Transitioning from Single-Use Plastic to Biodegradable Polymers

Sandeep Tyagi, Co-Founder of UKHI India speaks to Thought Habitat on sustainable use of plastic, alternatives and the future scope.

Plastic is the primary contributor to environmental degradation. Every year, 12 million tons of plastic finds its way to the ocean and they cause havoc to marine life to a large extent. On the land, plastic never degrades rather it lies and affects soil quality.

To overcome these challenges, Ukhi India, a pioneering material science startup is dedicated coming up with alternatives to eliminate the utility of single-use plastic in the environment. Sandeep Tyagi, Co-Founder of UKHI India speaks to Thought Habitat on sustainable use of plastic, alternatives and the future scope.

Edited Excerpts:

Sustainable use of Plastic

The rise in single-use plastic (SUP) products has spurred innovation in biodegradable and compostable polymers derived from agricultural waste, offering an environmentally friendly alternative. These polymers decompose rapidly, integrating back into the ecosystem without long-lasting pollution. They exemplify sustainable innovation by minimizing reliance on finite fossil fuels and fostering a circular economy. Collaboration across sectors is essential for widespread adoption. Embracing these materials signifies a commitment to environmental stewardship and a sustainable future, where plastics contribute positively to progress rather than ecological harm.

Cost effective alternatives

Transitioning from conventional single-use plastics (SUPs) to biodegradable polymers derived from agricultural waste holds promise for environmental mitigation. However, the cost gap between agricultural-based biopolymers and fossil fuel-derived plastics presents a challenge. This is due to the nascent biopolymer industry, limited economies of scale, and complexities in waste sourcing and processing. Yet, with growing sustainability focus, demand, and R&D investment, costs are expected to decrease. Scaling up production capacity is critical, as current capacity falls short. Collaboration among stakeholders is key to overcoming barriers. Despite present cost challenges, concerted efforts can lead to widespread adoption of sustainable alternative ushering in a greater future.

Agri-waste based biodegradable plastic

Ukhi specializes in producing biodegradable polymer granules derived from agricultural waste, offering a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-based polymers. These granules are compatible with traditional plastic machinery, enabling the manufacturing of injection molded single-use items, blown films for products such as polybags and industrial wraps, and vacuum-formed products like plates and containers without requiring additional investment from industries.

Moreover, our technology facilitates the transformation of these granules into textile fibers and fabrics suitable for fashion, medical, and industrial applications. Our materials are certified as home compostable and comply with both Indian and international pollution control standards, providing cost-saving solutions for brands and manufacturers.

By utilizing agricultural waste as a primary raw material, we actively support large-scale plantation and commercial farming, contributing to the reduction of land erosion and the sustainability of rural livelihoods.

Expansion strategy for Ukhi

We’re establishing a manufacturing facility in IMT Faridabad with an initial capacity of 4.0 tons per day, slated for enhancement to 25-30 tons per day within the next 2-3 years.

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