With the ban of thin plastic bags coming into force from today (15-Mar-2011), PNLIT cloth shopping bags are in the market. It is said that one reusable bag eliminates an average of a 1000 plastic bags.
When the ban was first announced a few weeks ago, some of the shops on Puttenahalli Road had approached PNLIT members for the supply of cloth bags that can be sold in their shops. About a year ago, we had tried to get these same shops to encourage cloth bags and give discounts to customers who bring their own bags, with limited success. At that time we had collected a list of suppliers of cloth bags, but we saw this as a good opportunity for PNLIT to create jobs in our vicinity. The idea was to get those who cannot work out of home or those who need extra income to make these bags that can be sold. Also, we decided to avoid synthetic cloth and to use cotton/jute as far as possible (unless we get free cloth from which bags can be made).
Over the last couple of weeks, we shared some bag design options with a few ladies from Puttenahalli. Most of them have their own sewing machines and they made some sample pieces. There are some who do not have machines who want to do this and we are trying to get them donated machines. The bags are made from new cloth, are sturdy with good quality stitching, can be washed and are environmentally friendly.
So we currently have ladies from Puttenahalli, who are happy to be able to work from home and who have started earning income of their own.
As of now Fresh Greens fruit and vegetable shop on Puttenahalli Road has started selling the cloth bags supplied by PNLIT @ Rs 40/-. We have also put posters which are displayed in Fresh Greens shop, informing people about the ban on thin plastic bags and encouraging people to use cloth bags.
We are looking out to spread this cloth bag effort to more outlets and are also exploring more economical cloth procurement options so that cloth bags can be made available at the lowest rate.
We look forward to the support of all JP Nagarites, in helping make our area free of plastic bag litter.