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Cassava Bioplastic: Dissolvable and drinkable 'plastic' straight out of Bali

Coconuts logo Coconuts 18/1/2017

Bali is plagued with plastic. 

Plastic litters the island’s beautiful beaches and clogs sewers. 

Hoping to bring a solution to the table, a man in Bali has apparently come up with a biodegradable and compostable ‘plastic’ material—made from cassava—that dissolves in hot water and is even safe for consumption. 

This is the same guy behind those eco-friendly biowear ponchos and biodegradable packaging you can find around Bali. 

Kevin Kumala takes a gulp of his "green drink". © Coconuts Media Kevin Kumala takes a gulp of his "green drink".

Using cassava starch, vegetable oil, and organic resins for the bio-plastic, local surfer and entrepreneur Kevin Kumala even drank a glass of his own cassava plastic material to show that he and his social enterprise, Avani, are not just making claims. 

"I wanted to show this bioplastic would be so harmless to sea animals that a human could drink it," Kumala said, as quoted by CNN. "I wasn't nervous because it passed an oral toxicity test.”

Kumala is working towards the same goal as the “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” Green School students, who have pressured the governor to ban plastic bags in Bali by 2018. 

"The government is supporting us and we are working with them to create a roadmap to be plastic-free by 2018," Kumala told CNN. "On an island like Bali it is becoming inevitable that they have to execute right away.”

Time will tell if Kumala’s cassava plastic is the solution to our giant, mega-landfill-sized plastic problem. 

As with almost anything, one of the major challenges facing Avani is funding, though Avani has reportedly landed funding from a private equity group for the first time. 

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