Replacing single-use plastics with natural alternatives lasting 90 days, not 500 years…this company is making that a reality
David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 was my wake-up call.
Those moments in the final episode where they showed the scale and effects of plastic pollution in the ocean completely shocked me. I’d made the switch from plastic water bottles to a metal one because of health concerns over BPA in plastic, but I wasn’t religious about it. And my takeaway coffee habit was anything but sustainable.
But after seeing that programme, I made a concerted effort to reduce the single-use items in my life. Along with the rest of the planet it seems!
That’s why I cheer every time I hear about individuals and companies working to eradicate single-use products. Today, that’s Savera Weerasinghe and her company Ananta Sustainables.
After studying social entrepreneurship and environmental studies at NYU, Savera returned to Sri Lanka where she started working with her family in their packaging factory selling primarily to industrial clients in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India
‘I realised that the people we were servicing don’t really care’ about the environment, she recently told Forbes. And after the 2017 landfill collapse in Colombo killing 95 people, she knew she had to do something. ‘It was horrifying that people were actually killed by trash.’
She co-founded Ananta Sustainables with Ohan Hominis. The company produces compostable takeaway containers, cutlery and straws that they sell to businesses in the food industry and to hospitals. And they also offer a consultancy service to help others become more sustainable with their packaging.
Ananta is also incredibly active in the local community, organising trash clean ups, hosting events about waste management and design thinking and even hosting Sri Lanka’s first plogging event – the Swedish trend of combining jogging and litter pick ups.
‘I can feel frustrated, I can feel angry but it doesn’t help me if I don’t have hope that more people [will] act like responsible citizens. I think if people know that little old Sri Lanka is doing something, that is hopeful.’Savera Weerasinghe