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The Straw Less Taken



With cranked up bass in the background, Tanuj Kothari, who is sipping a white frothy drink from a kulhad at Odeon Social in Connaught Place (CP), is shocked to find that he has been drinking from a paper straw through the evening. His friend seated beside him expresses her concern over how she can no longer chew the paper straw like the plastic one. “Now I can’t do that,” she says. Following the recent ban of plastic cups and glasses in Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, Delhi’s Odeon Social is one of the many outlets in the Capital that has decided to contribute to a greener environment by choosing to replace plastic straws with their paper versions.

Over the past couple of months, Beer Café has been dishing out orange paper straws across its various outlets in Delhi while KFC at Lajpat Nagar and CP among others is serving wooden cutlery with food. Candy-like paper straws with pink stripes and wooden cutlery at Wenger’s, the Delhi bakery and one of the few remaining joints from colonial India, have been greeting customers for three months now. Manager Charanjeet Singh, 75, who has been working here for over 50 years, says, “Since plastic is being banned, we are trying to remove plastic cutlery and straws we provided our servings with. People are complimenting us on the move and say that we have done a good job. We have also brought in wooden spoons,” he says.

Cocktails & Dreams in Sector 15, Gurgaon, is now using steel straws, which would initially go missing as customers would take them along. “After realising how plastic straws take years to decompose, the management decided to have an eco-friendly approach. Steel straws are durable, reusable and easy to wash. We also allow customers to buy the straw for Rs 153, which is our vendor’s price.” says manager Rajesh Ojha.

For the last 10 months, Smoke House Deli in Mumbai and Bangalore apart from its outlets in Khan Market, Saket, CP and Vasant Kunj in Delhi, has also turned to paper straws, apart from giving out wooden cutlery for its takeaway options. Diljeet Singh Bindra, general manager of the northern region, says, “Initially we had some queries as paper straws were not easy to use. But our guests have understood the reason behind this move of switching to eco-friendly products. There has been a shift in mentality and that is a good sign.” The restaurant also uses takeaway bags made of paper and jute.

In terms of cost for a restaurant, there has been an increase. “We are still working for a better price. Currently the paper straw costs us Rs 2.75 per straw. You can get 12 plastic straws for that price,” says Bindra. “But awareness about the planet, too, is significant. The move is likely to help the ecosystem in some way,” says Singh.

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