April 21st, 2016
Madurai couple Krishnan and Gowri were leading a satisfying married life, with both of them working in two big MNCs. But their perspectives in life changed after the birth of their daughter in 2010. They started to grow more concerned about their next generation and felt something needs to be done to change the unsustainable way of living in the society. That is how they came with the idea of The Yellow Bag, an initiative to make the society plastic-free. They wanted to do away with the use of plastic bags and make cloth bags in rural India sell it at a genuine price to shops and events. Plastic bags, as you might know, is non-biodegradable and the chemicals used to make plastic bags are xylene, ethylene oxide, and benzene. These are toxic chemicals that are sources of various diseases as well as disorders in humans.
Employment & Environment
The Yellow Bag initiative aims at reducing or elimination of hazardous plastic bags, being environment-friendly and providing mass employment. The Yellow Bag initiative not only make cloth bags but also conducts awareness campaigns with students and communities about the problems of using plastic bags. The initiative follows Gandhian principles and prefers producing the cloth bags with the help of the mass and giving employment opportunities to women.
Bringing to life the tailoring machine
Krishnan and Gowri had found out that many households had tailoring machines, but those remained unused because most of the people were switching to factory-made clothes, instead of tailored clothes. The couple thought of making use of those unused sewing machines, and in 2014, they started the social production of cloth bags by employing women working from home.
The cloth bags are made of 100 per cent cotton that gets decomposed easily, to make it more eco-friendly, they don’t even use dyes to colour the cloth, as it contaminates waterways. Instead, the bags are manually screen printed. The initiative has also brought under it, physically and mentally challenged women, enabling them with skills to work cloth production. All these remarkable efforts have led to the production of over 50,000 bags till now.
The initiative now seeks to make PIL and Petitions in court to bring about a major amendment in the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Amendment Rules. They are also trying to make some structures school and college programmes to make the educational institutes a ‘zero plastic zone’. With the help of their tailoring model, they are planning to produce one lakh bags every month, giving employment to more women.
Some of the rules of the existing law include
- Ban on use of plastic materials in sachets for storing ,packing or selling gutkha, tobacco, and pan masala
- No foodstuff will be allowed to be packet in recycled plastics or compostable plastics
- Recycled carry bags to have specific BIS standards, colour to the prescription by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), uniform thickness shall not be less than 40 microns in carry bags etc.
The Logical Indian appreciates the efforts made by the couple to make the society a plastic-free zone.You can also help Krishnan and Gowri by volunteering with them. For more information , kindly visit – http://www.theyellowbag.org/