It's been over two days back that single-use plastic has been completely banned in metropolitan and in tier 2 cities. The environment and climate ministry say "From July 1, 2022, manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of following single-use plastics, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, will be prohibited." This also included phasing out of single-use plastic bags or SUPs with thicknesses less than 75 microns.
As per government order, apart from polythene bags, many other items are included in the ban, such as plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (Thermocol) used for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrappings around sweet boxes, invitation cards, stirrers, etc. A long list….
IMPACT OF PLASTIC BAN ON THE F&B INDUSTRY
Other than fruit and vegetable vendors, this ban has affected the F&B industry. The plastic ban in India impacts almost every industry small or big. Specifically, the F&B industry is one of the worst-hit industries because it has an extensive utilization of all the banned including all affordable food packaging materials, plastic cutleries and containers, and daily use-based disposable materials. The culture of Food packaging in India has flourished only because of the availability of inexpensive plastic packaging which consists of plastic containers with lids typically sealed with SUP. tapes (the one used by zomato or swiggy branding their services). Plastic-made packaging items are lightweight which reduces transportation costs and eliminating them from the industry is like losing millions of dollars.
Apart from packaging, we require cutleries for restaurants and food corners. Plastic cutlery is much more popular than any other form. Plastic spoons and forks, disposable and thermocol / polystyrene cups to serve coffee or tea or shakes are primary requirements of F&B. Straws are made up of SUPs.Other than eatery-based items, this time people are much more concerned about hygiene. Since the covid times, hygienic food has gained huge demand from customers as well as the preferences of chefs and waiters. Plastic gloves that had been the sacred thread for the staff. They too are covered under a long list of banned plastic items. Plastic garbage bags, the prime requirement of the industry, have to suffer because of the ban and so does the industry.
According to FCCI, Packaging accounts for a third of India’s plastic consumption. Seeing all these statistics, plastic packaging products have been the life and light of the Food Businesses; without these, it would be difficult to drive the industry on smooth rails. According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, 70 percent of plastic packaging is turned into waste in a short span. This generates tonnes of waste in a single day that cannot be recycled or reused. This remains in the environment and slowly degrades it. Even after so many drawbacks, packaging materials cannot be alienated from the hospitality industry because of their cheapness.
The ban has impacted overall sales of F&B, and the takeaways and home deliveries of some items are getting difficult
The big thing is that non-compliance with the order would bring huge losses in terms of fines. No scope for negotiations. A fine of Rs 5000 for the first time offense, and will add subsequently if non-following up to more fine and imprisonment of at least three months.
PLASTIC ALTERNATIVES at WHAT COST?
There are alternatives available to plastic packaging products but their availability and affordability never meet the horizon simultaneously. The need and demands are huge and so are their costs. Everything comes at the stake of others. If businesses begin investing in alternatives to plastic packaging, subsequently they will charge more from the customers, this will add up to the delivery cost. With higher delivery costs, the customer behavior of ordering food begins limbering down. The other way to make up for their cost is to reduce the quality or taste of the food or compromise the hygiene which may ruin the overall image.
Most affected are small food chains, food vendors, and roadside food stalls. The accessibility, as well as the unaffordability of the other alternatives, may create difficult situations for them to sustain their businesses. Let's look at what best we can bring in as a substitute for plastic items and benefit the food businesses.
AN AFFORDABLE SHIFT!
Well, for now, the only option is shifting gears. Accepting it as a new normal, one has to adapt to the plastic alternatives to compensate for the loss that humans have brought to the environment for some centuries. The option available to us is eco-friendly alternatives to plastic. A sustainable food packaging option that is biodegradable, compostable, and organically made with no chemicals. This includes paper boxes, and baggage containers made of fiber or wood pulp, cellulose packaging is moisture resistant, chemical-free, non-sticky and non-greasy texture. Bagasse is leakproof and is safe for gravy items. There is a high demand for paper straws and biodegradable cups and glasses throughout the market. Wooden cutleries such as forks and spoons found an important space in dining. All this comes with its own cost.
But it's nothing to worry about, we at horecastop have a long list of alternative plastic packaging materials or eco-friendly packaging material available with big discounts on bulk orders. Paper and cellulose packaging, biodegradable cups, wooden cutleries, everything which can make the earth rejuvenate again.
We at horecastop work for environmental causes. We begin circulating word about the destruction caused by men to our environment. We can compensate by switching our habits to best practices to see the green globally. There can be some ways by which F&B businesses could make a remarkable difference while delivering or serving food to their customers. Switching sustainably will require a little investment which over time would reap a hump of harvest. We can make difference by following simple practices such as -
During the phone order process, ask customers if they need cutlery, or implement a question for online delivery orders, "Do you need cutlery?" Use paper or wooden instead of plastic and make it as a campaign for reducing plastic waste.
Ask the customers to bring their own carry bags or use paper bags instead of poly bags.
In-house operations, replace plastic wrap with reusable plastic or vinyl sheet rack covers.
Straws and stirrers can be of paper or bamboo and make sure the customer requires them.
Purchase glass or aluminum cans instead of plastic bottles for stocked individual beverages.
Using glassware for serving coffee and other beverages is a good alternative to disposable cups, and glassware can be cleaned easily.
It is time to replace wooden cutlery with plastic ones.
With this ban, the F&B industry is shaken. Though it is difficult for the businesses to suddenly shift all their ways and methods into something new that has to be done. Most of the outlets have begun, and the brands have money to invest but the smaller business are at stake to get ruptured but horecastop has made things easier and within your budget. You can check our quality-certified catalog of eco-friendly packaging material and other alternatives such as cutlery, crockery, and glassware at our online store and easily place orders. We have made procurements easy just at your fingertips.