Govt’s eco-friendly push seeks to bag plastic

New Delhi: Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani on Friday said that the innovative spirit of India needs to be institutionalised for developing eco-friendly and cost-friendly alternative ideas that can also be utilised to create job opportunities. At the awards ceremony of the Textile Grand Challenge 2019, she said that the contribution of innovative ideas by the participants is an indication that the legacy of India is steeped in equal opportunities for all.

Irani stressed the need to upgrade textiles machine technology especially in the jute sector and proposed to organise a Grand Machinery Challenge for the textile sector to throw up new technologies.

The Textile Grand Challenge 2019 was organised by the Ministry of Textiles with the active support of National Jute Board and the Start-Up India Team of the Department for Promotion of Industry & Industrial Trade (DPIIT). The aim of organising this historic event was to bring forward innovative ideas by start-ups/entrepreneurs for development of cost effective and low-weight carry bags using jute bio-mass, jute plant based bio-polymer and cotton fibre waste tophase out plastic bags. It is also an initiative towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ under which innovative solutions were sought for (i) Alternative to single use Plastic bags and (ii) Alternative to Multi-use Plastic bags, using domestically grownnatural fibres viz; jute and cotton.

A total of 67 entries were received for the challenge, out of which three participants – 2 for ideas on alternative for single use plastic bags and 1 for idea on alternative for multi-use plastic bags were selected and awarded by the Ministry with cash prizes. The selected/winners Start-Ups are M/s Awega Green Technologies, Pune; M/s Dhriti BioSolutions, Mysuru and M/s Sakthi NonWovens, Chennai.

The ideas so presented are unique and innovative using jute bio-mass, jute starch based bio-polymer and cotton waste fibres to manufacture non-woven carry bags which are cost effective, low-weight and sturdy to carry grocery and shopped items. The awards were presented at the respective locations and the ceremony was attended by Ravi Capoor, Secretary, Textiles, by video conferencing, where stalwarts of textile sector also participated in the virtual mode.

Capoor, informed that the Ministry under the guidance of Irani, is conceiving a national-level authority that can centrally look after the much-needed development and promotion of the natural bast fibres like jute, flax, ramee, hemp, sisal, banana & bamboo which can also become a hub for alternatives to plastic.

He said that giving awards is the starting point for nurturing new start-ups and carrying them to the next level, which includes helping them to get finances and market for their products. He suggested that such entrepreneurs should be given display facilities prominently wherever the Ministry of Textiles participates in fairs and exhibitions across the world. This will help these entrepreneurs and products from India to find new export markets. Complimenting all the participants of the challenge, he expressed optimism that the new hackathon would be announced soon.

The Ministry of Textiles has appealed to industry stalwarts to take forward the newly developed ideas & technologies for helping to set up new ventures for manufacturing such biodegradable and non-polluting bags and to help these new start-ups to promote and market such innovative products.