A meal in exchange for a kilo of waste; Odisha joins the responsible plastic use brigade

Following in the footsteps of Chhattisgarh, Odisha's Koraput town has rolled out the initiative under the state government’s Aahar Scheme. On the first day, 10kg of plastic waste was collected and 10 meals served to those bringing it in.

2nd Nov 2019
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This July, Chhattisgarh opened a café that serves meals in exchange for plastic waste brought in. Inspired by this initiative, Odisha has recently launched a similar outlet where one can get a Rs 5-meal in exchange for a kilogram of plastic waste.


Standing for a barter system that is both charitable and responsible, this initiative has been rolled out under the state government’s Aahar Scheme and was flagged off by the Kotpad Notified Area Council (NAC) in Koraput district of Odisha, on Monday this week.


A town known for its sarees and handloom products, Koraput is now spearheading this drive. The waste collected and brought in by residents includes polythene bags, plastic bottles, and cups, officials said.


Plastic waste

India’s top 60 cities generate 15,000 tonnes of plastic every single day.




Speaking to The Hindu, Alok Samantaray, Executive Officer, Kotpad NAC, said,


“Plastic waste chokes drains, traps birds, and kills livestock apart from causing serious health hazards to humans. This is a small step to protect the environment and the health of people.”


On the first day of the initiative, 10kg of plastic was collected and, in exchange, 10 meals were served to those who brought the waste in.


“Seeing people’s enthusiasm for the programme, we are hopeful that in the next few weeks, we will be able to free the town of polythene garbage,” adds Alok.


As part of efforts to make the town plastic-free, officials have also been assigned to go door-to-door and sensitise residents on the need to curb plastic use, stated a report on NDTV.


In another initiative to reduce plastic waste in the state, the government had earlier installed milk ATMs in Ganjam district. Citizens were urged to bring their own containers instead of using the more common plastic milk pouches.


In Chhattisgarh, the social initiative of providing free meals in exchange for plastic waste was kicked off by the Garbage Café in Ambikapur. The café provides free meals to the homeless and ragpickers, who pay for their meals with 1kg of plastic waste. Incidentally, Ambikapur has bagged the tag of the second-cleanest city in the country.


The city corporation plans to use the collected plastic waste to construct roads. Credibly, this isn’t the first time the city is reimagining plastic reuse. Earlier, an entire stretch of a road was built from eight lakh plastic bags mixed with asphalt.


(Edited by Suruchi Kapur-Gomes)



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