Rent cutlery for small events, Bangalore

Creating a simple habit to say NO to single use disposables. It’s an idea that leads to an amazing understanding of our own consumption patterns. – Vani Murthy speaks

Why we need it

It has been a decade since I dived into trash😁 and the journey has been incredible. When we talk of garbage or trash it is about stuff that is at its “end of use” for us. It is something that we have to discharge out of our homes.

If a city like ours generates 5000 tons per day, you can very well imagine what happens to it and how it impacts our environment.
So the first step is to go back to our grandparents’ days when they lived the most sustainable way. Reuse was the mantra!!

All they used were steel plates, tumblers, spoons, cloth bags, reusable sanitary pads/ cloths, well-used cotton cloth diapers for kids, kitchen waste going to cows or getting composted and so on.
Today, with the increased use of single use disposables, we are seeing huge amounts of trash generated from get-togethers and events. So as a practice, me and many of my friends started carrying our own alternatives to disposables so that we could refuse single use disposables every time we encountered them.

A mindset or ignorance?
We found that using disposables was the new status symbol. People found it most convenient to ‘use and throw’ and never bothered to know or understand the impact of this practice on our health and the health of our planet.

What is renting cutlery and how does it work?

This prompted many of us to invest in a set of reusable steel plates, cups, tumblers and spoons. We began primarily to encourage family and friends to plan events without generating single use, disposable waste. I have a set of 50 that I lend for small celebrations and there are many people in Bangalore who have invested time and energy in running similar ventures.

Here are a few more pointers for when you need it. Look these up to rent for events in Bangalore.

Rent a cutlery

Image owner: Rent a Cutlery

Soil and health: You can rent a set with a lunch plate, snack plate, two glasses, and a cup, all in steel, for Rs.15. Each item is priced separately too if you need to customise the set.

Cutlery for rent. Image owner: Soil and Health
Cutlery set. Image owner: Soil and Health

Reuse Cutlery Bank: Started by KRPuram Rising, they offer steel cutlery free of cost. 65 dinner plates, 300 water / juice glasses, 100 snack plates, 80 sweet bowls, 100 spoons, 100 tea glasses.

Spill Savers: Rent entire dining sets, which include plates, bowls, spoons, water glasses, and even cloth napkins for parties and events.

Walk the talk

The more we talk about sustainable practices, the more we create awareness and that it turn helps us take action. The result is a better world for our future.

Share, if you know similar ventures, in the comments!

Water

How to make Bengaluru Water Secure!

Citizen Matters is working on a special series. How can Bengaluru stop hurtling towards Day Zero?

Second to None is happy to support the work on this series, by raising some funds to enable the research through a 220 Market, which was held on July 27th, 2019..

Citizen Matters – the award-winning digital civic media platform brings you in-depth coverage of urban issues – with insightful reporting, ideas and solutions. Complementing this with open access to data (through Open City data platform)  and citizen engagement — we have been empowering citizens to work towards better cities for over a decade now. This work is supported by Oorvani Foundation using reader funding, HNI donations, and grants from foundations and corporates.

These are some recent headlines in Citizen Matters related to Bengaluru’s water challenges

Our coverage of root causes, government projects and citizen initiatives have had significant impact on the ground. And it is even more critical now to

  • Dive deep into hard questions like – How is the government planning to support a proposed population of 25 Million in 2030? How sustainable are the ideas of getting water from Yettinahole or Mekedatu? How can we reduce consumption? How can we create new sources of water? How do we fix the the problem? 
  • Document and help spread ideas and solutions that can stop Bengaluru from getting to Day Zero!

Can I stop generating waste?

In all workshops that Vani Murthy conducts on managing waste, there is one tenet that she stresses on, even before suggesting ways of tackling waste. 

The question to ask, she says, is “How can I, as an individual, stop generating waste in the first place?”

Says Vani, “Only when we generate waste, do we have to start thinking of ways to recycle it, upcycle it, or dispose of it consciously. If we, as individuals, or as households, nip usage of a number of materials in the bud, then we don’t generate the waste at all.”

How can we do this?

Set guidelines at home, for:

  • Shopping for groceries.
  • Just shopping, for other things.
  • Eating out.
  • Ordering food or other online items.
  • Attending events.
  • In the office.
  • At community events. 
  • Packing lunch to school / office. 
Vani Murthy talking to visitors about managing waste
Vani Murthy talking to visitors about managing waste

Shopping for groceries

NO small plastic covers. If you’re shopping at your local grocery store for unpackaged groceries, carry plastic covers or containers you already have at home. Ask the store to pack loose or slightly wet items in those, not use new material. At first, it may seem odd, and a little more time consuming. Make an effort to be efficient at this, at the counter. The store will catch on, so will other shoppers! 

Just shopping

NO plastic bags. Bags. Bags. Bags. The little receptacle in your two wheeler, car boot. Stock with cloth bags. Put one inside the other if you’re walking.

NO add additional packing for items that don’t need it. Tell the store employees. Most times, they will wrap ceramic mugs, plates, or even less fragile things like cutlery in bubble wrap. Each one. If we’re not traveling far, we really don’t need this. 

Eating out

NO plastic straws – at a restaurant, cafe, Dharshini, juice centre. Carry a steel straw / bamboo straw or drink straight from the glass! Check this for more info: Plastic straw alternatives  

NO plastic sheet between the food and plate, if food is being served on a plate. Tell them in advance, if you know! 

REFUSE paper cups, paper plates, and plastic cutlery. STOCK YOUR BAG with a glass, a small plate and a spoon. Makes a HUGE difference – at food courts in malls! 

More implementable tips in posts to follow, which are not inconvenient and take just a small mental switch to begin.

Share if you’re practising already! Comment if you made a decision to change one habit today…

The Annual 220 Fundraiser

Second To None – the Living Garage Sale In association with Citizen Matters, Bengaluru
brings you The Annual 220 Fundraiser

Sat, 27th July | Rangoli Metro Art Centre | 10 AM to 6 PM

Second to None brings back the open market to help us reuse and conserve. Upcycled and recycled home decor, bags, accessories, small utilitarian products from upcycled wood, textiles, and a collection of well preserved pre-loved items. Workshops and sessions on how to create with discarded materials.
The proceeds support — How to make Bengaluru Water Secure! A special series on how Bengaluru can stop hurtling towards Day Zero, by Citizen Matters.

STALLS AT THE MARKET

  • ANU LIFE: Tetra packs and plastic used to create bags, pouches, and more.
  • Rimagined: All kinds of household goods upcycled.
  • 5th Cross Antiques: Old wood, into utilitarian products for the home and garden.
  • Ethnocraft: Patchwork articles.
  • Blue made green: Bunting, bags and more with denim
  • Studio Alaya: Furniture, upcycled.
  • Leviathan Customz: Art, craft, upcylced bottles.
  • Eleven: Used bottles
  • Paper Fantasies: Decoupage on all kinds of materials,  
  • Bottled up: Used bottles turned into decor and lights.
  • Yaapaai: Decoupaged – small furniture and used household items   
  • The Metta community: Home improvement and jewellery using upcycled yarn, fabric and bottles
  • Glasshopper: Stained glass upcycling
  • Goobe books: Good old books  
  • Sattvam: Upcycled fabric
  • A range of household preloved products

Talks / workshops

  • 12 PM to 2 PM: Vani Murthy on best practises in waste management
  • 11 to 1 PM and 2 to 4 PM: Preethi Prabhu: on creating lamp shades with used newspaper
  • Reinvention on reusing fabric
  • Hasirudala on waste management

Repair Cafe, Bangalore

It bridges the gap between the old and the young, it creates a community of like minded people to come together, it also works as a way to trust each other in handling personal objects of unknown folks.

– Antara Mukherjee

Repair and reuse. Seems like a no brainer, right? Saves money, compared to buying a whole new product. Comforts, continuing to use what we’ve had a long time. Reduces waste. Gives satisfaction, in using our skills to mend and fix. And still, repair seems to have become an alien concept, at least in the big cities today. Can spaces like Repair Cafe bring back the culture?

We talk to Antara Mukherji, who began Repair Cafe in Bangalore.

When and why did you start Repair Cafe In Bangalore? Did you see a need around you,  or did a personal experience spark it?

We started RC in Bangalore in the year 2015. Yes we felt a disconnect, a large imploring gap between people who can work with their hands (irrespective of their social status) and mend things and people who are unaware that things can be mended. Repair is a dying profession in the urban context. We felt that we need to have platform where such issues can be addressed.

How old is Repair Cafe? 

RC is an international non-profit organization started by Martine Postma in 2009 in Netherland. More info here.

Do you conduct workshops and people do their own repairs? What format does the cafe run?

Yes. The idea is to assist the people to do their own repairs. We carry tools, spares and we have a team of both hobbyist as well as professional repair folk. It is a mobile workshop. We conduct repair workshops in different areas and communities.

Picture courtesy: Repair Cafe.

What were the initial days like? And how did you spread the word?

We spent 3-5 months in the market looking for people who do repairs in the city. We spoke to them and we realised they were not very keen on carrying it forward as a profession. We also looked for hobbyists who liked mending and we were lucky to find them willing to volunteer for us. Repair Cafe was featured in the Economics Times before our first cafe took place at Rangoli Metro. Since then Repair Cafe has been written about in many publishing platforms without us pursuing them!

A couple of decades ago, repair was a common enough concept for all of us. Not any more. Do you see more people coming in for repairs today? Or is it a select few?

We have found that children are very keen in learning the skill, or rather, they are proactive, if given a chance. So it’s our liability to keep the culture of repair alive for them to take over in the future. Similarly we found many old folks (in their 50’s and older) really relate to us and have been very supportive to the cause both with their presence and skills. People also realise the benefit of repair in a larger context but we see a reluctance to do things themselves. The skill to mend stuff has become a ‘cool’ thing to do!
There are many more layers of social behaviours as well that came to light for us. It bridges the gap between the old and the young, it creates a community of like minded people to come together, it also paves the way to trust each other in handling personal objects of unknown folk. Repair cafe workshops have been a revelation.

Is Repair Cafe an urban concept? Is it needed only in an urban context?

Although we assume it as an urban concept, as we speak the dynamics of semi-urban societies are changing. To some extent generating waste follows affluence and abundance.

What kinds of products are brought in for repair? 

Small electrical items like toasters, electric kettles, iron boxes and such. We have fixed vacuum cleaners, mixer-grinders, and a host of kitchen appliances. Cycles, clothes, shoes and bags can be mended in a typical repair cafe.

Pictures courtesy: Repair Cafe.

Are there Repair Cafes other than this one in Bangalore? How does one start one?

We did one in Hyderabad in 2017. Right now it’s only in Bangalore but we are speaking to many individuals to extend the concept and the workshops beyond Bangalore. There are processes to be followed in the workshop and data to be collated. So we are willing to help people kick start repair cafe in other cities, with a printed guide, and some personal guidance!  

Any other thoughts you would like to share?

Repairing is considered as a cognitive therapy for elderlies with dementia and people with history of trauma and depression.We are exploring this aspect with the help of a grant from Burning Man and collaborating with Cogworks which is an art therapy centre for dementia patients in Bangalore.

  • Repair Cafe on Facebook
  • Mail: repaircafe.bengaluru@gmail.com
  • Do reach out to Repair Cafe if you would like to conduct repair workshops in your apartment, community, club. It’s great for kids meet-ups too. They learn to repair their bikes, toys, gadgets, and more.

Revive!

In the last three years, much has happened. We have all been busy with work in other areas, while the Facebook page of 220 has continued to live, with buyers and sellers transacting. We have a few great volunteer moderators who quietly support and keep the group on track.

We’re looking at a market, yes! This year.

We’re hoping  to revive this space to share ideas. Keeping this short for now… Keep connecting.

Stalls at the 220 Vimochana market

Look what’s on offer at the market on August 8th, Saturday. Watch out for more information on fun stuff like a Raffle, and a super big hamper to be won at the event!

Aruna Padmanabhan’s Miniature fridge magnets and key chains created from recycled materials and enhanced with homemade dough of maida and ceramic
G Bharathi’s Up-cycled jewelry, home decor, and some fun things for children (boxes) made with magazine paper and news paper
Vidya Ramamurthy’s Bags made with newspaper and other colorful paper, book marks, shagun envelops, zipper clutches made with scrap cloth,
baby saree quilts with Kantha work, potlis and many more recycled goodies
Manveen’s Upcycled products
Recode’s Gently used clothes
Priyamvada Chaudhary Shoes and clothes
Raksha Shoes, sarees, clothes, handbags
Manjari Pre-loved clothes, books, watches, sunglasses, accessories
Shankary Gently used hand made lamp shades, vases, carpets, paintings, ceramic tea pots, from Auroville, Srinagar, Jaipur. Bags, shoes,  western office wear
Claire Rao, Vani Murthy, Rekha Nair, Chatura Padaki and friends, Kuhu, Naveen, and many others who have donated Cotton sarees, books, belts, bags, crockery, CDs, and more
The Friday Convent Never worn really amazing fashion and designer clothes, and TFC T shirts

From the Vimochana network

Concern for Working Children Khadi clothes and accessories, products made with jute and clay
Ms. Zara Apparel
Uma Maheshwari Candles made by women who are being enabled to earn a livlihood
Harmeet Handmade jewelry

reduce | reuse | recycle