Thiruvananthapuram: Cost bars alternatives to plastic carry bags
Thiruvananthapuram: Various associations of shopkeepers say that cloth or paper carry bags would not be an alternative to plastic carry bags, unless the costs were comparable. At the ‘Go Green’ Expo, the cost of the cheapest cloth bag (with a size of about 50 cm X 30 cm) ranges from Rs 9 to Rs 25. “Plastic carry bags also cost around Rs 9 in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, as we insist that carrybags above 50 microns should bear the Corporation’s hologram stickers. It should be possible to make cloth bags available at Rs 9 per piece,” says a Corporation official.
Paper bags which cost the same as today’s plastic bags are possible, says Ajin S.L. Lin, a paper bag manufacturer. “There is a full-option paper bag making machine available at a price of Rs 1.5 crore and can produce thousands of bags. The government can buy such a machine to make paper bags. Or it can buy a machine with lesser options, the price of which ranges from Rs 8 lakhs to Rs 40 lakhs. Since it is not fully automatic, around a 100 Kudumbashree workers can be employed to seal the bottom and fit strings,” he says. Manufacturers themselves may not buy such expensive machines, Ajin adds.
The Corporation is awaiting the approval of a Rs 2 crore project in which it will provide a machine each to 50 tailoring units. Officials say that in a day such a unit would be able to produce 100 bags. The civic body also plans to give bag-stitching assignments to existing tailors in the city. Another group of manufacturers said that they would be able to make plain cloth bags available at Rs 15. There was a Kudumbashree group from Vellayani at the Expo, who said that they would be able to make cloth bags at Rs 5 or less, if they get a bulk order to use old pieces of cloth. If the buyers themselves would provide the material, they could reduce the cost of cloth bags, they said.