The best alternative: Kulhad or paper cup, cloth or jute bag?

The best alternative: Kulhad or paper cup, cloth or jute bag?

The best alternative: Kulhad  or paper cup, cloth or jute bag?

Now that the authorities are set to strictly enforce the blanket ban on plastic, people are looking for alternatives. Paper cup or kulhad, cloth or jute bag, plantain or areca nut leaf?

There, however, doesn’t seem to be a fit-for-all, viable and attractive alternative to plastic. An alternative that could be used for all purposes.
Environmentalists say there are different alternatives for different uses. One of the best is kulhad (earthen cup), though its use is yet to gain wide acceptance. Former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had introduced kulhad in trains and at railway stations, but its use remained restricted as people thought it wasn’t trendy or hygienic.

But now, kulhad appears to be making a comeback. It was quite in demand at the ‘Open Street’ event on MG Road on February 21. Prof T C Chame Gowda, head, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry at the University of Agricultural Sciences, said kulhad was an ideal alternative but its storage and hygiene posed a challenge.

“In old days, food was cooked in earthen utensils. People seem to be going back to kulhad and the government must encourage them. Earthen cups can be used in functions and discarded immediately, as they become part of the soil and leave no garbage,” he said.

Fresh plantain and areca nut leaves could be a good alternative, too, especially for serving food. But their availability is a concern as few people now make them. The few makers are located in Jalahalli, Chamarajpet and the City Market.
Small shops in Chamarajpet, Malleswaram and Rajajinagar have started selling ice cream, kulfi, chat and non-vegetarian snacks in bowls made of areca nut and plantain leaves (called donne in Kannada). People seem to have accepted the change as the leaves can be used and thrown out.
Paper cups are seen as an immediate replacement for plastic but they are not environment friendly and take up to six months to decompose.

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