Chennai

Eco-warriors take up a BYOC battle

They organise drives to educate establishments on what huge landfills can do to the environment

In 2018, when cafe chain Chai Point launched the ‘Bring Your Own Cup’ (BYOC) initiative, it was a small but bold step towards preventing usage of disposable paper / plastic cups and preventing trash from reaching the landfills.

Convincing Chai Point management to commit to the BYOC is a big victory for a small army of eco-warriors called Bengaluru Eco Team (BET).

Now, Chai Point is not a small chain of outlets. As per the latest count, it has 170 outlets spread across all major cities.

“We sell over 5 lakh cups of tea every day across our 170 outlets. Even if 5 to 10 % start bringing their own cup, it will make a big difference to the amount of waste generated every day,” says Amuleek Singh Bijral, co-founder and CEO of Chai Point.

He acknowledges that they launched the BYOC drive from their Bengaluru outlets after a few environment-conscious customers started nudging them to do so.

“A couple of them started by writing mails, following us on social media, sending reminders, all very politely,” says Bijral.

It helped the brand win the hearts of environment-conscious consumers.

BYOC campaign are no more a novelty in Bengaluru.

BET, which is an informal group of members spread across various neighbourhoods in the city, have been pushing restaurants, juice shops, take-away outlets and societies to start their own BYO drives.

N.S. Ramakanth, a member of Solid Waste Management Round Table, says there are more than 200 members in BET. “All of us not just practise what we preach but we also try to influence others,” he says.

“Bengaluru was among the first cities that had banned single-use plastic, so the momentum was launched much earlier. Although arecanut leaf plates were considered environment-friendly, it takes around 10 months to decompose, so reducing the amount of waste we product became a big focus of our campaigns,” says Ramakanth.

He says BYOC has become a movement.

Last year, during Gandhi Jayanthi, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) launched the BYOC campaign inspired by the trend in the city. Until then, the Transport Corporation was providing passengers with plastic water bottles in all its buses.

“In fact, the Corporation went a step ahead where it launched ‘Selfie with your own bottle’ contest where lucky winners got a free travel,” says Seema Sharma, who was among those who co-ordinated with the Chai Point management.

Similarly, Rishita Sharma, who runs Rent-a-Cutlery, was among those who started the #BYOC Selfie challenge on social media. She proudly shows that her daughter’s school sent out a mail asking parents to bring their own boxes for annual day and her apartment society also initiated the ‘bring your own cutlery at get-togethers.

Ekayana, a north Indian and continental outlet, say they were inspired by the BYOC campaign and started to offer 10% discount for customers who bring their own containers.

Similarlly, Mani’s Dum Biryani asked customers to bring their own containers and carry bags and get a discount of 5% for takeaways.

Follow them on their Facebook page ‘BangaloreEcoTeam‘

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 7:32:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/eco-warriors-take-up-a-byoc-battle/article30651642.ece

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