The Indian government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed plant-based packaging as an alternative to single-use plastics.

The biodegradable packing bags are made using natural food-grade materials.

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The government agency collaborated with Acharya Nagarjuna University and sustainable packaging solution provider Ecolastic for this initiative.

In a joint statement, DRDO and Ecolastic said: “The bags, which come in two forms, soluble and insoluble, can be biologically degraded in three months and cause no harm to the environment whatsoever.

“Unlike conventional polyethylene bags made from petrochemicals, which are highly unsafe to the environment and takes years to degrade, these bags are the most sustainable, cost-effective and ocean-safe alternative to single-use plastics.”

The product was tested thoroughly to ensure accurate formulation before being launched.

DRDO chief scientist Dr Veera Bhrammam said: “We have taken care of strength and biodegradability factors and have achieved the most sustainable alternative to plastic. Not a single animal will be harmed with this product.”

Ecolastic technical director Purushottam said: “We can’t remove plastic completely from our life but we can find alternative solutions.

“The packaging bags launched today are the most sustainable alternative to single-use plastic.”

Ecolastic said it will provide material for industries looking to manufacture and distribute the packaging.

The sustainable product will contribute to the Indian Government’s goal of completely ending the use of single-use plastic in the country by next year.

Last November, India’s then-Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced plans to replace plastic teacups in railway stations across the country with sustainable alternatives.

Mr Goyal said that almost 400 stations had started serving tea in Kulhads, a type of earthenware cup traditional to India, and that efforts were underway to roll out the cups at stations across the country.