Pune: In what could be called a positive fallout, paper bag manufacturers in the city have said that demand for paper bags has seen a sudden rise following the plastic ban in the State since Gudhi Padwa.
The manufacturers also pointed out that the small manufacturers and restaurants that offer delivery services are the ones that are moving towards this shift rapidly.
Neha Tiwari of Thunga Paper Bag told Sakal Times that earlier, only around 6 to 7 per cent of the restaurateurs and shopkeepers used paper or cloth bags. Now, around 60 to 70 per cent of them are using these biodegradable bags, as everybody fears fine in case of violation of the ban on polythene bags.
“I have got calls from at least 10 restaurant owners and many shopkeepers demanding paper bags since the ban has been imposed. The small restaurants use around 70 bags each day for delivery, while at bigger ones, the number goes up to around 150. Think how much difference it would make, now that restaurants are thinking of replacing all these with paper bags,” Tiwari said.
She said that as the price of cloth bags is higher, shopkeepers charge Rs 2 to 10 more from customers who demand bags. “To reduce the cost of these bags, I try to make use of used cloth, like that of jeans, pillow covers, etc for making cloth bags. As these bags would cost less, shopkeepers too will charge customers less,” Tiwari added.
In a bid to come up with the substitute for garbage bags, Tiwari said she is trying to work out a product using shoe boxes so that cheap biodegradable garbage bags could be made available in the market.
Speaking about the shift, Lokesh Bapat of Tellus Organisation said while right now it's difficult to estimate the exact rise in the demand for paper bags, there are good prospects for paper bag makers, if the ban persists and is implemented strictly.
“It has been hardly 10 days that the ban has been imposed, yet we can see many shopkeepers and others refusing to give plastic bags. This seems like a positive trend. Right now, the supply of paper bags is much less, but the demand has suddenly increased. This will especially help the small paper bag manufacturers like women's self-help groups to do a good business,” Bapat said.
Sharing an experience on similar lines, Vrushali Devtarase, Founder of Vatsalya, a boarding school for mentally challenged children, said, “We give vocational training to our students. To make my students economically independent, we have been selling products like painted lamps and paper bags that require less or almost no capital, for quite some time now. We always tried to market and sell these paper bags made by our children with a great difficulty. However, in the past few days, we have received at least four to five calls with offers to buy paper bags for good rates.”