India-based startup Yash Pakka is repurposing agriwaste to replace polystyrene foam
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Spotted: Plastic is a scourge on our environment, but its high performance and strength makes it perfect for packaging – particularly for food that has specific storage requirements.
One Indian startup determined to solve this dilemma is Yash Pakka, which transforms agriwaste into packaging products. The company is focused on sugarcane, which is the most-grown crop worldwide, according to 2021 figures highlighted by Statista. When the juice is extracted from sugarcane, what’s left is called bagasse, which historically has been left to rot or burnt as a biofuel, releasing carbon emissions.
Yash Pakka, by contrast, transforms bagasse into paper bags, moulded food trays, and flexible packaging that’s moisture- and oxygen-resistant and sustainable. According to the company, Pakka products are also backyard-compostable, meaning they can biodegrade at home in under six months without the need for mechanical processes. The company also produces agricultural pulp that can be used for a range of products, including a Styrofoam replacement, greaseproof paper, tissues, or as a growth medium for mushrooms.
The startup has already partnered with brands like KFC, Air India, Google, and Baskin Robbins. In April 2023, Yash Pakka signed a memorandum of understanding with leading sugar companies in Guatemala, with a move to develop a packaging plant in the country that should be operational by mid-2025, opening the company up to the US market.
Written By: Rachel Ward