The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy/Tourism and Creative Economy Agency introduced a creative food packaging product made from betel nut midrib called ‘Plepah’ at a media meeting held on Thursday (3/6).Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy/Head of the Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno accompanied by Expert Staff for Innovation and Creativity, Josua Puji Mulia Simanjuntak, along with Plepah Team Representative, Rengkuh Banyu Mahandaru, presented products that they hope could be solutions to the global issue:trash. Plepah products are processed betel nut tree’s waste as an alternative economic income for the people of South Sumatra and Jambi. The products in the form of plates and food packaging are sturdy, waterproof, and heat-resistant up to 200 degrees Celsius so that they can be put in the oven and microwave and decomposed in the soil in 60 days.
Plepah was initiated by Community Driven Innovation dealing with a waste problem in which the most waste is Styrofoam waste.According to Minister Sandiaga Uno, Foot-lose Community Driven Innovation has implemented adaptation, collaboration, and innovation. Adapting to environmental issues, the community collaborates with the Musi Banyuasin Government and the local communities. The innovation provides solutions for the environment, social matters and it creates jobs, avoids and reduces the use of Styrofoam.
From research in 18 cities, the contribution of Styrofoam waste is 0.27 to 0.59 tons in Indonesia waters. This is worrying for marine biota. Therefore, the solution created is to present food packaging from natural materials, such as betel nut midrib.These basic materials are commonly found in oil palm plantations and rubber plantations. In addition, this creative product also opens up wide employment for the local community.Quoted from the official Plepah website, this product was developed because of concerns about organic waste which is considered garbage, then cannot be processed.Therefore, organic waste, such as betel nut midrib is developed into a product of economic value through the role of community empowerment. This product consists of an eco-friendly disposable plate and a packaged lunch box.