The Return of the Yellow Bag ( Manjai Pai ) to Shopping

Not sure how many of you noticed it , but following a government notification to discourage the use of plastic bags while shopping, all major retailers have started charging for plastic Carry Bags. The aim of this initiative is to create more awareness among consumers about the environmental impact of plastic.

So we end up paying extra Re 1 or Re 2 or Re 4 or Re 7 for various sizes of carry bags to carry the stuff that we buy. The more you buy, the more Carry Bags you need to buy ! The Government clearly did not tell the retailers to charge but they have smartly used the notification and are making something out of nothing in terms of revenue , however small it may be.

While we are happy with the intent , we can challenge the retailers to :

1. Give us a cloth bag or any other environmental friendly bag that we can carry our stuff. We are paying for it anyway , so we can demand the right thing , is it not ? And these can be re used.

2. Since we are paying for the cost of the bag , we can object to the use of the Retailer name in the carry bag and ask for ones with no branding ... Why should we pay for and advertise someone else ?

3. We can carry our own bags and refuse to pay for the carry bags

I was just thinking how quickly this concept of "Carry bags" has turned around . Early 1990's and till around 1996 or so , carry bags were non existent. All of us carried a "Yellow Bag" ( Manjai Pai ) carefully folded and will not venture out for any of our vegetable or grocery purchase without this bag. I have carried multiple bags for my household purchase and you recycled the bags all the time . ( we even washed it to keep it good looking and free from bad odour ). You could easily identify a person on a shopping mission just by seeing the bag he had .

And then things changed. Every one started using the Carry bags-- retailers , panwallas , roadside vendor including the flower vendor who discarded the banana leaf that was used to wrap the flowers. I do not have to tell from where this method was adopted.

And now we have the notification and the retailers exploiting it to the hilt and making the customer to pay.

I shopped at couple of retailers this month and ended up paying the charge for the bag since i had not carried any bags with me. The Third time , I refused and carried the items on my own. For the future , the yellow bag will re-emerge with me and come for shopping..

So start carrying your own bags for shopping ( not carry bags please but environmental friendly ones ) -- they help in not only saving some money but being good to the environment and they are reusable as well …

I just remembered my last year visit to a place called Kalimpong in West Bengal . This entire hill station has banned the use of Plastic and they are serious about it and every shopkeeper follows the ban . The messaging was consistent through this hill station .They do sell things and pack things but only using eco friendly packaging. They key is the discipline of following the rule . I am sure there are other places that may done what Kalimpong has done .. We need replicas in Chennai as well and people to fall in line soon not later


Thanks to Prabha`s insistance I have been carrying the `Manja pai` for buying vegetables and groceries for the last two years. If I forget to take ( which is often) the Manja Pai and bring plastic bags home, I have to face the wrath of my wife.
Topical subject. Moral of the story- Always Keep a manja Pai in the car. If you have a set of two, then you can keep alternating then between two shopping expeditions.
Vidhya said…
Hi Sri
A good posting..It reminded me of something!...when my parents visited me for the first time in UK..They had all their passports in the Manjai Pai :)-..and i was amused at how they were so obsessed with it!..But actually they are definitely very handy!!
shobha arvind said…
Good current hot topic discussed.
Here even in mumbai we have started carrying our own bags to malls. What you say is right.The shop owners after we pay also should not give plastic bags. i still remeber the manjai bag also known as kantha sashti bag in our house ( as it was given in murugan temple).we still have one of that kind.
Satish Sat said…
Sri, Absolutely correct. Why should we pay for bags that carry the seller's logo. Cloth bags are going to be in vogue in the immediate future. And one thing that baffles me is why is the Govt not able to ban production of plastic bags below a particular micron level. We are not adept at addressing the root causes many times
Venkys Blog said…
A year ago, when we went for beach walk, we were offered 'manja Pai' by a social organization. I still use it when I am in Dhoti costume. It is so handy. Vhazga Manja Pai
Venkys Blog said…
I had a good laugh imagining myself with 'manja pai'. You can feel free to do so by imagining yourself.. ha ha...
Naresh said…
Sri, Excellent topic to blog on

Last week I had been to kodaikanal, I noticed it was very strange that what even I buy they pack it in a paper, if not in all places atleast near the lake all vendors strictly follow this.

I am sure these rules will slowly catchup, as we all wud agree bad things spread faster and dies V slowly.
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