Eco-friendly products get a thumbs up

Apart from usual range of garments, gadgets and furniture, this year's India International Trade Fair saw a wide range of environment-friendly goods — from wooden toys painted in vegetable dyes to natural cotton fabrics, designed keeping in mind the weather conditions of the subcontinent.

To top it all, the fair on Monday had the launch of an eco-friendly bag. The bag is 'photo-degradable' — it will start breaking up within 40 days and completely degrade within 240 days of exposure to sunlight.

"The cost of ECOgrade degradable bag is approximately Rs 250 per kg while that of plastic bags is Rs 160 per kg. However, we are planning to import a special kind of resin, which is used in manufacturing this product. If manufactured in India, the cost of the product will come down substantially," Dalip Rohra, distributor of GXT ECOgrade bags, said.

"If you burn the bag, it does not produce smoke. It only produces ash, which can be used," Prabhat Sharma, ITPO general manager (corporate communications), said.

"While plastic bags decompose very slowly and produce toxic chemicals, paper bags take more than four times the energy needed to decompose plastic and generates 70 per cent more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than it takes to manufacture plastic bags," Rohra said.

A stall set up by Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Rural Industrialisation (MGIRI) at the Khadi and Village Industries Commission pavilion had on display a variety of products made from organic waste.

Talking about the products, made from cow dung and human hair, K R Yadav, Deputy Director (Bio-processing and Herbal division), MGIRI, said: "A herbal disinfectant has been made out of cow dung. We also have mosquito repellent coils made of cow dung and oil. These coils can be used even by asthma patients. They do not cause any difficulty in breathing."

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