The third week of zero waste had more challenges than triumphs. Let me confess I even felt overwhelmed at times but thankfully never gave up. Let me list down the challenges:
Milk pouches: This is literally giving me nightmares. Trust me when I say this. If you have read my previous post, you know, I have written about how Green Mumbai is collecting milk pouches. As per their advice, I went to BMC to deposit milk pouches but due to election nobody was there to collect and I stood like an idiot with a bag full of milk packets. I now have to find another way to get rid of them for two reasons, first, going through the BMC ordeal every month is not possible for me and secondly, these pouches will anyways land in landfills once the saplings outgrow them, therefore it is not exactly a good idea (probably).
Overflowing Plastic. I mentioned in my previous post how an NGO is ready to collect and recycle plastics but they will collect no less than 100 kgs and therefore I am collecting plastics and my balcony is overflowing with plastic wrappers and grocery packets. I realized how much comes in plastic. I always believed that I use less plastic, many of my readers also wrote that they try to reduce plastic waste however in our consumer world it is literally impossible to avoid plastic (even if we use cloth bag) because everything from chocolates to cheese, candies to condoms, salt to software, spices to pulses comes wrapped in plastic. There is not a single item that doesn’t use plastic. The entire packaging industry is based on plastic. So it is goddamn difficult to avoid plastic.
I believe it should not only be the responsibility of consumers to reduce plastic from their lives but manufacturers should also come up with alternative packaging ideas that are biodegradable and environment-friendly.
Non-cooperating family. My family(well, the man) thinks I am crazy (I am in a way) and so he is yet to abide by my zero waste rules, thankfully son read something about ill-effects of plastic in his textbook and now is following me (victory!!!!)
Maids: A small part of wet segregation falls on my maid and she is yet to get trained. Every single day she is confusing dry and wet waste. Mumbai maids are always in a hurry and my zero-waste rule means a little bit more work and time for her and she is upset about it. She even said, “aap hi itna jhikjhik karte ho, baki madam log kuch nahi bolte yesab kachra wachra leke.”
Facebook zero-waste group: I joined a group but soon realized the group is more interested in selling so-called eco-friendly products than actually thinking about how to go zero waste. I found many members quite judgemental and left the group. They were only promoting and selling stuff and I didn’t like that.
Plants: The coriander plant died but the mint is mashallah growing nicely. The other seeds are also sprouting.
I realized in the last three weeks that recycling is not the only solution rather we need to reduce and reuse. Reducing should not be restricted to using a cloth bag only. I have decided to stop buying milk in pouches from next month and rather switch to buying milk from a dairy near my house. It would be a little difficult but not unattainable. It will also give me a good reason to go for a walk in the evening. It would also take me back to my childhood when we had a Mother Dairy booth in our neighborhood and every evening my mom used to send me with steel-can to fetch milk.
I strongly feel that consumers should unite and urge the government to reduce plastic usage in the packaging industry. Few steps that they can take is
- Use cloth based or reused paper instead of plastic in packaging
- All supermarkets should have a center where consumers can give back their plastics
- Each housing society should have a compost bin
If you can add to this list then I would appreciate that. Together we need to bring a change and save the Earth.