The Garbage Cafe in Ambikapuris in India is offering meals in exchange for plastic waste. The idea helps the country tackle its plastic waste problem while providing meals to those in need.

The cafe was started by the Ambikapur Municipal Corporation to raise awareness of plastic pollution and encouraging people to pick up litter they found. Opened in the state of Chhattisgarh, the cafe provides hot meals including daal, aloo gobi, poppadoms and rice.

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The premise seems to be catching on. Ajay Tirkey, the mayor of the city said of the cafe, ” It’s become well-known fast, because it’s located right by the main bus stand in the city. We’re getting about a dozen people coming in every day. One day, a whole family came in with huge sacks weighing about seven kilos.”

The benefits are two-fold, helping hunger and pollution, Simar Malhotra, co-founder of a plastic pollution non-profit Parvaah, told the Guardian that the cafe, “also gives hungry people a hot meal, which in turn motivates [people] to collect more plastic.”

India is currently the 15th largest plastic polluter in the world, creating 25,000 tons of plastic waste a day. India’s environmental ministry reports that only 14,000 tons are collected each day.

The country has multiple creative schemes to collect plastic, including exchanging rice for plastic. President Modi was caught on camera picking up trash to create plastic awareness. The country has been working to ban all single-use plastic by 2022. Artists in Kerala created a “marine cemetary,” to bring awareness to plastic pollution.

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Plastic waste is killing marine mammals all around the globe at an alarming rate, a Cuvier beaked whale washed ashore in the Philippines with over 40 kilos of plastic in it’s stomach, a pilot whale died in Thailand as a result of eating more than 80 plastic bags, the body of a dead sperm whale washed up in Spain was found to have 64 pounds of plastic bags, a jerrycan, and several pieces of rope and net and half of baby sea turtles die from consuming plastic.

Plastic is also found in various land animals, like deers and cows.There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use ofTeabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actionsand switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using  mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!

To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below:

Sign this petition to ban plastic.

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