If you’re bugged about the oceans being filled with plastic, do not despair. You can surely find ways to beat plastic pollution.
If you really believe in walking the talk and making a real difference, you have a choice – make every day environment day.
I believe positive change happens in drips and drops. With some daily action, you can refuse a lot of plastic and reduce your contribution to the global waste epidemic.
The other day I met Vanshika, a 20 year old dancer who believes that there is only one home for us all – the earth. She also believes that we need to respect it by taking responsibility for our own waste.
She showed me how she has managed to reduce her and her family’s consumption of plastic. I followed her around a bazaar as we did a photo shoot to prepare for the upcoming Plastic Free July challenge (if you’re curious, keep reading until the end).
Like Vanshika, you can also use 5 amazingly simple ways to beat plastic pollution:
1. Use a reusable bag when shopping
Refuse plastic bags that are given out by small shops and supermarkets. They are meant for one time use. Although many people in India reuse them, these still end up in landfills and water bodies. They are often burnt by the roadside where they release toxic fumes. Use a cloth or jute bag whenever you need to buy and carry stuff.
2. Choose fruits & veggies that are not packaged in plastic
Have you ever spotted coconuts, apples and salads wrapped in cling film or plastic bags? This excessive use of plastic is unnecessary and a waste of resources. Choose local and small businesses who don’t over package their products. Fruits & veggies already come in nature’s own wonderful packaging.
3. Use reusable produce bags
How often do you bring back plastic bags home? Each time something is given to us in single use plastic, we unconsciously support the demand for the production of single use plastic bags. Plastic is made from crude oil, the extraction and processing of which takes up massive resources.
Tip – Take a sturdy old piece of fabric and stitch reusable produce bags. These are pretty handy for buying as well as storing stuff in the fridge.
4. Buy your groceries in bulk
Many edible items come in single use plastic packaging such as colourful plastic packets, metalised film packets and tetra packs. You can ditch these disposables taking your reusable cloth bags or containers to your local kirana store, organic store or even a supermarket that offers the option of buying in bulk.
Tip – Make sure to get your jars and bags weighed before you put stuff in them.
5. Refuse plastic straws
Plastic straws are not only non-recyclable but they also end up in oceans posing a huge threat to marine life. Use your lips, refuse the straw and if you really need a replacement, only then use a reusable straw.
Refusing single use plastics is easy. All you need is to prepare your alternatives – you can choose from cloth bags, baskets, repurposed produce bags, old jars and steel dabbas (boxes) – and you’re ready to beat plastic pollution.
Next month, thousands of people around the world will be taking the Plastic Free July challenge. I took it last year and that’s why I live a zero waste lifestyle today. If you’d like to know more, read the lessons I learnt from doing Plastic Free July.
P.S. This article is dedicated to Vanshika who is featured in all the photos above. I’m truly grateful to her for sharing her time with me. You can follow her journey to zero waste on Instagram @onehomeearth.