Dubai – When you buy something in a store, do you rely on the store’s plastic bags to get your items home? Or do you bring your reusable bag? Avani aims to help rehabilitate the Middle East by offering 100% sustainable disposable packaging solutions and compostable plastic alternatives. Last month it opened a production facility in Dubai to fulfil rapidly growing local demand.
Avani, which means ‘mother earth’ in Bahasa, was established in 2014 as a social enterprise on the Indonesian island of Bali. It aims to help rehabilitate the island by offering 100% disposable packaging materials and compostable plastic.
“Can I offer you a plastic bag which is made out of Cassava? Or do you prefer a plastic cup produced from corn? How about a take-away box made from the waste materials of sugarcane?”, said Peter Avram director of Avani Middle East.
Avram has a history of over 22 years in the UAE. He worked in senior management positions in the hospitality sector including the Ritz Carlton, the Jumeirah Group and Meraas. “The plastic bag that lies here on the table is 100 per cent compostable. It takes about three months. It is even safe when accidentally consumed by a land or sea animal”, Avram explained.
Avram is licensed to manufacture and sell Avani’s products in the Middle East and GCC countries. One of Avani’s core objectives is to provide affordable & eco-friendly alternatives. The goal is to minimize the number of toxic plastics consumed and discarded into the regions critical ecosystems. In a relatively short period, the company managed to get over 300 customers. These customers vary from the coffee shop around the corner to market leaders as Atlantis the Palm, Marriott International and the Virgin Megastores.
“Virgin is one of our main clients, and the Virgin Group’s founder Richard Branson is one of our main advocates. When they started using our bags and introduced a 1 Dirham fee per bag, do you know what happened? Within a matter of weeks, they saw a 60% reduction in bag usage. I find that truly amazing and fantastic”, he added.
The Romanian national strongly believes in his company’s social mission. Avani is proud to have introduced an educational element through partnership programs in which things like how to maintain a sustainable future for generations to come is a core message. At the same time, it explains, for example, to packers in the supermarket how to use fewer bags when packaging groceries.
On Tuesday Abu Dhabi announced that it plans to eliminate single-use plastic bags by 2021. The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) confirmed the move, which includes accelerating a sustainable circular economy for plastics.
Avram is very pleased by this move which will accelerate the already rapidly growing interest from some of the big local retailers and supermarkets. “We have to take action now and reduce the large amounts of plastic we all consume. That is one of my most important motives to be active in this business. Our products can strongly support these important Government initiatives.”