Bengaluru: HSR Layout has now become a plastic free zone and two women, Malini Parmar and Smriti Kulkarni, have played a big role through their organisation Stone Soup, which ran a campaign ‘borrow a bag’ that has led to an increase in use of cloth bags.
As per the programme Stone Soup provides shopkeeper cloth bags for Rs 20 each. They in turn provide the bag to the customer for the same amount, which the customer can redeem if he returns the same. The shopkeeper gets back his money once he returns the bags to the Stone Soup. That way the shopkeeper can save on buying plastic bags.
The planning for Stone Soup started began a year ago when Malini, a member of kasa muktha Bellandur and a resident of Sarjapur and Smriti, a resident of HSR Layout, came up with this concept. Today, most of residents in HSR layout are using cloth bags.
They formed a sales team comprising people from underprivileged background and provided training to approach every shop and explain them ‘borrow a bag’ concept. Their first sale employee was an ironing lady. Elaborating about the initiative Malini said, “We have been campaigning against plastics since 2011. We have seen plastic waste everywhere, in fact we got BBMP to fine few shops for using plastic bags of less than 40 microns. There has been lot of awareness but something more needed to be done. So, in July last year we launch a pilot of Stone Soup. These bags can be used 16 times, so we do not reuse it after 12th time.”
She further adds, “Since we have to be sustainable, we are trying to get revenue in two ways. Firstly, we told the shopkeepers to pay us Rs 300 per month if they were saving at least Rs 1,000 in buying plastic bags. Currently, the shops spends somewhere between Rs 3000-25,000 on plastic bags. Secondly we are printing advertisements on the bags for Rs 300-700, while a retailer would otherwise have to spend somewhere around Rs 6,000-8,000.
Following HSR Layout’s footsteps, similar initiatives are on Yehelanka ward 7, Sanjay Nagar and Vignana Nagar and soon these areas too will be plastic free.
How it works
- Shopkeepers are provided with cloth bags for Rs 20 each
- They provide these bags to the customer and charge the same amount
- Customer can redeem the amount if he returns the bag
- The shopkeeper gets back money once he returns the bags to Stone Soup
- Shopkeepers can save on buying plastic bags on a regular basis