests on Pinyapel that showed it to lose 55.32% of mass in 4 weeks. This is considerably higher than the rate at which the commercial bags made of paper lose mass (21.33%).
Members of various public and private organizations like the DCP, Nature’s Fresh, Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper and Ideatechs Packaging Corporation came together to create Pinyapel. Cagayan de Oro’s founder Lolita Cabanlet first thought of making use of pineapple leaves. They then made a collaboration with the DCP that is focused on R&D of products so as to put their country on the global map.
Nature’s Fresh is a popular company supplying pineapple products. The discarded leave of pineapple was sourced from them. And the Ideatechs Packaging Corporation helped make the proper packaging material out of these sheets.
Aside from packaging, Pinyapel is also used to make decor items like light fixtures.
According to the Executive Director of DCP, the Pinyapel is aiming to replace the containers being used for takeaway food packaging. She also said that they want the Pinyapel to end up in the compost bins so that they’ll make the soil richer. The Director said that they plan to give back to the earth and be responsible for the safety of future generations.
The Pinyapel plastic-free cups are to generate less agricultural waste. It is also expected to provide more livelihood chances to the farmers.
According to the U.N., only 9% of the total plastic waste in the world is recycled. The prototypes of Pinyapel products have been displayed all over the world but the commercial use is yet to commence.
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