To every hopeful tote-bag-carrying environmentalist, plastic bags’ days are numbered. Bans on bags are slowly sweeping nations and companies alike. And Indonesian-based Avani Eco is dedicated to making biodegradable bags out of yuca root.
Avani Eco’s bags solve the problem of plastic harming animals when found in the seas because of its water-soluble properties. Since they’re made entirely of yuca, they’re totally safe to consume. Plastic bags amounted for 5-12 million metric tons of waste dumped into the ocean in 2010. But will Silicon Valley giants and celebrities back this product the same way they’ve supported faux meat burgers?
In order to create a demand for biodegradable bags, we’d have to recognize that the current plastic bags need to go. Plastic bag bans have been implemented on a global scale since 2002, with Bangladesh being the first country to enforce legislation. China, South Africa and Italy passed similar laws years later. In the U.S., major cities like Seattle, Austin, Chicago and Portland, Oregon all have restrictions on plastic bags. California lawmakers passed a bill banning single-use plastic bags in most stores in 2014, with the law rolling out to grocery stores and pharmacies in 2015 and liquor and convenience stores in 2016.
Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to join the party. Michigan banned the banning of plastic bags in local governments in 2016, the same year California’s statewide ban went into effect. Missouri, Idaho and Arizona have also put similar laws in place. This will probably be the status quo until we all agree that a substitute for plastic bags are needed.
In the meantime, California is taking its battle against plastic elsewhere. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) wrote a bill requiring servers at sit-down restaurants to ask diners if they’d like straws instead of automatically providing them.
The bill is a baby step, considering Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County already has a ban on single-use plastics, which includes straws. Other areas in the state have similar rules or are considering implementing them. Some bars and restaurants in the state have also opted to use compostable paper straws.