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Ban and bags

CAUSE AND STYLE Take your pick from the lot PHOTO: Author

CAUSE AND STYLE Take your pick from the lot PHOTO: Author  

Move over staid plastic bags and make a stylish statement for a cause

Are you fretting about the lack of plastic bags in your vicinity? Do you still remember the times when you would be simply handed over the stuff in polythene bags? No fuss! Easy and convenient! But those days are over and plastic ban is here. Even as the State Government is mulling over the plastic ban draft rules, people like you and me through NGOs, citizen forums, RWAs in different parts of the city - Yelahanka, Bellandur, HSR Layout, Koramangala, Sanjay Nagar are giving an impetus to the no plastic drive.

There are alternatives to a plastic bag. Cool, trendy, convenient alternatives only if you care to read on.

Paper bags

We know they don’t work for grocery, but you can certainly use it for lightweight grocery, medicines, clothes and to give gifts on weddings and birthdays. Remember Sowmya Reddy’s wedding last year? The daughter of the Karnataka Transport minister R.Ramalinga, had a zero waste, eco-friendly vegan wedding in which she gave the return gifts of saplings in paper bags to guests. They were Rachana bags.

The wedding gave them a lot of mileage and only when you see the bags, you will know why. A thin layer of cloth with a paper lining and cardboard as stiffener for the base defines most of Rachana bags, produced by NGO Seva-in-action.

While Sowmya used simple brown paper bags, you can use the other ones made with colourful bright cloth, handmade paper bags boasting a shiny sheet or newspaper bags. “And these are all made of used cloth. We collect used clothes like dupattas, saris or thin curtains and bed sheets. And they are all made by differently-abled people who are helped by volunteers and students,” says Sowmya Thontesh, who was heading the project.

They don’t have any outlets. To buy their bags you will have to head to 36, 1st Block, ST Bed Lay out, Koramangala. Trust me, a visit to this place will be inspiring to say the least.

The price range is between Rs. 15 and Rs. 35. Apart from Rachana, there are many other options in paper bags available in the city. Look out for fairs and flea markets.

Cotton bags

There is no end to variety when it comes to cotton bags for they can be sturdy, trendy and simple, whichever way you want it. The city is already witnessing an unprecedented demand of cotton bags. If you desire something simple and strong, then most of the shopkeepers especially departmental stores are stocking blue cotton bags manufactured by Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation being sold by Cauvery Handlooms and Priyadarshini Handlooms across the city.

Ravindranath, Marketing Manager, KHDC, says, “We had 3 to 4 lakh bags in stock. Today, I don't have a single bag in my stock. We had a customer meet yesterday and we realised that there is a demand for 10 lakh bags in the city.

I get about 55 calls everyday enquiring about the bags. Price and quality have made them popular.” So, if you see any Priyadarshini handloom, you can buy the bag priced at Rs.5 and 10 from them directly or shell out a few bucks more to get it from your local departmental store.

Jute and more

A favourite of mine which can be found in so many avatars - elegant chic, ethnic or cool and artsy - choose whatever your style is and make a statement. There are lot of B2B companies like Just Jute, Jute Tree based in Bengaluru so finding a good jute bag shouldn't be a problem. Fairs, festivals, local santhes should be the idea places for a perfect bag.

And if you are willing to shell out a little more then visit some craft stores particularly North-east to get dazzled by their handwoven water reed baskets. At www.giskaa.com, you will find these for sure.

Rent a bag

And despite all these, if you still forget to carry one to the shop, don't worry. Rent-a-bag is there to help you. For a deposit of Rs.20, you can borrow a cotton bag from a store that has a tie-up with Stonesoup Borrow Bag. S. “The idea is to make people get used to the idea of recycle. You use and return. Otherwise it will be cotton everywhere just like it is plastic today,” says Smita Kulkarni of Stonesoup Borrow Bag.S which sources its cotton bags from Yellow Bag in Madurai. Right now, around 40,000 bags of theirs are in circulation through 260 stores in the city. Smita also requests people to refrain from using China Jute. “It’s non-woven polypropylene which is non-biodegradable. It’s not China jute. It’s China jhooth,” she quips.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:36:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/ban-and-bags/article8280751.ece

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