Sustainability Starter Kit – how you can battle and win against single-use plastics
We’ve been talking about saying no to disposables for a large part of last year.
Most plastic used in the world today is for single-use items and paper is no sustainable alternative. Globally, we consume 300 million tonnes of paper each year, 70% of which comes from diminishing forests, not from plantations or recycling.
Everyone agrees that our collective usage of plastic needs to be reduced, but the implementation is where we tend to fall short. What we need to realize about sustainability is that rather than citing the WHY, we need to plan out the HOWs for every small act of change.
Medieval Europe had a wonderfully weird trend. It was common for a simpleton to walk around sporting his/her knife which would be used for every meal, wiped clean and then returned to their person. A sixth-century text reminded monks to detach their knives from their belts before they went to bed, so they didn’t cut themselves.
It was not a social norm to expect cutlery to be provided with every meal.
And within these social norms lies vast potential for change.
It’s just not a norm or expectation yet to carry your cutlery/container everywhere you go! This is the crux of the problem.
So what’s in your bag?
Gum? Some pens, your wallet, phone, a book you read for 5 minutes on the bus…any extra room?
Last year we noticed a rising trend in backpacks in offices, malls, and even clubs and restaurants. They were being made sleek and stylish to cater to every occasion. Everybody loves the extra room and being able to compartmentalize all their belongings.
It just takes 4 small items to avoid single-use plastics forever –
Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world. Last year, a 10-meter Sperm Whale carcass washed ashore the Indonesian coast with 130 disposable cups inside its stomach.
A bottle that comes with a moderately sized lid could double as a cup.
Vendors in India – Saahas Zero Waste, Milton
Price of a Reusable Bottle – Rs. 800
Spoon + Fork
It is estimated that China alone throws away ~ 80 billion pairs of chopsticks every year. Environmentalists are promoting reusable chopsticks in cute cloth bags and containers to avoid this ecological disaster. Other parts of the Globe are not doing any better with respect to cutlery wastage.
Invest in a nice steel or titanium Spork – a single unit with both a spoon and fork.
Vendors in India – Shri & Sam, Light My Fire
Price of a Steel Spork – Rs. 300
Less than one-fourth of all plastic containers are recycled around the world. The average life of each container is approximately 5 minutes – the time it takes to eat from it. In Bangalore, initiatives like “Rent a Cutlery” and “Spill Savers” are looking to combat this problem.
Vendors in India – Amazon, Big Basket
Price of a Steel container – Rs. 180
The humble plastic straw we drink beverages with and throw away in minutes is a tool to render a slow and painful death to marine and bird life. Every day, enough plastic straws are produced in America alone to fill 200 school buses.
Vendors in India – Bamboo India, Shunya, BareNecessities
Price of a Reusable straw – Rs. 70
Get an all-purpose backpack today. Try and be a part of the solution, not of the pollution.
Very good article. Yes we should go back to good old days when we reused things.