Reducing waste is not the responsibility of one person or entity but that of everyone working towards the goal, unitedly.
Let’s take plastic, for example. While its usage has become rampant only in the recent past, its utility and versatility have made it nearly impossible for us to trash it entirely.
However, is it advisable to suddenly stop using it one fine day?
No. Instead, it is far more effective to understand how we can reduce, reuse and recycle plastic, take conscious steps every single day, and gradually move towards a more sustainable way of living.
These restaurants are doing a fantastic job by cutting down on their plastic usage. Now, do your bit and carry your own bottles, straws and containers. Shop for the choicest plastic-fighting products, here.
What is life without food? Restaurants that offer fresh, tasty and healthy food are always a welcome break from the home-cooked options. And the ones that offer eco-friendly, sustainable packaging to their patrons, are the cherry on the cake!
Here we have a look at five restaurants in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu that have adopted the reduce-waste philosophy and offer excellent eco-friendly packaging with their food.
1. Juice in fruit shells & straws made from leaves
Eat Raja is a café in Bengaluru that will give you a very tropical feel. The zero-waste café has adopted several practices that set it apart from any regular eatery in Bengaluru. For example, it serves unsweetened fruit juices in fruit shells and composts all its wet waste.
“The idea came to me when I looked at the Kiran variety of watermelon, which is small in size. I picked it up and cut them into two and decided to use them as cups. The very concept of selling juice in the shell of the melon gained popularity among customers and marathon runners in no time. The use of the shell also ensured that I was saving 200 ml of water that would otherwise be used to wash a glass,” says Raaj, its owner, to The Better India.
There’s much more to the story of this unique eatery in Bengaluru, and you cannot afford to miss it. Read TBI writer, Jovita’s story of Eat Raja, here.
2. Why use plastic when you have bagasse or reusables?
A vegan, organic café in the heart of Bengaluru, Just Be has given considerable thought to maintaining its zero-waste status. One unique initiative that they have is their menu. A set of ingredients is used in as many dishes as possible, to reduce food wastage.
Hemendra, the marketing manager at the café tells us that zero-waste is not just a campaign but the philosophy on which Just Be runs.
Diners are given reusable cutlery and bottled water only on request.
“We do not promote it, and it is served only on request. Glass bottles, tumblers and jars are used for serving water and beverages,” he tells TBI.
Elaborating about takeaway packaging, he says, “Our takeaway orders are packed in biodegradable and compostable packaging made of bagasse and the cutlery used for these orders is made of wood. We do not want to add to the massive and ever-increasing amount of plastic waste generated by the nascent but burgeoning food delivery industry in India.”
3. Forgot your steel straw? Can we offer you papaya stalks instead?
Tender coconut water is a hot favourite across India, especially in the South, but can you imagine drinking it without a straw?
In Tamil Nadu, coconut sellers wholeheartedly welcomed the plastic ban, and instead of fumbling at the inconvenience, they thought outside the box and innovated a disposable but green straw!
This proves that it is not merely restaurants and cafés that can take a leaf out of the eco-friendly notebook but also small businesses.
You can read about the fantastic initiative here.
4. Disposing garbage responsibly to eliminating disposable cutlery
When you serve food to almost 1,000 people every day, you will generate a lot of waste—about 400 kg daily, to be precise. Till 2017, Gopinath Prabhu, the owner of New Krishna Bhavan in Bengaluru, would rely on the municipal government to collect and segregate his waste.
However, that year, he decided to dispose of the wet and dry garbage separately and responsibly. He also replaced all the disposable cutlery and plates in the restaurant with steel ones.
Here is the entire story of how Krishna Bhavan went zero-waste.
5. Think outside the box, eat inside one
Mumbai’s “Cardboard” café had our attention the second we found out that its entire interior landscape, including furniture, light fixtures, signage as well as the menu card and bill and cutlery boxes, have been made using, well, cardboard.
“Cardboard is a 100% recyclable and renewable material and is primarily made up of 50% air. That void, texture and corrugation have been used to fabricate various furniture and elements. It is also very durable, lightweight, insulating and exhibits excellent sound absorption properties making it extremely acoustic-friendly,” the founders told TBI.
You may also like: Saying No to Plastic: 6 Bengaluru Eateries That Ask Their Customers to BYOC!
It is indeed a crowd puller for its unique interiors and delicious food. However, the café doesn’t stop at that. They use paper boxes for their takeaway orders and do not use plastic for packaging at all!
Talk about being great examples of sustainability!
If you are as intrigued by their design and eco-friendliness as we are, read more about Cardboard, here.
6. A shoutout to all eco-friendly informal businesses, restaurants and darshinis
Apart from the formal businesses that are known to be eco-friendly and offer sustainable packaging, there are several pav-bhaji, beverage and idli sellers that use steel, glass or banana leaf packaging.
With every plate they sell this way, they are reducing plastic waste, and we would like to give them a big shoutout!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)