A water can supplier in Pallikaranai, S. Ravi Kannan has no clue about climate climate. Waste management hardly enters his everyday conversations. He knows one thing about waste and he has incorporated that knowledge into his workaday functions. He knows he has to eliminate single-use plastics from his businesses and follows that dictate diligently.
Ravi has asked the manufacturer supplying him water not to wrap the water cans with a layer of plastic, a practice followed by a great number of bubble top water can manufacturers. He supplies water cans sealed with green coloured caps. And these caps do not carry any single-use plastic covering.
“I have been following this practice for over a year now,” says 33-year-old Ravi.
Discover many such vendors on www.cag.org.in/zero-waste-stores. In this initiative, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) lists shops that avoid plastic packaging in their businesses.
Information about such vendors found on the website is crowdsourced and visitors to the website are encouraged to let the organisers know of inaccuracies, if any. A note on the website says: The shops listed here are not necessarily 100% plastic free but have taken some steps towards a zero waste journey.
Aswat Organics in T. Nagar, for instance, packs its products in only paper covers. Similarly, the rice outlet of Vel Stores in Anna Nagar hands out rice to customers in paper bags when the quantity is less than three kilos.
Senior researcher at CAG Vamsi Shankar Kapilavai, who leads this initiative, notes Zero Waste Stores was started in 2021 and it has gathered more than 900 listings from across the State, with Chennai and Coimbatore topping the list.
He says the initiative was aimed at creating an ecosystem for small shops to imbibe best practices from each other and also to help consumers locate outlets that are environment-conscious.
The initiative also encourages people to identify neighbourhood stores that encourage consumers to bring their own containers, shopping bags to refill items or offers any innovative methods to discourage use of plastics.
Vamsi says plans to make this initiative pan-India and launch an App are on the drawing board.
‘Kuppai Thiruvizha’, a zero-waste fest initiated by Kuppai Matters and CAG, is another platform where many such small-time vendors are brought to a venue and awareness on zero waste concept is given. There seventh editions, held recently at A.M. Jain College featured more than 30 stalls.