How plate banks are helping Bengaluru reduce garbage

Garbage dumps are a common sight in Bangalore. If it is not piled up in empty sites or landfills, it is seen in mounds at street corners. Rented cutlery is now being used as an effective green alternative to single-use disposables.

This article is supported by SVP Cities of India Fellowship

From Rent-A-Cutlery Facebook page

Laly Randolf, an activist from Kasavanahalli, was holding a small social event, and wanted to rent steel tumblers. She called a plate bank called Hasiru Mithra Cutlery in HSR Layout, and rented what was needed. She wanted to keep the garbage generated as minimal as possible.

Garbage dumps are a common sight in Bengaluru. If it is not piled up in empty sites or landfills, it is seen in mounds at street corners. This is not just due to poor management by the authorities in charge, but also because of the sheer volume of waste generated by the inhabitants of the city.

Lakshmi Sankaran shared her experience as a volunteer with Whitefield Rising, a citizen movement committed to waste management. “When [Rishita Sharma and I] went to see what exactly contributed to the mounds of waste there, we found that single-use disposables – paper cups, plastic spoons – formed a majority of the garbage present there. At that point, we decided we needed to be a solution.”

Lakshmi and Rishita then co-founded a plate and cutlery bank named Rent-A-Cutlery, which has branches in Whitefield, Sarjapur, J P Nagar, Jayanagar and Malleshwaram. They rent out plates, tumblers, spoons and bowls, all of which are sanitised with a home-made citrus peel bio-enzyme.

“We generally get one or two orders a month for small events, but during festivals, we get a lot of calls,” said Lakshmi. “For that period of time, we are fully booked.” To date, they have prevented 50,000 disposables from going to dumps. In terms of waste generation alone, it is a significant reduction. But on taking into account the fact that it takes nearly a gallon of water and fresh paper to create a single disposable paper cup, reusable cutlery become especially vital in our tree-deficit, water-scarce city. Electricity costs during production of disposables are also avoided.

Rent-A-Cutlery charges a token amount of Rs. 15 per set for 24 hours, while other organisations like Adamya Chetana (a non-profit organisation) give their huge stock of 10,000 plate sets for free while taking a deposit in the form of a cheque, which will be returned upon the returning of the rented cutlery. This NGO, which began their plate bank in 2016, cleans their cutlery using a commercial dishwasher. Their deposits are Rs. 80 per steel plate, Rs. 40 per tumbler, Rs. 30 for a water glass, Rs. 20 per bowl and Rs. 5 per spoons.

Vani Murthy, a member of Solid Waste Management Round Table, also offers a set of fifty plates, cups and tumblers for rent in and around Malleshwaram, so long as customers are willing to pick them up from her home. “While people have some kind of awareness about [plate banks], they still have functions and weddings with disposables because they wouldn’t have paid much attention to such details,” she says. “Awareness and education is very much still an issue that will take time and effort to resolve.”

Here’s a list of the plate banks we have come across.

Vendor / Person Name Address Contact Cost Approximate Inventory List

(10000 items)

Adamya Chetana, BBMP Samudaya Bhavana, Gavipuram, Kempe Gowda Nagara, Bangalore -19 (. Near Gandhi Bazaar, Ramakrishna Ashrama) 080 26620404 The rates are as follows: Steel plates Rs 80, Coffee tumbler Rs 40, Water glass Rs 30, Small bowls (katori) Rs 20, Spoons Rs 5. Calculate the total value of the cutlery you want to rent, write out a cheque for that amount to “Smt Girija Sastry Memorial Trust”
Adams Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore 080-25592660/1/25593533 Rent 2000 spoons, Melamine plates etc
APR Rent a Cutlery Adarsh Palm Retreat, Outer Ring rd, Devarabisanahalli, Bangalore 8861160310 Rent 100 steel Plates, 200 bowls , 100 spoons, forks
100 water tumbler,50 tea/coffee tumbler
AswathNarayana (MLA) Steel bank Malleswaram , Bangalore 8150077777 Zero rent 400 Items
Green Celebrations Padmashree HSR Layout, Bangalore 9845541927 Rent 300 dinner plates, 500 steel glasses, 400 spoons, bowls, tea glasses
Hamsa Jayanagar, 3rd block East, Bangalore 9945168920 Zero rent 75 coffee, 200 steel water Glasses
Krpuram Rising Reuse cutlery T.C.Palya Road, Krpuram Bangalore 9886751129, 9535665000, 8880884999 Zero rent 200 steel glasses , 70 plates etc
Lalithamba Somasundarapalya, Bangalore-102 9448063776 Rent 100 to 150 numbers of all
Plates, spoons, bowls, coffee and water glasses
Mukunda Kr Puram, Bangalore 9591863400 Zero rent 200 steel glasses, plates
Rent-a-Cutlery – Lakshmi Sarjapur , Bangalore 9731211364 100 steel sets, tumblers, plates etc
Rent-a-Cutlery – Meena J P nagar, Bangalore 8073538846 200 cups,100 spoons,100 forks,100 lunch plates, 50 snack plates, 60 kids snack plates, 50 small spoons & forks, 100 big & coffee tumblers
Rent-a-Cutlery – Rishita Whitefield, Bangalore 9591195277 200 sets of round plates,bowls,spoons,
50 compartment plates, 50 forks,
500 tea/coffee tumbler,200 water/juice tumbler
Rent-a-Cutlery – Vasuki / Vinayaka Jayanagar, Bangalore 9845690778 / 9620469577 / 8971902760 100 cups, 100 spoons100 lunch plates,100 snack plates, 100 big tumblers, 100 coffee tumblers
RRR tent House Gandhi Nagar, Bangalore Prakash 9343866704, 22260642 Rent Steel(1000+), Melamine (10000)
SpillSavers Manthri web city, Hennur Road, Bangalore 99800 87898 Melamine, 100
Yelahanka Steel Cutlery Bank Yelahanaka New Town, Bangalore 9739764333(Padma) / 9811821636(Sarbani) Zero Rent 1000 sets of breakfast & lunch/Dining sets
Green Utsav – Eco-friendly Parties Whitefield Ph: 9591195277

This article is supported by SVP Cities of India Fellowship.
This is the third part of the series on Innovative solutions for handling waste.


  1. N Nagendra Sharma says:

    Long back every function hall & catering contractors had the necessary utensils with them based on the accommodation capacity. Since users were preferring use & through plates these inventory was diluted, now the same trend is coming back which is good sign.

  2. P P Rao says:

    People switched to dosposables for hygiene reasons because of water problems. I agree disposables to be minimised but water is also scarce in many areas of Bangalore. We need to balance by providing disposables made of perishable nature like banana leaf, pakku mattai etc in the same cutlery banks. Plastic no no for sure. Just a thought.

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