Home / Local news / A group of people from various fields meet up for ‘Curry and Conversation’ to tackle plastic pollution.

A group of people from various fields meet up for ‘Curry and Conversation’ to tackle plastic pollution.

 

Restaurant owners are joining forces in a bid to end single plastic use in the industry and reduce pollution.

The Plastic Pollution Awareness and Actions Project (PPAAP) charity has set up a pilot scheme to help restaurant and takeaway owners learn how to adapt to a plastic-free model.

And now over 40 restaurant owners and managers have signed up.

A dozen restaurant owners also got together for a meeting called ‘Curry and Conversation’ to highlight the issue – and find cost-effective and convenient alternatives to plastic.

The charity was set up by software engineer Naseem Talukdar, whose own parents ran an Indian restaurant before they retired.

Naseem, who also heads the charity Feed the Homeless, which provides home cooked meals, said: “My background in the restaurant industry and work with the homeless heightened my awareness of the huge amount of plastic used by takeaways.

“I wanted to speak out and rally people round, from a range of fields, to tackle this pressing problem and find a long-term solution.”

He said a typical takeway uses around 1,000 containers a week and PPAAP is looking to reduce this nationwide.

Planet and marine life

Marine biologist Mae Dorricott, an ambassador for PPAAP, has seen the effect of plastic on sea life first-hand.

She said plastic is a global issue which affects us all – whether we eat sea food or not. She said: “It’s in our beaches and in our seas. Plastic is made up of chemicals and it has an impact on us all. I think we all have our part to play in making this a better world to live in.”

She has called for people to start making small but long term changes to their daily habits.

Restaurants and takeaway

Thali, which runs award-winning Indian restaurants, looks to recycle as much as possible.

The group follows the Indian mantra of ‘jugaad’ (do more with less) and became the first Indian restaurant group to be awarded a Three Star Sustainability Champion Rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2013.

The chain uses tiffins, a reusable lunchbox system, and has sold over 11,000 to date. They also recycle the majority of their waste, including food and plastics.

Co director Jose Blanco Rodriguez (aka Pepe), who is a keen scuba diver, said: “As a diver, I have seen the impact plastic has on our seas and it’s awful.

“It’s simply not sustainable to use plastic every day, but total eradication is not practical either. Our ethos is to reuse and recycle as much as possible.”

Pilot projects

Moslek Uddin, of Chutney’s takeaway, has joined the scheme and is calling for other takeaway owners to get involved.

Moslek also heads the campaign group UK Curry Connect (UKCC), which was set up to raise awareness of staff and skill shortage in the Asian catering industry.

He said: “We have over 55,000 takeaway places in England and we drastically need to reduce single use plastic.”

Ibrahim Romel, 29, of Indian takeaway Rajastan Royal, met Naseem through the charity Feed the Homeless and regularly provided homemade food.

He was inspired by his two young children to help tackle plastic pollution.

The scheme will trial various products to find an alternative to plastic, with the aim to roll it to restaurants and takeways across the country.

He said: “My children would watch sea life on the television or visit the animals at the zoo and get very upset when they saw or learned of the impact plastic was having on them. I also think it’s important to do our bit to protect the planet for the next generation.”

The scheme will trial various products to find an alternative to plastic, with the aim to roll it to restaurants and takeways across the country.