An Indian-origin restaurateur, who runs an Indian restaurant in northern England, has been inspired by his father’s decades' old stainless steel tiffin box to launch a takeaway system not reliant on plastic. Harry Khinda, whose family hails from Punjab before settling in the UK in the 1960s, said he hit upon the concept of offering discounts on takeaways using the reusable tiffin boxes as his very own recycling mission to fight against unsustainable single-use plastic.
“The inspiration came from our desire to stop using single-use plastic containers and carrier bags,” Khinda, who runs 'The Crafty Indian' restaurant told PTI.
"Much the same as many people around the world, we have become increasingly aware of the problem associated with plastic use and waste and the negative impact this is having on our planet," said the businessman.
He believes that India and Indians have naturally been reusing and recycling many items as part of their daily lives, which has contributed massively to at least slowing down the negative impact of single-use plastic from a country with a large population.
“It comes as no surprise that the answer to this problem has been staring us in the face for many decades. Therefore, the tiffin idea came from my parents who are originally from Punjab,” he said.
“When my family came to the UK in the 1960s, they brought with them steel tiffins which they would use to pack their lunch or dinner in when they went to work in the factories and foundries of post-war northern England. Indeed, we still have my dad's tiffin which demonstrates the longevity of this product,” he recalls.
The 48-year-old entrepreneur has invested in the containers for his restaurant in Shipley, Bradford, and found that the response has been tremendous and wide-reaching among his customers. They not only get a 10 per cent discount for the purchase of the tiffins, many of them sourced directly from India, but are also able to bring back the containers every time they come in for a new takeaway curry - as Indian food is commonly referred to in the UK.
Khinda, who founded his restaurant in 2008, has seen the popularity of the cuisine catapult over time and is hopeful that the tiffin concept will add a new dimension to its appeal.
“Indian food is massive in the UK and its popularity never seems to decline. Packaging this amazing cuisine using street food methods has helped to re-brand and re-package Indian food in a totally new and refreshing way, which will keep this cuisine at the forefront of dining out scene in the UK,” he said.
Khinda now hopes that other restaurants will also get inspired to follow a similar trend, which would go a long way in cutting down the daily use of plastics.