Cafés cope with plastic ban


Wooden spoons, paper cups and cloth bags replace plastic items in cafes | Deepika Agrawal

Chennai: Café outlets and eateries in Adyar are adapting to the plastic ban implemented by Tamil Nadu government on January 1.

One-time use and throwaway plastics such as plastic sheets for food wrapping, dining table spread, plates, teacups and tumblers, water pouches and packets, straw, carry bags and flags, irrespective of their thickness have been banned. 

Writer’s Cafe in Adyar has introduced paper straws, paper cups and glass bottles. Tamil D, manager of the outlet, said that they had started using carry bags made of tapioca three months back, i.e., before the implementation of the ban.

“Sometimes, customers demand plastic carry bags but we refuse to give it to them. It is our responsibility that plastic does not go out of our restaurant. For example, for soup, we ask the customer to either have it here or bring their own bowl,” he added.

The café did not raise prices in the menu to compensate for the added cost of the raw materials as it claims to be a non-profit restaurant.
Sharadh Chand, franchise owner of the Makers of Milkshakes’ Adyar outlet, said that the company has replaced all plastic items with paper cups, paper straws, wooden spoons and cloth covers.

He added, “It is actually very difficult to cope with the ban as the cost of raw materials has gone up. They would initially purchase plastic bags according to weight but cloth bags cost Rs 250 for 100 pieces.” He said that a plastic cup costs Rs 5 whereas a paper cup costs Rs 6.

“This has affected the customer satisfaction because the quantity provided in paper cups is less than that in a plastic cup. But, we have not increased prices of the milkshakes,” Chand said.

He is satisfied that the environmental cause of the plastic ban is being fulfilled. “The compromises do not matter,” he exclaimed.

Nithin, a worker at Ibaco ice cream parlour, Adyar, said that the added cost incurred by the use of paper cups instead of plastic ones is being transferred to the customer because the pricing is according to the net weight of the product.

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