This café in Chhattisgarh will let you pay for a meal with plastic waste

India’s first ‘garbage café’ is an initiative of Ambikapur’s civic body, which will provide free meals to the homeless and ragpickers who have to pay for them with plastic waste.

A UN report suggests that the world is drowning in an ocean of plastic waste. Tackling plastic pollution has become more of a priority across the world with many organisations and governments coming up with creative ways to reduce its usage.

But what about all the plastic waste that already exists but goes unaccounted for or ends up in landfills and water bodies?

(representational image: Hindustan Times)

In order to incentivise responsible plastic collection and reuse, this ‘garbage café’ at Ambikapur, Surat district of Chhattisgarh, offers free meals to ragpickers and the homeless that they can pay for with plastic waste.

According to Vice, the café, the first-of-its-kind in India, is run by Ambikapur’s municipal corporation and will provide a free meal for every kilo of trash a person can provide, and free breakfast for 500 grams of waste collected. Later, the civic body will also aim at sheltering these poor people.

The café came into being after a recent announcement was made by Mayor Ajay Tirkey during the presentation of the municipality’s budget. An amount of Rs 5.5 lakh has been set aside for the café.

In case the authorities run out of money, the Corporation will ask MPs and MLAs to allocate some funds from their MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) and MLACD (Member of Legislative Assembly Constituency Development) funds, reports News 18.

The corporation plans to use the collected plastic waste to construct city roads. This won’t be the first time for the city to reimagine plastic reuse with its past experience of building an entire road stretch from eight lakh plastic bags mixed with asphalt.

While this is a novel concept in India, similar cafes have been operating around the world. One can find a garbage café in some parts of the US, London, and Cambodia. Some of these cafes are also constructed entirely using plastic waste.

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)

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