From rubbish to rice: the cafe that gives food in exchange for plastic
The Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, India, is helping to tackle the country’s plastic waste problem – and their novel idea is catching onOn bad days, when his employer made some excuse for not paying him his paltry daily wage, Ram Yadav’s main meal used to be dry chapatis, with salt and raw onion for flavour. Sometimes he just went hungry. For a ragpicker like him, one of the thousands of Indians who make a living bringing in plastic waste for recycling, eating in a cafe or restaurant was the stuff of fairytales.But last week, Yadav was sitting at a table at the Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, in the state of Chhattisgarh, over a piping hot meal of dal, aloo gobi, poppadoms and rice. He earned the food in exchange for bringing in 1kg of plastic waste. “The hot meal I get here lasts me all day. And it feels good to sit at a table like everyone else,” he said.