Say goodbye to single-use plastic products

June 29, 2022 | 04:24 IST

Say goodbye to single-use plastic products

The ban on the use of single-use plastic products could have an effect on restaurants in the state, many of which use it to serve food or drink. Restaurant owners talked about their plans to deal with this change in law

Ajit John

A ban on single-use plastic products will be imposed from July 1. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), 30 single-use plastic items have been listed by the government body under the Ministry of Environment. The ban also extends to the sale, storage, distribution and export of these plastic products. Some parties have asked for a grace period but the government seems determined to enforce it and make sure everyone respects it. For the state’s hospitality industry, which is an important aspect of the local economy, this may mean change. Plastic is consumed every day in restaurants and that could mean replacing it with something else that fits their budget. Praveen Mathias, director at Mustard, said they don’t use plastic entirely. He said: “We generally use environmentally friendly materials, although we have to use plastic in some cases because there is no alternative. It is a challenge to source the necessary materials. The material comes from Gujarat and Mumbai. We depend on manufacturers to come up with something new. And yes, we have to look at the price because it is a price sensitive market. We will have to calculate how much we can bear when we buy alternatives and how much we can pass on to the customer”. He said that at the moment nothing has been done regarding the prices, but maybe in the future they will have to cross this bridge. Nikhil Mirkar of NickyM Kitchen said they are always mindful of being environmentally conscious. He said: “We have spoken to our suppliers in Mumbai and we are using cardboard for the sandwiches that are delivered but for our diners we are using regular cutlery. We use plastic for trays that need to be replaced. The cost will increase and this will gradually be incorporated into the menu. We are a small business, a 20 seat restaurant. We cannot absorb such an expense. Anuj Shah, the man behind Sappadu, said they work in the takeaway business and always use biodegradable materials wherever possible, but manufacturers also need to find solutions. He said: “Some interim arrangements will have to be made. We use plastic to transport the chutney. As for the cost implications, everything will ultimately be passed on in stages. Paper and biodegradable materials should be used by everyone”. Garcian de Souza, who runs the village bistro, said they weren’t too affected. He said: “We have been very conscious of what we use. Yes, we will have to switch from plastic straws to another material. We use brown paper bags anyway. See a lot of the most responsible restaurants have always been aware of. It’s the small restaurants that are going to be hit hard.” Shivani, chef and owner of Gourmestan, said in a statement: “At Gourmestan, we have always been mindful of the environment. We use food grade biodegradable pet boxes for storage and 52 micron food grade biodegradable plastic which is already approved by Indian government. I believe plastic should definitely be banned as it is dangerous to the environment as a whole and businesses that actively use plastic will need to look for biodegradable options like bamboo, restaurant items made from sugarcane leaves. The only way to deal with the above is to go back to basics by using materials that can be recycled and/or reused. There are many eco-friendly servingware options available on the market and small business owners will need to rework their business plans and costs to ensure they serve in a natural way without harming the environment.” Rahul Khanna, Partner at Mamagoto in a statement said: “At Azure Hospitality, we believe in always being eco-friendly, so banning plastic will have no impact on us as most of the products we use are biodegradable. In addition, we also provide bamboo cutlery as well as biodegradable compliant packaging for our home deliveries, in recycled paper bags for all our brands. “The ban is a step in the right direction, but the cost will be borne by the paying customer, as always.

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