Civic Issues Crime Politics Schools & Colleges Karnataka Elections Citizen Reporter Photos Videos WeatherPollution NewsEvents NEWSCITY NEWSBENGALURU NEWSENGINEER-TURNED-ENTREPRENEUR DESIGNSCLOTH BAGS TO REDUCE PLASTIC BURDEN Bengaluru: Engineer-turned-entrepreneur designs cloth bags to reduce plastic burden TNN | Updated: Jun 8, 2019, 11:50 IST 5 4 The firm founded by Aruna Rao (inset) manufactures cotton cloth bags BENGALURU: Concerned over Bengaluru’s mounting garbage woes and wanting to provide citizens a greener alternative to plastic, Aruna Rao (42) donned the entrepreneurial hat in 2016. An electrical engineer for 15 years, she quit her job to start Bellikirana Creations, an enterprise that manufactures customised cloth bags for multiple purposes.From vegetable bags (with partitions) to plain shopping bags, the products are all made of cotton. “The basic idea was to create in fabric whatever was made of plastic,” she said. Set up in July 2016, Bellikirana Creations operates out of Girinagar in south Bengaluru. Its first product was a small pouch to distribute Ellu Bella, a mixture of diced coconut, jaggery, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and gram, which is the hallmark of Sankranti festivities in Karnataka. Since then, the business has grown through word of mouth. Aruna’s firm brings together tradition and sustainability by catering to events like festivals, weddings and traditional ceremonies where plastic bags are extensively used for tamboola (a gift hamper of coconut, betel leaves and vermillion packets). It also manufactures grocery bags with multiple pockets, purses and pouches among other things using Kora, a blend of silk and cotton, which is sourced from Tamil Nadu. Bellikirana Creations is a source of livelihood for around 50 women who live in the slums of Koramangala. “Since they don’t have the time to travel and work somewhere else, they sit in the comfort of their home and stitch the bags,” added Aruna. The firm began manufacturing customised bags with Kannada words printed on them, which have evolved into a line of eco-friendly cloth products. “We wanted to do something to reduce trash in the city. Everyone said we must stop using plastic, but no one came up with an alternative,” said Aruna, explaining why she was inspired to take the green initiative.