THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: More than 10 days have passed since the state’s ban on single-use plastic but restaurant owners struggle to find alternatives to parcel food. Only a few restaurants and hotels in the city have replaced plastic packaging with paper bags, aluminium foil containers and containers made of sugarcane. The rest still rely on multi-layered plastic.
Some restaurants in the city such as MRA and Zam Zam have switched to cloth bags instead of plastic carry bags. “We have started using 100 per cent biodegradable material,” said the manager of Zam Zam, Palayam. Most shops have replaced plastic spoons with wooden and the palm spoons. Plastic bottles have been substituted with glass bottles.
“Instead of plastic bags, we have started using bags processed from corn which are biodegradable and eco-friendly. We use aluminium foil for packing food. The materials have been procured from a local shop at Chalai that specialises in making eco-friendly products,” said Sirajudheen, operations head, Alibaba & 41 Dishes, Sasthamangalam. “We usually don’t provide cutlery in food parcels, but we plan to introduce paper products if the demand arises,” he said.
Wayside eateries and food trucks have also started packing food in plantain leaves. But several others continue to depend on single-use plastic bags due to the high cost involved in purchasing alternative products.Corporation officials have banned a wide array of plastic products which include bags, disposable cups, plates, containers and plastic straws. Earlier, the corporation had suggested that restaurant owners and other food businesses start using steel containers for packing and delivering food.
The Haritha Keralam Mission and Suchitwa Mission are organising an exhibition of eco-friendly products that can be used as alternatives to plastic as part of the national workshop to be held on January 21 and 22. The exhibition being held at Suryakanthi grounds features 100 stalls. Eco-friendly products such as toothbrushes made from bamboo to mobile plastic-shredding machines are on display. Seminars for students will also be conducted. “Earlier, there were complaints from restaurant and hotel owners that the ban on single-use plastic was implemented without suggesting alternatives. These stalls are being set up to create awareness about the products that can be used for packing food. We plan to start enforcing the ban from Thursday,” said a corporation health official.