The trial is as part of Indian Railways’ effort to contribute to a greener eco’-system and comes just months after the national carrier drew flak for the food served on its trains.
“IRCTC with this new initiative reaffirms its commitment to a cleaner and greener India and has taken a small step in this direction to achieve the same,” said the Railway ministry in a statement on Tuesday.
Bagasse refers to the fibrous remains left behind after extracting sugarcane juice. It is being used to make disposable cutlery and containers which will be used to serve meals onboard.
Provisions will be made to collect the used packaging. These will then be processed for disposal through composting to ensure environmental sustainability
“After the initial trials, the endeavour in the coming months would be to progressively introduce bagasse-based packaging as a viable alternative to non bio-degradable material currently being used on all Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto trains managed by IRCTC.”
The move comes barely a week after the Railways introduced new plates to be used for serving food on Tuesday.
Containers made of bagasse are firmer and can hold reasonable weight. In fact, they are even microwavable, officials said.
However, the cost of this greenware might exceed that of plastic as plates made of bagasse cost Rs 4 Rs 8 apiece as compared to Re 1 – Rs 5 in case of plastic. Officials nevertheless maintained that the environmental benefits outweighed the negatives.