A few years back, I met her for the first time – a smiling face, a confident persona and assuring pieces of advice – this was my first impression of Dr Anuja Pethe, my little son’s paediatrician.
A few months back, Dr Pethe came across a video of a woman in Australia who had started an initiative of borrowing cloth bags and returning them by dropping the bags in a box placed outside prominent stores.
So instead of just giving likes to such videos, Dr Pethe decided to implement the same locally in order to transform her suburb, Vile Parle, plastic bag free.
Vile Parle is a beautiful suburb in the mega city, Mumbai and takes pride in various educational institutes and cultural centres.
The Granny Way
Dr Anuja Pethe, along with two of her architect friends, Uma Joshi and Manasi Thite-Dighe, conceived the project ‘The Granny Way’ and started the work on a Cloth Bag Library.
Initially, they asked for donations of cloth from friends and relatives and spread the word through WhatsApp. The donations were collected in the form of old good quality bedsheets, curtains, sarees and dupattas.
This was then sent to the remote Adivasi areas of Palghar District, Maharashtra, where the tailors stitched bags out of them, thus generating employment. After having a sizeable number of good quality reusable cloth bags, the women approached the vendors to gain their cooperation.
Several Vile Parle residents from Nagrik Dakshata of Lokamnya Seva Sangh also helped them talk and convince the vendors to become their partners.
Now The Granny Way is trying to reach out to more and more people through WhatsApp and Facebook makes people aware of the cloth bag library. Furthermore, the women visit vegetable vendors and shopkeepers to motivate them to partner with the initiative.
The cloth bags are distributed free of cost to partnering vendors. Customers can borrow a bag for a nominal deposit of ₹10. The cloth bags can be returned at their convenience and the deposit is refunded. This ensures that the usage of plastic bags is avoided as people can’t give the excuse of forgetting to a carry cloth bag from their home.
What can we do to encourage people to use cloth bags?
- Start a similar project in your local area.
- For all your shopping, use cloth bags.
- For all your impulsive shopping, make use of Granny cloth bag and return it, so they remain in circulation.
- Continue donating old but good cloth like bedsheets, curtains, sarees, dupattas etc. for this project.
- You can buy these bags too, so The Granny Way will have some cash to reinvest.
- The Granny Way is starting potli bag project for gifting purpose, so as to create more employment. You can spread the word for that too.
The Logical Indian appreciates the efforts taken by Dr Anuja Pethe and her friends. With people like them, it is not impossible to make this world plastic bag free. We urge everyone to switch to cloth bags and spread awareness about the environmental hazards of using plastic.
To get in touch with The Granny Way team, follow them on Facebook.