April 22, 2018
Say no to plastic and use alternatives for plastics.http://icareclinic.in/
how to do it? Few steps to ban plastic from our life
Consider this: It is estimated that every year, the world uses 500 billion plastic bags! This is no surprise considering we’re offered a plastic bag each time we buy anything – at a fancy mall, at a kirana (neighborhood) store, at the vegetable shop, even when we’re piggy-backing food. Each of us could easily – and unconsciously – be accumulating 5-10 plastic bags in a day.
This habit of asking for, or accepting plastic bags, needs to go. And it’s really simple too: always carry a reusable bag with you. Keep it in your handbag or car at all times – and remember, cloth bags can easily be washed, so it doesn’t really matter if you put veggies in or something spills over.
Alternatives to plastic bags in India:
Cloth Bags:cloth bag folds up into a tiny pack for convenience, can be washed easily, lasts for years and has allowed me to say no to thousands of plastic bags! The initiative employs village women, so your purchase helps sustain their livelihood too.
Biodegradable ‘plastic’ bags: If you’re looking for bags that are as handy as plastic bags, consider buying their eco-friendly version – they look like plastic, but are made of vegetable starch and natural extracts, and decompose in 3-4 months. These are easy alternatives for garbage bags, wrapping covers and shopping bags.
Upcycled plastic bags: If you really want to make a statement against plastic shopping bags, consider buying a bag made from upcycling discarded plastic bags– cleaning, shredding and manually weaving them on a handloom. The initiative also creates livelihoods for tribal women in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Where to buy upcycled plastic bags in India: Aarohana online shop
Any bag or backpack you own: Chances are, you already own a small bag or backpack to carry your stuff while out of home, or when you travel – made of jute, denim, cloth or fabric. Use those bags to keep your purchases. Every time you say “no” to a plastic shopping bag, you are contributing towards a greener earth.
If you’ve travelled anywhere in India, you’ve probably seen how our hill stations and tourist hubs are littered with discarded Bisleri and Aquafina bottles. Picking them up and throwing them into a trash can is not enough – only 2% of these bottles are recycled globally. The rest will take atleast 500 years to decompose. Doesn’t that suck for our earth?
Like every other traveller, I’m guilty of having purchased mineral water bottles in my earliest travel days; what alternative do I have for safe drinking water? I always wondered. Turns out, the alternatives are aplenty, only if we decided to commit to not buying plastic bottles.
Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bottled water in India:
Durable water bottle + filtered water: I swear by this easy solution, not just in India but around the world, on public transport, even in hotels. It is easy to buy a good-looking, durable, BPA-free water bottle and keep it in your backpack at all times. Over years of travelling, I’ve almost never had trouble refilling my bottle with clean, filtered water – at homestays, guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, cafes or a local’s home – and it’s mostly free! That’s a lot of plastic bottles (and money) saved.
Where to buy a water bottle in India: Any supermarket, sports store or on Amazon
Water bottled fitted with a filter: A safer alternative to a regular water bottle is one fitted with an in-built filter. You can fill water anywhere, in a regular tap or even a waterfall, let the filter work its magic and suck out clean water. Many of my friends swear by the LifeStraw Go bottles – which pack in a powerful 2-stage filtration system to remove 99.99% of waterborne bacteria, parasites and microplastics.
A portable water filter: For a long time, I used the SteriPEN – a handheld water filter that I could stir around in any water to purify it using ultraviolet technology. It was easy to recharge and convenient to carry, until I lost it somewhere along the way. LifeStraw also offers a travel-friendly water filter, that you can stick into any water and suck pure water from – super convenient for long hikes and camping.
Water purifying tablets: I’ve met many travellers who swear by water purification tablets – drop a pill in and drink up! These are worth getting for a short trip and sensitive tummy.
Water purifying tablets in India: Amazon
Should you accept complimentary plastic bottled water on trains and flights, and in hotels?
My suggestion: No.
Isn’t it crazy how the whole world has taken to straws to suck liquids out of a bottle or glass? This isn’t about cleanliness – considering we already trust that the bottle or glass is clean enough to hold whatever we’re drinking. This isn’t about convenience either – I mean, how much easier is sipping a liquid through a straw than picking up the bottle or glass to drink directly?
It certainly feels pointless when you read how single-use plastic straws are landing up in the ocean and choking turtles and other marine creatures.
Many restaurants and cafes around the world have begun offering alternative straws – including steel and bamboo straws.
Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws in India:
Natural bamboo straws:
Stainless steel straws: Another popular alternative to plastic straws are stainless steel straws – washable, durable and reusable.
Paper straws: Difficult to get it.
Other natural straws: I just heard that someone in Mexico has come with straws made of avocado seeds! And it was recently reported that “doodly straws“, made of coconut leaves, will hit the Indian market soon.
It’s pretty horrifying to look around and realize how much of what we use in our daily lives is made of non-biodegradable plastic – right from toothbrushes and sanitary pads to pens and disposable take-away containers and cutlery. While it’s not easy to eliminate these and lead a more sustainable, zero-waste lifestyle, we need to start taking little steps towards re-evaluating what we buy.
Eco-friendly lifestyle products in India:
Toothbrushes: Even though we end up using a toothbrush for a few months before discarding it, it certainly adds up over a lifetime – and in the trash ground or ocean where it remains over the long decomposing period. please use bamboo toothbrush.
Sanitary pads / tampons: The dreaded monthly menstruation days can be just a little less dreadful if we switch away from non-biodegradable sanitary pads and tampons (imagine the monthly waste we create!), to more eco-friendly alternatives.
Where to buy eco-friendly sanitary pads in India:
Food containers and cutlery: The thing that bothers me most about ordering in food or getting a takeaway is the plastic waste that comes with it – plastic spoons and fork, foil and plastic containers. you should buy reusable (collapsible) food containers and biodegradable cutlery.
Where to buy eco-friendly food containers, cutlery and tableware in India:
It is upon us, individuals, to convince accommodations, travel companies and restaurants that we care about their choices. That it bothers us when they offer complimentary bottled water or plastic straws. That their commitment to be a no-plastic zone makes us pick them over their competitors. That we are watching them.
How can we do that? Social media, of course. Many of us use Twitter to highlight cafes in India who say no to plastic straws, for instance.
Let’s stop thinking of protecting the earth as someone else’s business, and make it our own.