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Plastic ban in Maharashtra: Retailers switch to bubble wraps, tin foil, paper bags

Alternatives to plastic will come at an additional cost for all stakeholders.

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2018 15:14 IST
Eeshanpriya MS
Eeshanpriya MS
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,plastic ban,retailers
Paper bags and cloth bags have replaced plastic carry bags in most stores, but they do not provide relief from monsoon damage. (HT File Photo)

Shopkeepers, restaurateurs and franchisees of big brands have come up with innovative alternatives to plastic.

Grocery store owners have switched to paper bags for grains. Digital stores have decided to wrap electronic items in bubble wraps before putting it in a paper bag for delivery.

Similarly restaurants have decided to use recyclable PP containers and aluminium foil bags for home delivery of liquid items such as soups and juices. Vendors have decided to refuse to sell vegetables, fish and chicken unless customers bring their own bags.

Stores of brands such as Reliance Digital, Nature’s Basket and Lifestyle shifted to use of paper bags in April or May.

A representative from Reliance Digital stores said, “We are using paper bags. If it is raining, then we have additional staff to take the customer to their vehicle with an umbrella.”

While paper bags or chargeable cloth bags have replaced plastic carry bags in most stores, they do not provide relief from monsoon damage. Retail stores have now decided to use bubble wrap — which is exempted from the ban as part of an industrial packaging product — as an alternative to plastic protective packaging.

Shiv Ganesh Patange, who owns a mobile phone and a franchisee in south Mumbai, said, “I bought paper bags a month ago. However, customers insist on plastic packaging during monsoon for expensive phones, earphones, and other devises. So I have begun to wrap my merchandise in bubble wrap before slipping into the paper bag.”

However, alternatives to plastic have come at an additional cost for all stakeholders. Cloth bags will now be chargeable at all stores. With the ban coming into effect from Saturday, restaurateurs, textile and garment shopowners, and digital stores are forced to dispose of their plastic inventory.

While some restaurants have decided to halt home delivery of liquid items, most have switched to aluminium foil bags for home delivery.

Shankar Pujari, who co-owns the chain of Shiv Sagar restaurants, said, “My hotel makes close to ₹50,000 from home delivery. I bought tin foil bags two weeks ago to replace thin plastic bags used for curry-based items. I would rather incur an additional cost than pay a fine.”

Imtiyaz Shaikh, owner of the lassi, milk products and sweet stores Kailash Mandir, said, “I have been using recyclable PP containers even for lassi and butter milk. It costs me more but serves the purpose.”

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 12:00 IST