Thatched roofs, woven bags, brooms and even toothpicks — there are innumerable uses for coconut leaves as a natural alternative to other products.
And this Bengaluru-based English Professor’s innovation from coconut leaves can potentially eradicate one of the biggest environmental hazards — plastic straws.
According to this 2018, India Today report, India creates 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every single year of which only 9 per cent of it has been recycled.
Saji Varghese, 51, an associate professor at the Department of English, Christ University, Bengaluru first came across the thought of making straws out of coconut leaves when he noticed several dry coconut leaves lying on the campus ground.
“Each year a coconut tree naturally loses upto six of its leaves. From the results of a study I carried on the same subject, I found out that in many rural areas in our country, these leaves are simply burnt due to the difficulty in its disposal. That’s when I decided to create an eco-friendly product out of it in 2017,” Saji explains.
In just two years, he developed unique coconut leaf straws that sell at a Rs 3-10/straw. He claims to have received orders for more than 20 million straws from over 10 countries since he introduced the product in the market.