Glass bottles and steel bins, anyone? A glance at zero-waste stores that are creating old shopping habits fashionable once again. Each number of days, childhood friends Jonah Fernandes, 29, and Eldridge Lobo, 28, embarked on to the native market in Goa with huge steel bins. They bring back chosen forms of rice, pulses and millets, besides spices and flours, to stock at their venture, Ecoposro (posro means that petty look in Konkani). Located within the North Goan village Parra, the newly-opened store encompasses a zero-waste policy in place — nothing is going to be packed in plastic and other people will have to bring their own containers or get a reasonably-priced reusable bottle or bag from the shop.
The idea stemmed from the buddies witnessing the impact of plastic pollution on their once-pristine neighbourhood. The stone quarries that crammed up with water within the monsoon, and doubled up like swimming pools, held plastic waste. “There can be effective waste management, but tackling it at source is better. We tend to be that change, with an enterprise that doesn't generate plastic,” says Fernandes, explaining how the idea was put to test a year ago at a restaurant that Lobo operated in Siolim. “We saw first-hand how much plastic we could reduce, but also how tough it absolutely was to try to do that. We decided to help others live that kind of life, by making everything available under one roof. while we are zero-waste, we don't seem to be completely organic, because it pushes up costs. A social cause has to be convenient for people to adopt it,” he says. The shop presently operates from a 200 square ft garage and sees a daily footstep of concerning 10 returning customers who bring containers and new guests. For edible flowers and farm-fresh eggs, head to Ecoposro’s organic markets.
Cut of Chennai
At reStore, on ECR, the progress towards reducing packaging waste has been gradual. In its 11 years, it's rapt from butter paper and plastic (following huge spoilage throughout the monsoon) to mostly no-waste six years agone. “The humidity did us in, especially with flour. We couldn't afford the losses and grudgingly went back to plastic. When we rapt from a garage to a store, bulk peddling became easy. Rice, millets, and pulses are sold-out loose, and that we have never pre-packed our cold-pressed oils. People bring glass or can purchase cloth baggage,” says Radhika Rammohan, founder-volunteer of the NGO that runs reStore. They're hosting a workshop today's on ‘exploring health and children’s food’.
Just 20 years ago, most of the people carried their own shopping baggage to stores that packed provisions in durable newspaper cones held together with pieces of string: a convention that has light away. Whereas Ecoposro was started as zero-waste, other similar-minded stores across the country are within the method of obtaining people to re-develop the habit.
Buffalo Back has been making an attempt the zero-waste model. But founder Vishalakshi Padmanabhan says while produce like rice, cereals and pulses that are washed before cooking need no plastic packaging, flours and semolina need it. “We have tried different sorts of packaging, together with bio-plastics, however, they invariably consume energy in another type and their complete biodegradability is yet to be tested.”
So, how do stores cope? “It’s a difficult choice to make. We are fixing a work at our village (Kariappana Doddi, close to Bannerghatta National Park) and we are wondering how to pack cookies. Large-scale transportation without using plastic is an issue,” says Padmanabhan, adding how it will be tough until people change their mindsets about what cleanliness means and till they continue being dependent on branding and the convenience of plastic packaging. Buffalo Back stores are at JP Nagar, Jayanagar, Frazer Town and Yelahanka.