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Eateries request customers to bring own tiffin boxes to carry takeaways

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PUNE: Working professional Adhiraj Mishra found it amusing when a neighbourhood restaurant asked him to take the ‘sambar’ in a tiffin box.
“While coming home from work recently, I called up a restaurant to pack a south Indian meal. The manager made a strange request. He asked me if I could bring a container for carrying sambar and chutney,” said Mishra.

With limited options to pack takeaway orders following the plastic ban, restaurants in the city have resorted to desperate moves. They are even requesting customers to bring tiffin boxes with them to carry takeaway orders.
Roopraj Shetty, the owner of Navmi Garden on Ahmednagar Road, said ever since the plastic ban, restaurants have been unable to find a suitable alternative to plastic containers. “Paper containers are not sturdy. When we get calls for parcel orders, we ask the customers if they could get their own steel containers or tiffin boxes. Close to 30-40% bring their own tiffin boxes,” he said.

Ganesh Shetty, president, Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA), said, “Restaurants are facing problems like food losses using paper bags, apart from having limited options for containers to pack curries in. So, when people come for takeaways or call us for orders, we give them the option to bring tiffin boxes along. But people are not used to it.”

Nilesh P Kolapkar, director, Post 91, a restaurant in Baner, said, “We have been requesting customers calling us for parcels to bring their own containers, if they have ordered gravies. In case of appetisers, we have been using silver foil and paper containers. Close to 15% customers bring their own containers for takeaways, while others find the practice odd.”

Kolapkar said some customers were preferring to use apps to order food after the plastic ban instead of taking it away from a restaurant. “They prefer to pay extra delivery charges them rather than go through the hassle of carrying containers to pick up food,” he said.

Vikram Shetty, vice-president, PRAHA, said many restaurants had begun the practice after the plastic ban as curries, chutneys and sauces leak out of other containers.

On March 23, the state government had issued the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) notification banning plastic items.

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