The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is 'Beat Plastic Pollution'. If our dependence on plastic continues, it’s assumed that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. India Today reported that about 8 million tonnes of plastic straws are estimated to seep into the marine environment every year and will eventually choke sea birds, fishes and mammals.
Recently, scientists at Ghent University in Belgium found shellfish aficionados eat up to 11,000 micro plastic fragments each year. That’s more plastic than fish!
According to All India Plastic Manufacturers’ Association, the total number of plastic consumption in India is 13 million tonnes per year. And, our country’s plastic waste is about 9 million tonnes annually.
We can do our bit to reduce plastic consumption. The first step is, by being ‘aware’ of how we are directly or indirectly contributing to plastic pollution.
One of the ways is to know about restaurants and cafes which share our ideology to go plastic-free.
In an attempt to make the world a better place, The Daily Bar and Kitchen has joined the Refuse The Straw movement. Dishant Pritamani, Founder, says, “For us, this movement is not so much about ditching the straw as much as educating the customer; no one knows what happens to plastic straws after discarding them. We have coasters that give customers information of how long a straw takes to decompose. If that helps reduce their usage by even 80 percent, I think it’s agreeable.”
The Daily Bar will give a straw if you insist, but their first response will be to refuse. Their goal is clear, say no first to curb consumption and waste. Ultimately, it will lead to a slow death of the treacherous single-use plastic.
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Lite Bite Foods – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai
It’s a leading food and beverage retail company with brands like Street Foods by Punjab Grill, Fresc Co, Asia 7 and The Artful Baker under its umbrella and 138 operational outlets.
Did you know that plastic bottles take about 450 years on an average to completely disintegrate? They are also known to have BPA (Bisphenol A), an industrial chemical, which is an endocrine disrupter (Where did you get this information). Helping you to set foot in the right direction, Lite Bite Foods, has done away with plastic bottles and all things plastic.
Guests are treated to water from Veen Waters, a brand of natural mineral water which is served in glass bottles. In general, glass bottles are BPA-free and are often made from recycled glass to reduce waste. Their restaurants use ceramic, glass and mud-ware for crockery.
They have said goodbye to plastic packaging and introduced eco-friendly cane bagasse products for take-away containers. Don’t be surprised to find spoons made of cornstarch, wooden stirrers and paper straws at the many restaurants owned by Lite Bite Foods.
Rohit Aggarwal, Director, explains, “Adopting an environment-friendly approach at the base level is an imperative step to going green on a larger scale. It is only when our workspace and culture practices green methods, the values of sustainability and ecological awareness become a part of the system. Then we can extend it to our business units and customers. Customers are well aware of the state of the environment, and do seek out restaurants that make an effort to be sustainable to minimise their negative impact on the environment.”
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Regenta LP Vilas by Royal Orchids in Dehradun
Abhishek Goyal, Managing Drector says, “Regenta LP Vilas by Royal Orchid Hotels has been pioneering efforts in adopting sustainable practices in the hospitality industry. From following a zero food wastage policy and partnering with Robin Hood Army or harnessing waste water in lawns and soak pits, we’re doing our bit.”
He further informs that since May this year, the hotel has also slowly started doing away with all forms of plastic by embracing corn starch or wooden crockery and cutlery. He says, “Corn starch, though expensive, is a much better alternative to regular plastic. It can be decomposed in facilities and is produced from a renewable resource. They come in all shapes and sizes to suit our demands. Our fruit forks and chaat spoons are made of wood because they need more tensile strength which is difficult from a biodegradable substance like corn starch or even bagasse.
He adds that the hotel has not yet completely won the battle against plastic. It hasn’t been able to do away with plastic straws due customer’s needs. However, that’s not the end for them as their quest to save the environment continues.
Goyal says, “Customers are receptive to environment-friendly options and appreciate our green policies.”
Chai Point outlets in Eight Cities
Indians love chai and it’s a norm to sip on some piping hot masala tea served in a plastic cup that’s brought from the neighbourhood chaiwallah in a plastic bag. Chai Point, a chain of tea cafes with 100 stores in eight Indian cities, has joined the plastic-free revolution.
Amuleek Singh Bijral, CEO and Co-founder says, “We use glass bottles instead of plastic for packaging cold beverages. Our monthly consumption is around one lakh cold beverages. Doing away with plastic helped us save almost one lakh plastic straws monthly.”
They use bagasse-based plates made from sugarcane, a 100% biodegradable material to promote their Clean Earth philosophy. From serving breakfast items in recyclable paper packaging to serving chai in reusable glass cups and sensitising customers to pick reusable cups instead of paper, Chai Point is significantly helping to reduce plastic wastage. Bijral says, “We are always looking for innovative ways to minimise the use of plastic in our stores and over the past year, we have phased out the use of plastic straws and stirrers across cities.”
While they use paper as their primary packaging material for all deliveries, they are in the process of completely eliminating plastic from each outlet. On World Environment Day, Chai Point will be replacing plastic straws with paper straws. Ain’t that a good move?
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Malaka Spice Group in Pune
Joining the bandwagon of environment-friendly food businesses is Pune’s South East Asian hotspot, Malaka Spice.
Praful Chandawarkar, Director says, “As a group, we have always been environment conscious and have taken necessary steps and measures much before Government norms were introduced for this purpose. We’ve opted for a lot of green architecture at our restaurants.”
Apart from taking measures to segregating plastic waste, they have an in-house composter too. In a bid to reduce the consumption of plastic cutlery, the restaurant has embraced wooden forks, spoons and chopsticks for their home delivery orders.
Chandawarkar adds, “At present, we are using paper straws for our beverages and will soon introduce edible straws for cocktails and mocktails.” How cool does that sound?
In a bid to save marine life, Malaka Spice has a calendar that informs which fish is to be eaten in which months. We can’t wait to check that out already! Chandawarkar explains, “We prefer to avoid serving fish that are breeding or carrying eggs in specific months to give them enough time to reproduce and increase their population. These are the small steps we are taking to ensure a better and more sustainable approach to save the environment.”
Apart from restaurants…
Meet Astu Eco, a green crusader, working with effective replacement materials for disposable plastic. This Bangalore-based company offers a wide range of 100 percent biodegradable and 100 percent natural food packaging and tableware range.
Paper, bagasse and coconuts go into the making of these chemical and toxin-free alternatives, which are safer than plastic. Time to say a final goodbye to plastic?
Click here to take a pledge and go plastic-free.
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Images used for representational purpose only.
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