After neighbouring Tamil Nadu began the new year on a sustainable note by bringing a state-wide plastic ban into effect, Puducherry is making similar headlines.
According to an Indian Express report, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy revealed on January 13 that the state cabinet has decided to ban the production, sale and use of single-use plastic products in the Union Territory from March 1, 2019.
He further added that there would be “a massive awareness drive” among the merchants and the public on the necessity of the ban.
“We want to gift a plastic-free Puducherry to the future generation and curb the plastic in the larger interest of the environment,” he said.
And while this is certainly a step in the right direction for a sustainable future, learning about alternatives to plastic before the ban will be helpful in making the shift!
The ban on non-biodegradable bags has opened up a new market for canvas/cotton, denim and jute bags. Not only are these sturdy, but also reusable. Lightweight and cost-effective, these are good alternatives to plastic bags. You can buy them online or even make them at home!
Companies like Regeno are making biodegradable or compostable bags made out of the wastes of maize, vegetables and paper. These bags, once disposed of, degrade in three months, based on the fertility of the soil, without causing it any damage.
Besides, these bio-bags burn like paper and turn into ash. They can also melt in hot water. Know more here.
To go down the sustainable route, one important step is to replace plastic cutlery in your home with steel or glass. For festivities or occasions, you can go traditional by using fully-biodegradable cutlery like plates made out of wood or dried leaves.
From the traditional banana, Dhaka, peepul and bamboo to even betel nut leaves, several communities across the country are adopting locally-available methods to give up plastic.
A good alternative to majorly used plastic bottles could be glass bottles, jugs and even clay bottles!
With the recent plastic ban in Tamil Nadu, some tender coconut vendors have found innovative replacements to environment-threatening plastic straws. These include papaya stalks and straws made out from bamboo and wheat! Other options include steel, paper and copper straws too.
Similarly, another trendy alternative to plastic could be edible cutlery.
Vadodara-based company Trishula sells edible spoons in eight unique flavours including beetroot, spinach, chocolate, masala, black pepper, mint, ajwain (carom seeds), and plain.
The spoons are made by blending different flours, Indian natural spices, and flavours. These are baked at a very high temperature to absorb moisture. The finished products are 100 per cent natural with no added preservatives or artificial flavours. The spoons have a shelf life of six months from the date of manufacture and range from ₹3 to ₹6, depending on quantity and flavour.
Know of any more uber-cool alternatives to plastic? Let us know in the comments!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)