Jordanian engineer fights plastic with edible cookie utensils

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(Photo: Handout from Noura Al Frehat)
AMMAN — Beyond their delicious taste and diverse multi-purpose shapes, the edible cookie tableware created by 30-year-old Noura Al Frehat offer a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to harmful, disposable plastic dishes. اضافة اعلان

Plastic waste is a serious problem around the globe, with the cost of plastic infliction on the earth estimated at $2.5 trillion, according to the Ministry of Environment’s latest report, titled Green Growth National Action Plan 2021-2025.

In Jordan, each person produces 26 percent more municipal waste each day than the average in other medium-high income countries, the report said.

Frehat, who is a civil, water, and environmental engineer, has developed an edible replacement for one plastic waste; disposable tableware.

Owing to years of work and research, the engineer’s composition “withstands high temperatures of boiling 100°C for over 12 hours, compared to other similar products that only hold hot materials for roughly an hour before decaying,” Frehat said in an interview with Jordan News.

The environmental activist says that her invention is a “zero-waste” and bio-degradable product, minimizing negative effects on the planet. According to Frehat, the cookie tableware also minimizes the pile-up of dishes to be cleaned in the sink, which would save water, energy, time, as well as electricity if a dishwasher is used.

Whether they are molded to be food containers, hot or cold beverage cups, or even cutlery, the edible utensils are made up of safe-to-eat and healthy ingredients, according to Frehat, who said that the product has been submitted to the Jordan Food and Drug Administration, and it still going through the process of official safety approval.

“My invention is similar in taste to any cookie or biscuit. It can be flavored, colored, and shaped in various ways. The tableware’s ingredients can be controlled to offer 100 percent natural, healthy, and high or low-calorie snack, all upon request,” Frehat added.

The edible product solution is financially feasible in Jordan, according to the activist. “It costs the usual budget of baked items,” Frehat said. As for its scope, she highlighted that her idea “won growing acceptance among people. Many (environmentally-conscious) cafés and restaurants in Jordan liked and welcomed my project.”

The engineer emphasized that the expiry dates for her invention are similar to those of any biscuits. Since Frehat, among many others, prefers food to be preservative-free, her edible utensils have a shelf-life of up to three months. She nonetheless added that “if properly sanitized and preservatives are added, it can be kept for six to 12 months.”

The pioneer seeks to scale her hand-made edible dishware into a wide-scale entrepreneurial project. “As I manually shape the items, it takes me a long time to ensure it is free of holes or faults. I am eager to find proper funds to finance the manufacturing process, increase production, and save more time and effort.”  

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