Reducing our carbon footprint to minimum and leading a zero-waste life is the ultimate goal for all of us, and for many, the past month has been about a global movement: Plastic Free July – to contain and reduce the use of single-use plastic products. I know as well-intentioned as our ideas might be, it is next to impossible to lead a completely plastic-free month, but a conscious decision to reduce the usage is something we can try for, and am sure many of us achieved.
120 million people participated in the Plastic Free July movement in 2018, and most made permanent lifestyle changes beyond the month.
We, as a family and extended circle of friends, have forever been quite conscious of controlling our use and actively seek a plastic-free, zero-waste life. Although I didn’t take an official pledge in July, here’s my round-up of the hits and misses for this month, and I hope the good results continue to grow and show in the future!
A. Mind the Big 4: that’s plastic bags, water bottles, straws and cups
We don’t use any of this anymore, but baby Z and I took a long-haul flight last week and ended up buying bottled water at the airport. The damage control we did was, on flight, we requested the crew to provide us water in the same bottle we bought, so they didn’t need to furnish any extra plastic cups on our account.
For those still looking for ideas to replace these items, use cloth/jute/paper bags; use terracotta, glass, metal bottles, or reusable plastic bottles you already have; disposable paper straws or reusable metal straws work just fine and carrying your own reusable coffee cup – it’s all a matter of practice.
B. What’s in the bin:
I know life is fast and we’re all on the run, but a quick look at your bin won’t take the day away! Some things – like the glass jar – doesn’t need to go into the bin, it can be cleaned and used to store something in your kitchen or pantry.. That’s what we’ve been doing consciously. Also, we bulk buy stuff or make our purchases at the local/farmer’s market to avoid bringing in all the disposable plastic packaging on fruits and veggies – nobody needs them anyway.
Less waste brought in = less garbage thrown out!
C. Think beyond single-use:
Plastic –free July doesn’t actually mean chucking all the reusable plastic you already have. That could actually be counterproductive, as it will all go to the landfill! We are using what we have to the end of their lifecycle and will dispose them off eventually.
What we are consciously looking at right now is beyond the single-use plastic – the packaging on stuff like toothpastes, detergents, online shopping and so on. This is an uphill task for us at the moment – and we are checking alternatives out. We have reduced the use of plastic in the toilet with shampoo and soap bars but there is admittedly a lot of scope for improvement here.
D. Embrace slow living:
This is beyond single-use plastic usage and what this means is simply being mindful enough to avoid fast food, fast fashion, fast anything… slowing down a little helps us look around, and see where we can waste a little less and save a little more.
Simple things like avoiding junk food and impulse buying have been a good start, but then we do give in – we are still works in progress. More on this soon!
E. Spread the word:
This is exactly what I’m doing right now, or so I think and hope. Any change of this scale can only work when the community works towards it. I have actively spoken to friends and family about this time and time again (don’t hate me please!) – I have actually ventured to talk about this to a few strangers too. The little one seems to be in tune, as are many friends, and it feels lovely.
So, this is me and my update of how I fared this last month. I know many of you reading this have been actively trying to curtail your wastage and high-five for that! For those who have missed the July train of thought, jump on now – its better late than never!
Recycle, reuse and let’s make the planet green again!
Until next time,