THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It resembles a wallet or pouch. But if you zip open its contents, out will pop a bag. A cloth bag masquerading itself as your quintessential purse. Fashioned out in quirky patterns, these cloth bags will soon be available in the market, as the City Corporation tries to embed sustainability into the lifestyle of the city residents.
With the aim of spreading the concept of sustainable livelihood and eschewing plastic, five cloth bag-making units are slated to start in the city. With this, the Corporation aims at the implementation of the plastic ban and give impetus to a sustainable lifestyle.
The reason oft-cited against the plastic ban was that there was no alternative for plastic. So we thought of creating these bags and making it available in the open market at cheap rates,” said V K Prasanth, mayor.
The bags will be made available to individuals as well as retailers. “Once the project is rolled out, we can take orders from the retailers,” he said.Machinery has arrived and the training has been imparted to Kudumbashree women attached who will create cloth bags. Ten units are planned, of which five units are ready to function. As many as 200 women have been trained by the members of the Bhoomitrasena Club of St Teresa's College, Ernakulam.
The bags designed by Bhoomitra have also been incorporated. “Apart from the usual cloth bags, those designed in the form of wallets and pouches will also be brought into the market. The designs have been adopted from the Bhoomitra bags. These will be pricier than the normal cloth bags,” said a corporation official. Meanwhile, the latter will be sold at heavily discounted rates.
According to the corporation, there is no profit intended in this. “The Kudumbashree women who have been roped in for the programme are those dwelling near the bag-making units. The idea is to offer them a platform to earn income. The women can come and work during their spare time every day. That is the reason we chose decentralised units,” he said.
The price of the bags will start from C5. However, the rates will be decided after considering the production cost as well. But rest assured the bags will be priced at least 60 per cent lower than the market rate. The bags will be sold through the counters of the corporation.
Healthier living, one cloth pad at a time
Soon cloth pads will be available with the same ease of buying a disposable sanitary pad. Contrary to the cloth pads that are currently available in the market which necessitates them to be washed and cleaned before its usage, these are pads that can be readily used. And they will be neatly packed, after subjecting it to sterilisation and autoclaving process.
The Corporation will soon put out its brand of cloth pads in the market. The fact that the disposal of sanitary napkins figures as one of the insurmountable garbage issues prompted the Corporation to a unique venture. “Sanitary napkins figure in large numbers in most of the garbage bags dumped on the streets. It is difficult to manage the waste so produced.
So we thought of offering cloth pads as an alternative,” said V K Prasanth, mayor. With its niche product of ready-to-use cloth pads, the Corporation hopes to ensure the habit of sustainability is never broken. “When faced with an urgent need, those who follow the sustainable way of life need not resort to opting for the single-use sanitary pads available in the market. They can use cloth pads. This can be of great help to travellers as well,” says a corporation health official.
"An EoI was floated and we have got on board an NGO as a consultant for the implementation of the project. A single cloth pad-making unit will be set up in the city and women will be employed to manufacture it," he adds.