Monday Jan 13, 2020
KARACHI: A year ago, Sameed Anis entered the food-packaging business but something just didn't sit right with his conscience: distributing plastic cutlery.
And so, Sameed Anis founded ECOPAK.
"The problem arose when, whenever I saw myself giving plastic to someone, I felt it was wrong because plastic is not good for health," Anis told Geo.tv at Karachi Eat 2020.
He said whenever people use plastic with a hot item, it turns cancerous. "So your food becomes cancerous; to save one rupee, you turn a Rs100 biryani into a cancer," he added.
"I decided that plastic was forbidden to me and I entered the eco-friendly cutlery."
Talking about how he came upon the idea to open up such a business, he said he looked around the world for a solution after finding none in Pakistan. "I found one solution abroad and I said this would come here [to Pakistan] as well," Anis said.
However, he said many people told him his business would not be successful in the country. "They told me, 'No one would buy it from you,' but see, I started from one restaurant and, today, 25 restaurants buying [eco-friendly cutlery] from me."
Regardless, there was a lot of interest in his stalls with many people lauding his efforts. "I'm giving these out for free and if anyone wishes to pay, I tell them to make a donation to the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF)," the young man added.
"Otherwise, it's entirely free; you take one from me and it's so strong that it'll last you the entire festival. It's better to use one eco-friendly spoon than 10 plastic ones and it'll biodegrade later too," he noted.
At home and among friends, he has all the support he needs. In fact, some of them had even turned up in the morning to help with his stall.
On the other hand, he underscored that many restaurateur "ask me why should they spend on this [eco-friendly cutlery] when their customers are not raising any issues about plastic".
He said that although the restaurateurs were able to afford, they were indifferent. "Now I wish that people become aware and tell restaurant-owners that they're giving them bad-quality items, which are not good for either health or the environment.
"When people ask for it [there's demand], the restaurant-owners will find it feasible to spend on eco-friendly cutlery," he added, determined to continue working for change.
"And I know that if not now, then in at least two to three years, this trend would become popular and everyone would shift to it."