#ChangeForGood – Say NO To Plastic, Go Paper!

Paper Bags
Image Source : www.uncommongoods.com


A plastic free world isn’t easy is it ?

It is far too ingrained in our eco-system to get purged in a hurry, yet, with a bit of effort we can make the world a better place…

Taking a step in this direction are these Pune citizens who are steadily moving towards a plastic free environment by producing, using and selling handmade paper bags.

According to statistics, in India, around 15, 000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day. Out of which 9, 000 tonnes is collected and processed, but 6, 000 tonnes of plastic waste is not being collected.

“There are many organisations across the city that make paper bags that can be used for varied purposes,” says Mrs Sesh Damerla, Author and Soft Skills consultant.

“Organisations like Spectrum, Nirmalya and Poona Women’s Council have taken up this initiative that also employ unprivileged women and train them so that they can support their family by earning some extra income.

“The newspapers are sourced from various households and societies; the basic frame of the bag is made and is provided with a thick base for support. Yet, despite several attempts, we have not been able to penetrate the grocery shops and super markets yet.

“Customers haven’t got out of the plastic bag fixation. They forget that a 5 kg flour packet can be carried safely in an appropriate paper bag. Somehow in their mind it is that plastic is sturdy, paper is not.

Image used for representation only

“Nevertheless,the main motive of the initiative is to get rid of the plastic bags from the ecosystem, reuse the available paper and support women across Pune,” she adds.

The paper bag initiative is certainly worth appreciation and has sunk in with people, opines Col DVR Rao, Member, Advisory Council for PCGT. He feels that the demand and need for plastic bags has led to its mass-production.

Average time for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is at least 450 years.

It can even take some bottles 1000 years to biodegrade.

90% of bottles aren’t recycled.

“When someone goes to a departmental store, they do not carry their own bags. In the bargain they have to pay to get a plastic bag to carry their shopping.

“Most of these stores make their own plastic bags with their logo and name embossed on it. These outlets ignore using paper bags mainly because they will lose on the publicity aspect if they us bags made out of newspaper or recycled paper.

“Also, in terms of bulk, different sizes of paper bags can hold only a certain amount of weight, which is not in the case of plastic bags.

“We as citizens should make it a point to at least carry our own bags to shopping centres or ask for a paper bag instead. Even if they are not available, this will induce them to make them available pertaining to their increasing demand. Also, the owners can still use those paper bags for publicity by sticking their logo on them.”

Prajakta Salunke, an educationist and gardening enthusiast quotes, “Not most people know that over the period of time we have started paying for the plastic bags thanks to the government wanting to put an end to its extensive usage. Over time, this initiative has now become a source of income. We pay hiked prices according to the size of the bag. Which means, that although we are charged for it, it doesn’t make a difference to us since the per unit cost for us in negligible.

“Apart from just bags, there are many other things that use plastic for packaging. With every passing day our flowing water bodies are becoming dumping grounds of plastic waste that is non-biodegradable.

“Shifting to eco-friendly alternatives such as using reusable paper or jute bags or just by avoiding the use of plastic made products can make the difference,” she adds.

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur