Prof Saji Varghese, a Bengaluru based professor, invented straws out of coconut leaves. He wanted to replace the plastic materials with environmental friendly things.
He used to teach English at Christ University and became a businessman within a few years by developing a unique straw. According to him, it will be a good livelihood for the rural people in coastal regions.
How did the idea pop up?
While returning home, one day, the professor saw a dry leaf that was folded in the shape of a straw.
When he experimented for a couple of months, he could produce the straws, but it was not strong enough to use it. Then, he started improving his method, and in 2018, he could finally develop multi-layered straw made out of coconut leaf.
These straws are organic and thus not anti-fungal, but can resist water for six hours with a life span of over 12 months.
The recipe of the straw-making
Take the coconut leaves to a lab, steam it under high pressure just to discover a natural shiny layer under the heat. At first, the straws were made with the help of basic machinery in three units in villages like Madurai, Tuticorin, Kasargod.
But, now it is going to cross over 20 units across the South Indian coastal region. It is not only eco-friendly but also has given a large amount of employment sector to rural women.
With the outbreak of the virus, these plastic products have become more menace to the environment. And these organic straws are just a step towards the betterment of the sustainability of the environment.
SunBird, the awards, and more
Mr. Varghese sells his products under the brand name SunBird, and within a year, he was flooded with orders across India and overseas as well. All the food businesses started to order his invention, the coconut straws. Till now, he has exported to 25 countries.
He has also received a patent for his company, and now he is producing coconut straws in a large quantity. He has also received the Swadeshi Startup award from IIT Delhi, the Swiss Re Shine Entrepreneur award, and the Climate Launchpad award from Scotland.
Who knew an English teacher could invent an eco-friendly organic straw from coconut leaves? You can never cease creativity. It gave employment to many rural women and saved a few people from the threat of plastic products.