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Delhi restaurants are moving towards a plastic-free future

On Earth Overshoot Day, we see the environmentally-hazardous plastic going out of the cafes in the Capital, and eateries and hotels going for innovative replacements—paper and steel straws, jute bags and wooden cutlery.

delhi Updated: Aug 01, 2018 16:07 IST
Plastic ban,paper straws,steel straws
Eateries in the Capital are opting for biodegradable alternatives such as paper straws, jute bags and kulhads. (Photo: Gokul V. Shine)

Life will be fantastic, without plastic. One of the cheapest materials in the world is also one of the most polluting, and we consumers could do much to curb its use. August 1 being marked as this year’s Earth Overshoot Day — that’s the date on the calendar by which the planet’s population has consumed a whole year’s worth of resources — here’s a look at steps against ‘lifestyle plastic’.

Joining Maharashtra’s plastic ban recently was Uttar Pradesh, which implemented the ban on polythene, plastic cups and glasses from July 15. Odisha has also announced a similar ban from October 2. And in Delhi, where the earlier plastic bans didn’t quite work out, is now seeing a definite positive shift in retail and hospitality.

One of the popular eating joints in Delhi, Wenger’s has opted for paper straws and wooden spoons to curb down the use of plastic. (Photo: Gokul V. Shine)

One of the most popular quick eating joints in the Capital, Wenger’s in central Delhi, has switched to wooden cutlery. Other places are using paper and steel straws, jute bags, and wooden cutlery. Sheet, marketing manager at Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy, comments, “We’ve switched to steel straws, although they’re a bit expensive (Rs 170 per straw) but they’re more durable than paper, plus we’re selling them too, so you can always carry your own straw wherever you travel. We buy from a home-grown manufacturer that we know is also genuinely interested in reducing the carbon footprint.”

Restaurateur Aman Sahani, who has started using kulhads for shakes at his restaurant Dum Maro Dum, says, “The idea came from seeing use the of kulhad instead of disposable cups for tea on trains — an initiative taken by the government. This helps in reducing use of plastic and indirectly helps in increasing employment of kulhad makers. We also don’t reuse these.”

A lot of other restaurants and cafes in the city have also ditched the use of plastic spoons. (Photo: Gokul V. Shine)

Sonica Malhotra, joint managing director, MBD Group, comments, “We, (at Radisson Blu MBD Noida) have stopped the usage of plastic bags and are only using paper bags and planning to change it to jute bags later. We have also eliminated the usage of plastic stirrers from the drinks and are using wooden cocktail picks.”

Commenting on whether green is the new black, and on the initiatives taken by restaurants and states to eradicate plastic, Abdullah A Rehman, an environmentalist, says, “There isn’t a better time to do the right thing than now. It is inspiring to see states taking the lead in calling out a ban on plastics. There is clearly a wave in the mindsets of people and many of us are discussing sustainable living, but what is important is active participation in using an alternate or ensuring whatever plastic is used is being recycled!”

“There isn’t a better time to do the right thing than now. It is inspiring to see states taking the lead in calling out a ban on plastics” - Abdullah A Rehman, an environmentalist

Waste segregation is being looked at, too. Satyajit Dhingra, president north, Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality, says, “We employ services by trained personnel to segregate the waste generated into dry and wet categories which is then collected by Swayam Swachatta Initiative Limited (SSIL), a garbage management company authorised by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. The wet waste so collected, is thereafter sent by SSIL to its compost plant for processing and compost preparation, while the dry waste is sent for recycling to ensure effective waste management.”

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First Published: Aug 01, 2018 16:06 IST