By Prarthana Mitra
After Maharashtra’s largely successful drive to ban single-use plastics, Tamil Nadu has hit upon a unique idea to tackle the plastic problem, starting with restaurants and diners. The state’s Hotels Association,comprising 10,000 odd members, recently announced a 5% discount on anyone ordering takeout from local eateries, provided they bring their own utensils and bags. This would not only do away with the problems of usage and disposal of plastic containers but will also be pocket-friendly for the customer, claims members of the association.
BYOB: Bring your own boxes
“On an average, each food parcel costs us around 3% to 4% of the bill amount. If customers bring their own utensils, they can benefit. We have asked members to put up boards at their restaurants informing the customers about the offer,” said M. Ravi, president, Chennai Hotels Association.
With over 2 lakh eateries sprawled across the southern state, Tamil Nadu is gearing up for the ban to be legally enforced in January 2019, by waning the use of plastic in this manner. Restaurants in Vellore, Chennai, Chidambaram and Madurai are already encouraging people to shift to reusable alternatives, requesting its customers to bring utensils and containers while ordering takeaway.
“It will bring back the era of the ‘carrier meal.’ Some 40 years ago, every home had a brass or stainless steel carrier, and it was a travel companion. But after the advent of plastics, the humble carrier was given a farewell,” said R. Srinivasan, Association secretary.
Some places are pushing the envelope even further and have adopted banana leaves and thaiyal ilai (Sal leaves) as packaging material for food or even to serve food at restaurants. “We are looking at alternatives like aluminium foil and cardboard boxes since not everyone can bring their own utensils,” said Vishnu Shankar of Adyar Ananda Bhavan in Chennai.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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