Swapping bags for banana leaves – and cloth sacks – the tiny Indian state of Sikkim has transformed shoppers’ habits. Can Mumbai follow its example?

As a boy growing up in Sikkim, the Indian state nestled below the Himalayas, Rajendra Gurung remembers how, before leaving the house to go shopping, his parents would always ask each other: “Have you got the bag?”

Back then, no shopkeeper used plastic bags. Families took their own, made of cloth. Meat, fish and cheese came wrapped in a banana leaf, tied with bamboo twine. If people bought cooking oil, they took an empty bottle or can.

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