Bittu John is an inspiration for people. Kothamangalam native Bittu John launched his grocery store, the “7 to 9 Green Store,” in Kolenchery six months ago with the aim of reducing plastic usage and trash.
Since carry bags from bakeries or grocery stores make up the majority of the plastic materials found in households, Bittu has developed a concept that urges users to limit their use of plastic.
“The idea is known as BYOC, or Bring Your Own Container. It promotes recycling and refilling. The facility is an upgraded version of the neighbourhood grocery shop. We used to travel to stores with bottles of edible oil about 20 years ago to get it. Now we purchase items from stores that are packaged in plastic coverings or bottles. Everything we purchase from a store, even ten items, will be wrapped in plastic. Customers can visit this store and fill their bottles or containers from the tightly closed bins where the supplies are kept. This eliminates the threat of packing cover, according to Bittu.
Additionally, the store sells glass bottles, paper bags, and bags made of organic cotton for its customers. Cotton bags and glass bottles have varied prices. The cost of cotton bags is one-time. The same bags can be used to transport groceries after the items have been unloaded at home. Thus, the idea of reuse is realised. Additionally, the glass bottles can be returned for a refund after use, the man adds.
Every time they shop, consumers who bring their own bags receive a 2% discount. “While promoting the idea of reuse and refill, people must also gain from it.” Bittu, an MTech graduate of Viswajyothi College of Engineering and Technology in Vazhakulam, was employed in Bengaluru. He discovered a food store that advocated the use of no plastic while in London. “My father already managed a supermarket. I reasoned why Kerala shouldn’t also adopt it. Approximately 4,80,000 kg of plastic garbage are discarded daily in Malaya. Recyclable plastic garbage accounts for just 7% of total waste. Our activity will have such dangerous consequences,” he claims. The Bittu’s store is regarded as having adopted the BYOC idea first in the state. Up to this point, his store has sold 12,000 plastic bottles and 2 lakh paper bags.
Items are available to customers in loose amounts. “If a consumer purchases 20 things from my store, 15 of them won’t have plastic wrapping on them. Mineral water purchased outside the country costs Rs. 20, and the bottle is then discarded. They can fill up the same amount of water at the store for Rs 5, says Bittu. He confirms that opening the store was difficult and expensive. However, the selling aspect was simple, and the shop has about 250 customers each day. As a result of Bittu’s initiatives to reduce plastic consumption, various schools have asked him to conduct awareness lessons.