Kolancheri: In the last 3 years, Bitu’s grocery shop could do away with 12.60 lakh plastic covers. This was a young man’s service to mother nature. By avoiding plastic use in his shop he was saving the earth. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects. Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison wildlife. Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater. At his 7 to 9 supermarket at Hospital junction, the groceries, vegetables, and fruits are packed in paper or cloth bags. Bitu, who is an MTech graduate started the shop in 2018 with the mission to reduce the use of plastic. Banning all plastic is about reducing the amount of single-use plastics, such as plastic beverage bottles, stirrers, and coffee cups.
If you bring cloth bags and bottles from your home, you can buy anything from this shop. Starting from 50 gm onwards. If you save the bills, there are some happy news awaiting the customers. The number of plastic covers you didn’t use.
The pulses and lentils are saved in huge glass jars. You can help yourself to however much you want into your paper/cloth bags. Pulses, dals, sugar are all filled abundantly in these jars. Rice flour, wheat flour, turmeric, red chilli powder, and coriander powder all come straight from his brother's flour mill. The liquid items like coconut oil, shampoo, and cleaning lotions are also filled in glass jars. Even water and milk are stored in bottles. If you don’t bring bottles, they will give you in glass bottles. You can return those bottles and get your money back.
Usually, this is how plastic-free shopping works. You need to weigh your containers. Place each container that you've brought with you on the scales to weigh the container. You can shop to your heart's content. Browse the store and fill each of your containers with the items you need. Weigh your filled containers. Reusing bags or refillable containers is always better than using new ones – even if they are made of paper or other compostable material.
Despite everything, Bitu hasn’t been able to make it 100% plastic-free. The main reason is the biscuit packets that come in plastic wrappers. Every month they put a notice outside the shop listing the number of plastic bags they managed to discard. In the first 6 months, they managed to discard 2 lakh plastic covers and 12,000 plastic bottles. The shop is also known for its organic products. There are brushes made of bamboo and corn which are very eco-friendly.
Bittu who was an Aeronautical Engineer in Bangalore found inspiration in a plastic-free grocery shop in London and started his first green store. The commodities are stored in glass jars imported from Germany, China, and the US. He has invested around 45 lakhs in this business.