Kenyans could soon be serving meals on plates made from tree waste.
An Indian company is seeking business partners in Kenya to set up dealership and distribution outlets for a plate that is made with the recycled parts of the areca nut tree.
The plate, which is made from the fallen bark of the areca nut tree along with the leaves, is a famous serving in India, and is expected to hit the Kenyan market early 2016.
“We are speaking to a few people to pitch for opportunities to supply the product in Kenya,” says Arindam Dasgupta, the chief executive officer Tambul Plate Marketing Pvt Ltd. “We see a lot of potential in Kenya and other African countries.”
At the moment, says Dasgupta, the plate sells at 10 to 15 US cents in the Indian market, but TPMPL will quote a price for Kenyan consumers depending on the findings of an ongoing market survey.
The product has won recognition from UN’s SEED, for its ability to cut on carbon emissions.
UNEP experts say the use of the Tambul plate reduces six kilogrammes of carbon dioxide emissions emitted by the Styrofoam plate, which is the standard serving in hospitality presently.
“Only heat and water is used in making the product,” explains Dasgupta.
Bidco group director Dipak Shah says the shifting appetite for recycled products will cut the use of disposable plastics, accelerating Kenya and Africa into a green economy.
“Today we use a lot of disposable plastics in many functions, events, on the aeroplanes, in industries, in factories, and in homes,” says Shah. “All of this can be replaced by biodegradable products.”
However, innovation hubs argue that such a technology can be useful for Kenya if the product can be manufactured within the country.
The business model may not necessarily work well in other countries just because it works well in some, argues Helen Marquard, the SEED chairperson.