TreeHugger is covering the INDEX awards, celebrating the idea of "Design to Improve Life". This post covers one of the 46 finalists chosen from 1,123 entries.
It's shocking that in a world where so many go hungry, so much food is wasted. In some parts of Africa and Asia as much as 37% of the produce and grain is lost post-harvest to rats and insects. Along with the food being lost, all the inputs, including labor, fertilizer and water are wasted. (See How food waste differs around the world)
Now Vestergaard, the Swiss company that brought the world the Lifestraw has introduced the ZeroFly storage bag. The polypropylene bag is treated with an insecticide that stops the insects that infest agricultural products, and while many will not be crazy about the idea of insecticide impregnated bags, it's better than the alternatives:
ZeroFly® Storage Bag is the first insecticide-incorporated storage bag to prevent damaging pest infestations. It reduces the loss of seed or grains that can be consumed, stored for security, or sold for optimized prices, while not having the hazards associated with fumigation or the potential for pesticide residues that come from inaccurate insecticide spraying. Insecticide is incorporated into individual fibers of the bags, which provides a powerful killing action against stored product insects before they can infest the grain or seed packed in the bag.
So there is in fact likely less pesticide residue in the food using this technique than there is from conventional fumigation and pesticide application, and it's longer lasting. It also protects crop quality, improving farmers' incomes even more.
This is the kind of "Design to improve life" that really lives up to the description. More at INDEX