“Every plastic article we use today will come back to us in future.”
A few months back before the Corona and lockdown happened, my roommate had a dream. She told me that it was a scary world. And she couldn’t breathe. All the animals were dead, and she could see no life on the beach. The ocean didn’t show the slightest hint of blue or fresh air. She said that it felt more frightening than her ‘Nazi regime’ dream. Earth with no signs of life!
Meanwhile, I imagined a world cocooned in plastic and toxins, the very famous picture on the internet people share on every Earth day (since the last decade).
Earth wrapped in a polythene bag, more precisely—smothered.
Reading “Save Mother Earth!!” while eating chocolate nicely staring out of a plastic wrapper.
Dear Ms Chocolate laughs at the irony.
My friend gets crazy nightmares, but are they really as insane as the human intent to take over? Are they just truly, the reality?
Nat Geo states in “10 Shocking Facts about Plastic” that virtually every seabird species would be feeding on plastic by 2050. Though that might not seem to affect us directly, we’re going to face the consequences too. Food web and biomagnification bring back our mistakes to our plates.
According to studies by the University of Vienna, the presence of microplastics in human faeces has been observed. We’re consuming micro-plastic. It’s interwoven with our lives, from toothpaste to lipsticks. This calls for the need to act sooner than we thought.
From concern to action – The Beco Story
Chocolate wrapper thrown decades back was found by a trio on a beach clean-up in Mumbai. One of their parents recognised that it was a chocolate bar discontinued in the 1990s.
The Trio— Aditya, Anuj and Akshay felt the shock that reality bore and Beco was born. They wanted to find an alternative to plastic inside-out. Beco was started in 2018 after thorough in house R&D and analysis of consumption-markets across the globe. Beco provides eco-friendly products ranging from bamboo-based toilet rolls, reusable kitchen towels to facial tissues and compostable garbage bags. They aim to make sustainability, an affordability. We’ve quite often come across sustainable products but their high prices bent them into elitism. Beco wants to break the stereotype which provides an excuse for not adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
Plastic scores zero
This Mumbai-based startup has been on a rise owing to their creative solutions. As they deal in various daily use products from toothpicks to earbuds, they totally exclude plastic from the process.
Reportedly, bamboo species secured the Guinness World Record for the fastest growing plant on Earth.
Bamboo can be regrown 5x times faster than the other trees, thus their use helps restore the balance without harming the environment. So, Beco uses corn-starch and bamboo pulp, thus making the products completely organic, biodegradable, compostable, paraben-free and bleach-free. All of their products compost between 2-6 months and can be composted at home as well as an industry.
The innovators went a step further by using recycled or craft paper for packaging. Beco uses 0% plastic throughout, from manufacturing to packaging. Their products are currently available in 2000+ stores, e-commerce platforms, and their own online shop. They have robust offline channels, while the online platforms have increased their visibility in public.
Beco is a part of Startup India. Their efforts have also been recognised by Indian Railways who are replacing the previously used flatware with Beco’s 100% Bamboo tissues, towel rolls and cutlery.
They source the raw materials from Northeast states and Maharashtra. This creates more opportunities for Bamboo Cultivators, Collectors, labourers and workers. And being a part of essential services ensures the employment and the earnings for workers even during the pandemic.
Beco is also voluntarily cleaning the beaches. Their ‘Green Gang’ has cleaned more than 15 tonnes of waste from Mumbai shoreline during beach cleanups. Their passion and dedication towards the environment are contagious.
While working towards the UN-SDGs, obstacles are bound to be there. Change is difficult as always, but it can be realised gradually. While talking to team ulaunch, Aditya mentioned the problem of bleak consumer awareness and inertia in the market. It was challenging for them to convince the shopkeepers initially, but as the awareness increased, things got somewhat smooth. The Covid-19 phase has been a problem because as a young team, they prefer working closely. Although, silver-lining being that people are getting more conscious about their choices and effects. Thus more people are reaching out to them to enquire about the products.
The segregation of waste stands as a big concern in India. Homogeneity of material is not really achieved and recycling becomes an issue leading to mountains of garbage. Thus, Beco has made its products completely biodegradable, which becomes easier in India’s warm and tropical climate.
Biodegradability, affordability and completely plastic-free nature of their products make them stand apart. They’d soon be exporting to regions like Mid-East and America, so that sustainability is scaled up across the globe.
Trail of responsibility
Beco wants to send a strong message, ‘Act now!’ Plastic doesn’t leave us so simply, it chokes life. Quite often, animals are seen eating polythene and dying in big cities. And however distant we might be, we all need to realise the pain. In the end, everything comes back to you. And, it’s time to decide what we want coming back to us. Making more conscious choices, opting to such an affordable- sustainable lifestyle can bring about a change.
A desperately needed change.
Article by Prachi Chauhan, Team ulaunch.