How I’m Reducing Plastic Waste

I am reading and learning about environmental issues for a while now. It’s getting more and more important for me to know about, respect and be aware of the other creatures we share the planet with. The problems our planet is facing and what can be done about it.

I’m no expert and can’t really speak much about it, but I’m making an effort to learn more every day and consciously making every day choices with more awareness.

It occurs to me, that we are so occupied in our lives and for its betterment (mostly comfort wise) that we seldom acknowledge or even care about our other non-human neighbours, so much so that we all know how we have successfully managed to wipe out some species completely off the face of earth😔 You might be aware of the WWF’s Living Planet Report (if not and if you are interested to know more, check here).

If you know what I mean, and agree with me, can we start with a tiiiny step today in the right direction, do you think it’s possible? I’ll tell you what changes I have made so you know I’m not just talking about it without doing my bit first. I have decided to learn more about the pressing environmental issues, learn about the changes I can make an at individual level, share it in my circle, spread the awareness in my capacity by whatever means possible.

To begin with, I took up and completed these FREE Conservation Courses that are offered by National Geographic Society. I learned a lot about the challenges our planet is facing in these courses and from all the material I read and from the works of environmentalists I follow.

I had reduced plastic usage for a while now, and everyday I’m doing just a bit more in that direction. Thanks to a friend/ex co-worker, I had completely stopped using plastic straws. Everyday, we would step out of office for a drink of fresh tender coconut. We often discussed about environmental issues. One day looking at the dreadful amount of plastic straws around the coconut-seller’s cart, we decided something on the spot. We got ourself the reusable hard plastic straw – I know a steel straw would have been a better option, yet I’m glad we took at least this decision. From thereon, everyday we would carry our reusable straw to the cart, wash and dry it once back to office. It’s been at least 3 years, from that day till now, I’ve never used the single-use plastic straw ever. I also trek and travel a lot, and always carry my own water bottle that I keep refilling, steel spoon (as I can’t do without a spoon on travels) and a travel mug (esp. on treks).

In the picture below is a wood spider at work in the Garbhanga Reserve Forest in Assam

Even as home, I try my best to cut down the plastic usage, and try and find the best possible ways to deal with it when it can’t be avoided. Which is so many times, given that almost everything we buy these days has plastic in some or the other way. I always carry my own cloth bag when buying groceries and veggies, etc. and also keep a couple of them in the car always handy. I separate and collect the plastic for recycling purpose.

I’m guilty of thinking (and also doing this for a while) reusing the plastic to create decorative items, painting and reusing the plastic jars & pots in the garden, is a good idea. However, as I read and learn more, I realised this isn’t such a great idea after all. If I cut the plastic to give it some shape for my craft piece, the tiny discarded plastic pieces can neither be recycled not reused. Same with the painted plastic bottles, they can’t be recycled as well. I have stopped doing this now, of course, however, I sometimes use them – as is, so they can be recycled later – to plant flowers/herbs in my kitchen garden.

Given the numerous environmental issues, plastic pollution is something that bothers me a lot. And also, I feel, there’s a lot that can be done, even at an individual level, many corrective actions that can be taken which will collectively, one day, make a big change.

I have made some little-big changes to my lifestyle keeping in mind the impact it has/will have and continuing to learn every day, the best ways to do this more efficiently. And you, will you join me? What change will you make starting today?

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