Banana leaves, arecanut plates, stitched leaf plates are now a passé. What’s in is reusable cutlery.
With better awareness about the need to reduce waste, the number of organisations that have their own ‘plate banks’ to reduce disposables going to the landfill, is increasing.
They rent out steel plates, glasses, spoons, bowls, and even serving spoons. While some charge a nominal fee or deposit, many offer them for free to be used by local communities.
Adamya Chetana, a not-for-profit organisation, has one of the biggest stock — 10,000 sets of plates, water and tea/coffee glasses, bowls and spoons. Depending on the number of utensils required, a nominal deposit is charged. “The deposit is in the form of a cheque, which we will return once the utensils come back after usage.”
The organisation, which started this initiative in March 2016, uses a commercial dishwasher to clean and maintain the utensils.
Rent-A-Cutlery, started in June 2016, is another organisation, and has around 200 sets of steel plates, glasses, bowls and spoons, apart from polycarbonate glasses for children’s parties.
According to co-founder Rishita Sharma, who also volunteers with Whitefield Rising, the initiative has helped save more than 20,000 disposables from going to the landfill.
“We encourage use of reusable cutlery over arecanut plates and paper cups. Their disposal is an issue and they are not really eco-friendly,” she said, and added that they were now encouraging other communities to start their own plate banks.
Funded by local councillor
The Reuse Cutlery Bank was started at Brindavan Layout in K.R. Puram in a small way. According to Mohana Padma, who along with other volunteers of K.R. Puram Rising, manages the plate bank, said the local councillor funded them.
The plate bank, which was started in October 2017, now has 70 dinner plates, 55 water/juice glasses, 50 tea/coffee glasses, and 30 snacks plates.
“Every year, we organise Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. This year, we decided to use only reusable cutlery. After the celebrations, we decided to invest in a plate bank. Since October, we have lent our utensils for various events, including birthday parties, sports day, and a baby shower,” she said.
Senior citizens’ initiative
Residents of SJR Verity on Kasavanahalli Road just borrow the required utensils from a plate bank managed by three sprightly senior citizens of the Bhajan Group — Ram Krishan Gupta, Shiv Kumar Verma, and Ganesh Mahabal.
Neetu Tandon from SJR Verity said they started the initiative nearly two years ago. “We started in a small way. We now have 200 plates, 500 glasses, 250 spoons. These are rented out for free to residents of the community. We maintain a logsheet, and there is a lot of demand,” she said.
P. Siva Kumar from Bren Celestia near Kaikondarahalli, who is part of Kasa Mukta Bellandur, also maintains a plate bank in his community. Started three years ago, the plate bank now lends its utensils to all events held by residents of the 207 apartments.