Eateries wage war against plastic, say yes to green cutlery
If you have been striving to live a plastic-free life, here’s some news to keep you inspired. A number of Indian restaurants and cafes have collectively decided to quit the use of plastics and move towards sustainable options such as metals, bamboos and wood. “We have replaced plastic straws with metal and paper straws. We are also using hand-made artisanal crockery from villages in UP. We grow our own vegetables without using any artificial products which is good for soil ,” says Manav Windlas of Kiara Soul Kitchen.
Another cafe that has moved to eco-friendly straws is Zoravar Kalra’s Bo Tai. “We believe in saving the world one straw at a time. We ensure our patrons sip in through the safest and the best quality bamboo and copper straw. Metal spoons also accompany our drinks at Bo-Tai. We are doing our bit to eliminate plastic pollution,” says Kalra .
The Imperial New Delhi is also in the process of giving up plastic completely. “There is zero use of plastic in the hotel. We have moved to eco-friendly paper straws and bamboo disposables and boxes. We have also pledged to reduce our water wastage by installing special aerators in all guest cloakrooms to conserve and reduce water wastage. We took up the #GIVEUP pledge last year with our sustained efforts to reduce plastic, water and energy wastage in the hotel by adopting greener alternatives ,” says Vijay Wanchoo Sr. Executive VP and GM at The Imperial New Delhi. The hotel is also using bamboo cutlery for special lunches for employees. The hotel also recycles used plastic bottle to make laundry bags and newspaper bags and even T-shirts for employees.
Similarly at Urban Grill, they use biodegradable boxes and disposables. “We only use biodegradable packing boxes as many tend to throw them in the dustbin. These boxes can be recycled into various other useful utility items. They are biodegradable so there is no composite leftover,” says chef Scotty from the restaurant.
Metal straws such those made of steel are also more durable and better for health, “We are switching over to steel straws soon. Stainless steel is the most durable material that resists oxidation and corrosion. Made of food grade material, a 304 stainless steel straw is a safe option to drink out of. However, the best is the safer, pricier 316L medical grade stainless steel straw,” says Vaibhav Bhargava, chef The Drunken Botanist .
Alongside, ditching plastic, restaurants have also made sure about proper disposal of waste. “We also implement waste segregation and proper disposal of different kind of waste and protecting the environment. Whatever can be recycled is separated from the rest of the waste material,” confesses Manish Sharma of Molecule. Essentially food gets wasted in three ways (other than customer ordering extra) – restaurants order extra items, items get expired and - misa (semi processed food) is also not utilised and gets thrown. So managing inventory is another step cafes have taken up. “ We have an inventory management system and recipe management which we are implementing. With this we can keep control of stock in hand i.e plan better utilisation of items so they don’t get wasted. Optimising stock ordering and lastly we keep a track on stock life. This makes us more efficient in ordering and it also reduces our costs along with overall food wastage,” explains Windlas.
Facts that scare
India produces 25,940 tonnes per day (9.4 million tonnes annually) of plastic waste, of which approximately 15,000 tonnes per day is collected. Remaining finds its way in drains, litters rivers and oceans. India consumes 16.5 million tonnes (MT) of plastic annually. This is expected to increase to 20 MT by 2020.