Ban on plastic increases demand for paper bags, covers

Ban on plastic increases demand for paper bags, covers

going eco-friendly

Women during a paper bag and cover-making training programme, organised by Rotary Vanivilasa Mysuru in Mysuru, recently. Photo by special arrangement

Demand for handmade, eco-friendly and bio-degradable paper bags is growing in the city. But, mobilising resources and marketing is a challenge for the manufacturers. Paper bags manufacturing has turned into a part-time business for women of late.

Following the ban on plastic covers and awareness against the use of plastic has resulted in the growing demand for paper items. Homemakers are utilising the opportunity to earn some money. A large number of women are involved in preparing handmade bags and covers, using old newspapers and waste paper.

A majority of shopkeepers in the city use paper bags to pack the products. Similarly, a large number of citizens too demand for eco-friendly bags or they bring cloth bags on their own.

Rekha S Siddaraju of Paduvarahalli, who is making handmade paper bags and covers since 2014 said that there is a demand for paper products, but, we don't have proper marketing tools and resources.

According to her, it takes hardly two minutes for a professional to make a cover and 15 minutes for a bag. Rekha spends approximately four hours a day to prepare paper products. It is one of the sources of income for homemakers as they can make good use of their free time.

Rekha says, each kilo of cover costs Rs 30 to Rs 35 and each bag costs Rs 3 to Rs 5, depending on the size and quality. Medical shops, Horticultural Producers' Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (HOPCOMS), vegetable vendors and petty shops are the customers for Rekha.

Owing to the demand, several organisations are conducting training sessions for women on preparing paper bags. Rotary Vanivilasa Mysuru has been conducting training programmes regularly and more than 150 women have attended six such programmes so far.

Rotary Vanivilasa Mysuru president H L Yamuna said, “We conduct interviews for interested people, before the training. Training is imparted only to genuine candidates, who will prepare bags after the training. Rotary Vanivilasa also supports trainees to market and sell their products."

According to Rekha Rohith, a trainer, a majority of the people, who underwent training, discontinue preparing covers and bags due to lack of market facility, storage problem and others. However, the demand for the bags and covers is on the rise.

Vijayendra, a vendor in Devaraja Market, said that he is using paper bags from two years as plastic bags and covers are banned. “I charge for paper bags. A few customers oppose it. But, several people pay for it,” he said.