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Meet Pune’s anti-plastic crusaders 

Check out these non-plastic products,initiatives which are an inspiration to lead a green lifestyle.

pune Updated: Apr 15, 2018 15:18 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,anti-plastic crusader
Therefore Design partners(from left) Gauri Barve Kale, Dhun Patel, Nitin Virkar and Vrishali Kakre. (HT PHOTO )

1. Chucking plastic: Therefore Design

Therefore Design, a team of 25 designers, was founded by four partners Nitin Virkar, Dhun Patel, Gauri Barve Kale and Vrishali Kekre. Dhun handles research and strategy, Gauri and Vrishali graphics and communication, and Nitin looks after product and structure design. The team recently won the Red Dot award for designing a range of disposable tableware for Chuk, a manufacturing company that produces eco-friendly tableware. In 2018, designers and manufacturers from 59 countries submitted more than 6,300 objects to the competition.

Nitin said, “Chuk tableware is manufactured using bagasse, an agri-residue of the sugar industry. The product is extremely relevant today given the recent ban on use of plastics and thermocol. Chuk tableware is completely chemical free and naturally 100% compostable within the short duration of just 60 days. Manufactured in Faizabad by Yash Papers, Chuk’s current range comprises nine products, including bowls, plates and containers. The product range has unique design features that help to keep the cost of production low. The product range has been optimised for caterers, restaurants, street vendors or personal use.”

Eco-conscious consumers can now have the satisfaction of choosing earth friendly and affordable tableware. The distinction will have benefits in multiple ways. Nitin said, “One of the perks of the award is that the product will be displayed at the Red Dot Museum in Essen, Germany for the duration of 1 year. This opportunity will give the product and us (designers) visibility to a wide audience in the international market.”

With Chuk, Therefore Design’s next challenge is to develop a 100% compostable lid that is spill proof. Nitin said, “This is a problem that the entire world is trying to solve. How to make a solution for takeaway (of Indian curries/soups) that does not use plastic in any form whatsoever. Designing for the food industry is our forte and we are working with Haldirams, Baskin Robbins, Kwality, Vadilal and Mother Recipe on their new product launches.”

2. Replacing plastic straws with metal substitutes

When Mr Rabbit’s Bar & Burrow was started in Baner in September last year, the owners and partners realised that straws make up much of their bar garbage. Straws are served with cocktails, mocktails, juices, shakes and aerated drinks. It really bothered them seeing the plastic straws pile up. A research online only made up their minds to find alternatives. “I read that humans use 500 million plastic straws a day! A day - that really shocked me! These straws are among the top ten marine debris items. There are movements gaining popularity abroad and trending hashtags like #StopSucking and #StrawlessOceans. I wanted to pledge not to use plastic straws at our bar and contribute in a small way to the environment. I think it’s everyone’s duty to be more conscious now with the choices we make. Hence, we decided to switch to stainless steel straws. We got in touch with a manufacturer abroad and first ordered a few samples to test. We really liked the product and then ordered more for daily use at the bar. Earlier this year, we phased out plastic straws and switched to the stainless steel ones,” said Ashwin Shetty, partner, Mr Rabbit’s Bar & Burrow. Nupur Chaudhuri, partner, Mr Rabbit’s Bar & Burrow, said, “We are switching to eco-friendly garbage bags and sourcing out eco-friendly containers and takeaway glasses too.”

First Published: Apr 15, 2018 14:57 IST