Plastic Waste

Should food venues take more responsibility for reducing it?

At The Crafty Indian, we believe the answer to that is a resounding “yes.”

Plastic items from takeaway food and drink dominate the litter in the world’s oceans, according to recent scientific studies. Single-use bags, plastic bottles, food containers and food wrappers were found to be the four most widespread items polluting the seas, making up almost half of the human-made waste.

That’s why we’re on a mission to do our bit. By introducing stainless steel tiffins for our takeaways, we’ve already managed to prevent 20,000 containers and 4,000 plastic bags a year from blighting the environment. That’s around 50,000 pieces of single-use plastic kept out of landfill since we introduced the scheme just over two years ago.

We’re known for doing things differently and we decided we didn’t want to continue polluting the planet with plastic by using takeaway containers and bags. We’re proud to now be leading the way on this crucial issue, but our next quest is to increase the impact by encouraging not just more of our customers, but also as many other food venues as possible, to get involved.

So far we’ve sold around 550 tiffins and this number increases by around three to four each week, which means our plastic use is reducing weekly at that rate. Even based on these early numbers, if you multiply it over ten years, just look how much less plastic will go into landfill from our venue alone.

If all takeaways and restaurants in Bradford followed suit, imagine the amount of plastic that would no longer go to landfill. Then multiply that by the venues up and down the country and its clear how big this could get.

The Crafty Indian is a family business with Punjabi heritage – and our owner Harry Khinda got the inspiration from his Dad’s decades-old tiffin, which he brought over with him when his family settled in the UK during the 1960s. Dad Gian Singh carried on using the tiffin to carry his lunch to work at the Hepworth and Grandage factory in Bradford, back in the day.

The Crafty crew had a good old think as to how we could reduce our use of plastic and this led us on a journey back in history and we realised that the answer was staring us in the face. Indians have been using steel tiffins to carry their food around with them at work in the mills, farms, factories and offices for generations.

The reusable tiffins, mostly sourced from India, are three-tiered, with room for a number of meals or courses and have a carry handle, which means there’s no need for a plastic bag either. They keep the food hot until you get it home, which usually means there’s no need for reheating.

So how does it all work? Well, you initially buy your tiffin from the venue for £18.00 but then, each time you use it to collect a takeaway, you get 10% discount on your meal – so it very soon pays for itself and, eventually, you’ll find yourself in credit.

About a quarter of our regulars are now using tiffins, but this is still a journey we’re on. We’re making great progress and eventually we’d like all our takeaways to be served in this way so we can become fully sustainable.

So many people buy into the whole idea because they’re keen to do their bit to save the planet, especially young people who are learning to be more and more eco-friendly and feel it’s all about the small changes everyone can make.

If you want to go plastic free when you order takeaway food from us, please do consider joining the plastic-free tiffin team – just let us know when you place your order and we’ll be delighted to get you started.

Or, if you want to find out more about the tiffins and get involved in the campaign against plastic waste you can contact Harry at The Crafty Indian. Call 01274 588 114 or email