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Indonesian startup goes eco-friendly with edible cup

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Mon, December 18, 2017 | 05:32 pm

Ever wondered what it would be like to literally eat your cup while drinking from it?

Established in 2016, Jakarta-based startup Evoware has produced several eco-friendly products, including an edible seaweed-based cup called "Ello Jello."

Available in a range of colors, "Ello Jello" may sound like a jelly-based cup, but Evoware co-founder David Christian said it had a firmer structure that allowed it to hold hot liquids.

“We don’t use any artificial sweeteners and preservatives. [The cup] takes 40 minutes to make,” David said, adding that the company could create 100 cups at a time depending on the mold.

"Ello Jello" is available in several different flavors, including orange, lychee, green tea and peppermint, and can last up to seven days when being stored in the fridge.

David said the startup was also selling the cup’s ingredients in a powdered form with an accompanying mold, allowing people to make their own "Ello Jello" cups. “But we currently only sell it to restaurants because of a minimum order requirement and the price is more suitable to a reseller,” he said.

The product's price starts at Rp 18,000 per 100 mL cup for less than 20 items in quantity.

Evoware also makes biodegradable packaging made from dried seaweed. Introduced in September, the company is said to be able to produce 60 sheets of such packaging a day, which can be easily dissolved in water and serve as a safe wrapper for sandwiches, coffee powder, dry seasoning and soap bars.

The packaging, which lasts up to two years, is also edible or can be turned into fertilizer as it will decompose in 1-2 months.

Read also: The rise and fall of plastic bags: A social marketing paradox

Evoware is able to produce 60 sheets of biodegradable packaging in a day.Evoware is able to produce 60 sheets of biodegradable packaging in a day. (Evoware/File)

All Evoware’s nutritious products are said to have been tested by agriculture agency Balai Besar Industri Argo (BBIA) in Bogor, West Java.

Seaweed was chosen as the main material in line with the company's mission to utilize natural resources. “Indonesia is one of the largest producers of seaweed. Although the country produces tons of seaweed per year, the welfare of many seaweed farmers is still below standard,” David said. “Therefore, we collaborate with koperasi [cooperatives] in Makassar, South Sulawesi, to purchase seaweed directly from local farmers at a decent price.”

“The koperasi itself comprises 1,200 farmers. One farmer is able to produce 2.5 tons of seaweed every one to two months,” David said. “We currently still get seaweed from farmers in Makassar because we’re still new and our production scale is still small.”

In addition to being rich in nutrition, Evoware believes that seaweed is highly beneficial for the environment. “Seaweed absorbs carbon dioxide and is food for fish, thus playing an important role in the ecosystem of the sea," said David. (kes)

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