THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kannur has made headlines in its drive to be the first plastic-free district in the country. Inspired by the attempts of the local administration, a group of five youngsters, including Sudheesh T P, Aneesh T K, Rahul T V K, Sharath Chandran and Nijil M, from Kambil (a town located 14 km from Kannur) launched Carry 4 paper bags. “Though various panchayats tried many initiatives to sort out the problem of plastic disposal, the non-biodegradable material was increasing in households. This is when we started thinking of alternative options,” says Sharath, about how the neighbours got together to conceive the three-month-old initiative.
While the complete ban on plastic carry bags has brought up various options, this venture from the twenty-somethings has an advantage. “While cloth and jute bags are also available in the market, their cost exceeds that of paper replacements by a huge margin,” informs the engineer-turned-entrepreneur, continuing, “Suppliers even tried to counter the ban with non-woven plastic which resembles cloth bags.
This material is even more dangerous for the environment and we’ve tried to counter this by generating awareness among shopkeepers.” While the plastic producers are trying to work their way around the ban, this five-member team is happy that the customers are slowly embracing the environment-friendly trend in the district—including places like Payyanur and Taliparamba.
Involving the locals
The nascent brand ropes in homemakers from their locality with the intention of making it a community initiative. “About 80 percent of the process involves hands-on techniques, so we plan to employ more people from the local community as we expand to other places,” explains Sharath, who has also been associated with tree-planting drives in the region. Though the group is limited to Kannur right now, the youngsters hope to expand to other towns in Kerala and are willing to create bespoke designs.