Metrolife: No to plastic, yes to alternatives

Earth Day on April 22 comes as a perfect reason for one to think about the different ways one could address the use of plastic. With Earth Day 2018’s theme being ‘End Plastic Pollution’, Metrolife looks into some replacements for plastic in day-to-day life.

While the plastic ban might have reduced the usage of plastic covers and bags at shops and in commercial transactions, usage of plastic bags in houses still continues to be a cause of concern. 

Anirudh R Dutt, founder of Let’s Be The Change, has been propagating the idea of paper cover bags for waste bins. “While a single layer is enough for dry waste, three layers can handle mild wet waste too,” he says. 

“We saw online videos teaching people to make bags out of paper. We felt that introducing this to students and those who participate in our camps would be a good idea,” adds Anirudh.

Plastic is commonly used in the form of cutlery, plates and vessels at events. The associated health concerns and garbage issues led PVS Suhasan Reddy and wife Harika Meka to set up SaveGlobe.

Through this organisation, they have come up with a bio-degradable alternative to traditional plastics. “After a lot of research, we have come up with products made out of sugarcane bagasse, clay earthen pots, mugs made out of bamboo, wooden cutlery, edible cutlery made of wheat flour and sugar, cornstarch cutlery as well as Areca tableware which is made of natural plant leaf,” says Suhasan.

While the wooden cutlery, edible cutlery and cornstarch cutlery are disposable, the plates made out of bagasse are microwaveable up to 120 degrees.

Vidya Ramamurthy, proprietor of Satthvam, an initiative based on recycling, came up with the idea of reusing old saris to make cloth bags. “We make paper bags too. I was looking into my wardrobe and saw many old clothes and saris, some burnt and torn. That’s when I realised that we could use them to make cloth bags,” she says.

Vidya, who started off by making 130 potlis, now makes around 50 cloth bags from a sari. “We make bags in different sizes, 8x7, 11x10, 14x12, 16x12 and 20x16 inches. I can produce them in bulk or people can buy individual pieces too,” she adds.    

While these no-plastic heroes have blazed a trail, citizens could also come up with their own solutions and alternatives. Bengalureans, are you listening?

Corporates take notice
“From online orders to regular clients like MK Retail, Spar, WWF, Freshpoint, Nature’s Basket, Waverly, Cafe Coffee Day, Vivanta by Taj, Bangalore Club, BHEL, Grandmart, we have a regular customer base,” says PVS Suhasan Reddy, founder and CEO, SaveGlobe.

What to avoid?

Skip buying bottled water from outside, instead carry a bottle from home. At home, use glass bottles to store water.

Try to package or store things in paper bags or covers.

Use a coffee mug at your office vending machine.

Avoid straws. If your drink needs one, buy a glass or steel one, which can be used multiple times.

Carry a container to parcel leftovers when at a restaurant.

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