Early in the morning, I hastily tear off the cling wrap from its roll and cover my tiffin with it (The carrots and cucumbers need to stay fresh until lunchtime).
I crumble the extra wrap and chuck it into a plastic garbage bag.
It’s not even 9 am, and I am already twice responsible for throwing away plastic that cannot be recycled. By the end of the day, my debt to the environment would have gone up several-fold.
When it comes to how much plastic we are responsible for, everything counts – soft drinks to grocery shopping.
Now the common question is, if not plastic, then what?
It is functionally impossible for us to live a 100 per cent plastic-free life. But it is a journey of a thousand miles, and all you need is a step in the right direction to begin it.
Let’s start with the most critical – the food we ingest – and let’s do it on a budget. Here’s how:
Since I mentioned cling wrap before, let me introduce you to beeswax wraps. Made of organic cotton and beeswax, this eco-friendly alternative is as easy on your food as it is on your pocket.
At just Rs 440 you can buy a set of three beeswax wraps. Unlike the plastic variety, this beeswax wrap is reusable!
Like plastic, these wraps retain moisture – and so much more. Beeswax has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it stores your food in an eco-friendly and efficient manner.
Advising you to carry your cutlery to the office every day is a doomed effort. Some of us will take it regularly, and others will take it when we remember to do so.
This only really becomes an issue once we replace our forgotten cutlery with plastic alternatives.
The most regular case being when we get food delivered and end up using the plastic spoons and forks that came with the parcel.
Well, firstly, you can request the restaurant or delivery service not to send plastic cutlery. And secondly, you can keep a stash of ‘guilt-free’ cutlery at your workplace. You can keep them in your bag, desk or even your vehicle.
Also, whenever you go for a juice or coconut water, you don’t have to ask the vendor for a plastic straw.
Change begins from small things, people.
Don’t leave bottles behind
Try counting the bottles in your kitchen someday.
Right from storing oil next to the stove to the water bottles in your fridge to the one bottle that you keep in your room, we have a dozen bottles in our daily use.
While reusing plastic bottles is one option, it is not the healthiest.
Try switching to sustainable options instead and save the planet from plastic. This clay bottle is one such example that can help you make the eco-friendly choice.
Do you cringe when you throw out all your wet garbage in a plastic bag? If you don’t, you probably should.
This makes your work easy, but it ends up in the landfill. You do have the option to skip that sad future – this compostable garbage bag.
Made of corn starch, these bags won’t take hundreds of years to decompose. Now whether you are throwing your dry garbage or wet, use these bags and rest assured that your impact on the environment is a little less negative.
Reusable kitchen towel
Imagine pulling out 60 paper kitchen towels from the roll (don’t do it, imagine!)
Did it make a big mess? Of course, it did! Now, you can avoid this mess with a simple cloth kitchen towel to wipe your hands on.
When it gets dirty, wash it.
If your kitchen towels do the job of absorbing extra oil from your fried foods, buy reusable bamboo kitchen towels instead.
A roll of 20 sheets costs just Rs 225, and they soak up oil as well as the paper towels.
The additional bonus, however, is that you can hand or machine wash them and the towels are ready for its job again! Here’s where you can find them.
Make your washing regime eco-friendly
Why let your dishes soak in petroleum-based washing liquids? Try a plant-based, toxin-free liquid instead. Every time we wash a dish with chemical-infused dish wash, we take the responsibility of letting the harmful material into our environment. And when we have eco-friendly options, why not take them?
This affordable dishwashing liquid is a great example of such sustainable options.
Do your vegetables, grains and daal come in plastic bags? There are easy ways to stop that from happening.
All you have to do is carry your bags!
Yes, this habit will take time to set but make it a point to never leave your home without a cloth bag- irrespective of whether you’ve stepped out for shopping or not.
If putting all your veggies in one bag and then rearranging them in the refrigerator is time-consuming, try going for a bag with detachable partitions.
And if you are heading to purchase grains and daal, carry your own eco-friendly and reusable cloth bags, so you don’t need to ask for plastic bags from the shop. These cloth bags by Daily Dump are of varied sizes and can hold weight depending on their size. You can secure them tightly till you shift the grains into containers.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)