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Paper bags in demand

Manufacturers say they started getting a lot of calls after the ban on plastic bags became official

The ban on plastic in the State has turned out to be a boon for manufacturers of paper bags. They have reported a spurt in interest with retailers, hotels and restaurants dominating the enquiries. Paper bags are being seen as the obvious replacement for plastic carry bags.

Kala Charlu, founder of Multiple Initiatives Towards Upliftment (MITU), said they had been receiving a ‘lot of enquiries’ of late, mostly through references. “The demand is from shops and hotels. In fact, a big retail shop has asked for 4,000 bags at one go. We are seeing demand from areas such as Koramangala, Whitefield and Bellandur. They are even ready to come and collect the bags when we informed that we may have to charge for delivery,” she said.

Made with old newspapers by people in Nelamangala, Chikkabanavara and other places, these bags are priced between 70 paise and Rs. 6 per piece. “We use two layers of newspapers. But if the customer insists, we add an additional brown paper in the end to give it a uniform look and allow them to print whatever they want to,” Ms. Charlu added.
Things are looking up for mass manufacturers too. Bharath V. R., owner of Bag Factor, an automated bag manufacturer, said apparel and shoe companies had begun calling ever since the ban was made official. “We have the capacity to prepare 20 lakh bags a month. But we are running far under capacity as of now, making just around five lakh. Only big retailers are willing to purchase the bags, which cost between Rs. 7.50 and Rs. 12 per piece, depending on paper quality,” he said. Kondaiah Chowdary’s Creative Print Pack, a Hyderabad-based company, caters mainly to Bengaluru. He is getting a lot of calls from hotels and restaurants for paper bags for takeaways. Their main clientele otherwise comprises retailers of mobile phones, optical equipment and apparel shops.

However, scrap dealers are yet to witness an increase in demand for old newspapers. "The ban order is all too new," said Vijay Kumar, a dealer in V.V. Puram. At present, they buy old newspapers for anywhere between Rs. 9 and Rs. 11 per kg. Old cardboard boxes and material are bought for Rs. 7.

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