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Wrapped in citrusy goodness

The non-biodegradable property of this plastic wraps product can heavily affect the environment

Published: 23rd January 2022 08:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2022 08:32 AM   |  A+A-

Eco-friendly gift wrapping paper made using orange and lemon peels by Namya Parikh

Eco-friendly gift wrapping paper made using orange and lemon peels by Namya Parikh

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about environmental change? For many, it will either be a visual of oceans overflowing with plastic debris or a list of companies responsible for contributing to global plastic pollution.

Although these are major issues, there are smaller elements in everyday practises that can also have a harmful impact on the world. A case in point is the use of plastic gift wrapping paper. Such paper, though pretty to look at, are often discarded after single use. The non-biodegradable property of this oft-used product can heavily affect the environment.

Aware of the environmental toll of such wrapping paper, Namya R Parikh (21) from South West Delhi decided to craft an innovative and sustainable material for gift wrapping as part of a lockdown project. Parikh, who is currently pursuing product industrial design from Pearl Academy, shares, “During our online classes, we were introduced to sustainability and how people were coming up with biodegradable materials at home. This became my source of inspiration.”

Her home kitchen was a starting point, where Parikh sifted through a number of biodegradable waste such as eggshells and vegetable scraps. Finally, she utilised lemon and orange peels to develop two products—wrapping paper and biodegradable accessories.

Naming her project LimeEco—derived from Lime and Ecological—Parikh informs, “Oranges and lemons provide a certain strength to the material to make it more robust. Moreover, they are important medicinal plants.” She adds that the sole focus of her project was the longevity and antibacterial quality of the products. Parikh elaborates, “It is stated that their [orange and lemon] pulp, as well as peels, have antibacterial properties. Thus by using these in the mixture the material won’t be affected by any bacteria or fungi in the long-term.”

A sustainable future

The materials crafted by Parikh can minimise wastage while keeping the tradition of gifting alive. The process however, she explains, is tedious. She first grinds sun-dried citrus peels into a powder before mixing them with natural binders such as algae and cornstarch. Later, Parikh air-dries this mixture for 12 to 15 hours, and eventually creates organic and eco-friendly wrapping paper and accessories. 

An interesting aspect of this wrapping paper is that the user can do without sellotape or glue to stick it. When the surface of the paper is brushed with water, it develops an adhesive-like quality. Thus, Parikh’s innovation has made the entire gift wrapping process sustainable. 

The accessories are also a way to combat the ever-changing trends of the fast fashion industry. “Once a certain trend dies, the products created during that period go to waste. With LimeEco, we can keep up with the trends while at the same time not create wastage and degrade the environment in the process,” she mentions. The biodegradability of its material makes it easy for the user to discard these products once it is out of trend. Moreover, orange and lemon peels, Parikh shares, “can be used as activators for the soil” and are beneficial for its fertility. With such innovations in tow, Parikh is on the path of creating a wholesome and greener tomorrow. 



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