Return plastic bags, earn a rupee

Every minute 10 million plastic bags are consumed globally

The current consumption of plastic in the world is 10 million plastic bags every minute.

Addressing a gathering at the launch of Project Green Voice, an initiative by students of Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies (RIMS) and Voice of India, an NGO, to reduce disposal of plastic carry bags, on Saturday, he said beyond voluntary efforts and laws,  awareness about safeguarding the environment and limiting use of plastic bags should be made during one’s early formative years.

"People use plastic bags for shopping despite knowing that it is harmful. Moreover, its disposal is another problem. Besides, there has been an increase in the circulation of plastic bags with the advent of retail chains," he said.

Project Green Voice

Idea for the initiative took birth, when a few second year students from RIMS formed a Corporate Social Responsibility club and approached Voice of India (Voluntary Organisation of Integrated Community Enterprises for India).

Suresh Tota, founder of Voice, said, "We are not talking about elimination of plastic bags but reduction in its use. The project aims at giving end-to-end solution and roping in all the stake-holders, that is the users as well as sellers."

Project will ensure that shopkeepers give plastic bags to customers only after taking a deposit for it. Deposit money will be given once the customer returns the plastic bag to the shopkeeper. In order to make it convenient, people can give the plastic bags to any of the shops that are part of the project network. Also, the customer gets a rupee more as an incentive in addition to the deposit money.

Tota said that for now, five colleges - two in Rajajinagar, one each in Kalyan Nagar, New BEL Road and Bannerghatta Road - will adopt their localities to increase awareness and convince stores to give out bags made of non-woven fabric. Fifty shopkeepers have already agreed to be part of the project, said Arun, a member of Voice. Besides, bags will be made by two NGOs, Grace and YMCA, that conduct tailoring class for women.

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