Weddings in the time of zero plastic

Lack of alternatives and rising costs plague caterers

Life has become difficult for some after the plastics ban came into force this month.

For caterers at weddings, many of the items they were using have just disappeared overnight. At least four of their must-haves — plastic sheets, paper cups, plastic cups, non-woven bags — are in the list of banned items.

“We have switched over to stainless steel tumblers. But at every wedding we end up losing 50-odd tumblers. Also we are not sure if wedding halls can manage the required water to clean them, especially at a time when the city is facing a crisis due to a failed monsoon,” said L.N. Srinivasan of LVN Catering, Mylapore.

Managers of wedding halls are not quite sure of what has been banned and what is allowed. “Some places permit us to use plastic sheets for tables since it is not used for food. Though we have had quite a large number of green weddings last year, after the ban, the wedding parties too are confused. But we are managing with whatever non-polluting items we can,” he added.

Alternatives an issue
“Finding the right alternative is a problem,” says Balaji Srinivasan of Lakshmi Narasimhar Catering Services, Triplicane. “The ban has pushed us back by several decades. Some customers don’t seem to like the look of cloth bags. We could not make designer stuff at a short notice and so our budget went up due to jute bags,” he said.

In the case of weddings that happen on a shoe-string budget, cutting costs is next to impossible, said Mr. Srinivasan. “If the number of guests is small, people always try to cut down on expenses. If we go for alternatives, we cannot do that,” he said.

Delivering flowers and garlands without plastics too has become an issue. “I wrap garlands in newspapers or wet cloth and deliver it to the marriage hall and ask them to place them in an AC room. Earlier, due to the availability of plastic covers I used to deliver much ahead of the muhurtham. Now, I deliver it at the right time so they stay fresh,” said A. Murugesan, a garland vendor.

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