Sonali Bag, a groundbreaking innovative green product made of jute polymer, is going to hit the market from next December, thanks to the efforts of producers.
Sources at Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) said the machine, which produces this eco-friendly polymer, is set to go for trial production from next week.
Sonali Bag is a synthesized polymer from jute fiber, which can be used to create a kind of bag that works, looks and feels like a polythene bag but without the negative environmental impact.
Once it hits the market, it is believed that the massive use of environment unfriendly polythene will be decreased drastically, saving the environment from destruction.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and UK-based Futamura Chemical Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for manufacturing biodegradable and environmentally-friendly poly bags made of jute, named ‘Sonali Bag’ last year. They are now ready to go for commercial production.
It was targeted to go commercially by July this year which is taking some more time for sustainable marketing of Sonali Bag, BJMC sources said.
Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, chief scientific officer at BJMC, the person who brought the new avenue of jute, said that they have set an initial target of producing 1 lakh bags, which will be available on the market from next December.
“The machine is ready to go for trial production of the environment-friendly polymer within next week at state-owned Latif Bawani Jute Mills Ltd,” Dr. Mubarak told the daily sun.
About the viability of the new product, he said though it is a little bit costly, it will surely be commercially viable.
“Polythene will be banned soon around the world. The rest of the world is looking for alternative green products of polythene and Sonali Bag is the best alternative of polythene. Bangladesh will be able to capture the market by exporting Sonali Bag,” Dr. Mubarak said.
Despite being biodegradable, this polymer is water and air resistant and is 1.5 times stronger than polythene. The eco-friendly polymer also decomposes in soil within five to six months as opposed to polythene, which could take several hundred years.
Furthermore, the material is durable and can support more weight than the conventionally used polythene bags.
In 2007, Dr. Khan and his team invented biodegradable Sonali Bag that got huge praise from across the world. After a decade of planning for its widespread and commercial use, the BJMC finally ran a pilot production to at the little extent in 2017.
Being a loss-making organization, the BJMC could not take the initiative further and the project remained at the testing stage. Even, the BJMC prepared a project worth of Tk 170 crore for the commercial production of Sonali Bag that did not see any progress.
In 2018, the BJMC once again came up with new efforts to bring the jute polymer in the market and signed an agreement with the UK-based company for commercial production.
Now, the BJMC thinks if they are able to make Sonali Bag commercial viable, entrepreneurs will also show interest in producing the bag under the private initiative.