I would define disposables as an item that stays in your hand for hardly 5 mins and takes 500 or more years to leave the planet.
We use disposable materials thinking
1. It’s cheap
2. No need to clean and maintain it after use.
Have you ever looked closely on the road you walk or peeped outside a train/bus/car window and looked closely at the bare lands and thorny trees? I bet you cannot find a square inch of ground without any packaging or disposable item.
Here is the proof, I have captured the status of our street.
My points on why not to use disposables:
It’s not cheap:
1. The prices of petroleum products have risen due to the demand of petrol and its byproducts (petroleum byproducts is the main source of plastic). We are indirectly paying elsewhere for the disposables that we use.
2. A new tax has come up- Swachh Bharat tax – a tax to clean up the mess we have created.
3. Days are not far when we might be levied a tax to clean the ocean one day.
It’s not easy to clean up:
1. If we don’t take the responsibility, our grandchildren will have to definitely clean up or face the consequences.
It’s not healthy:
1. Paper cups are lined with a thin layer of plastic to avoid the water soaking up the paper. So when you eat something hot in paper cups or styrofoam plates or plastic cutlery, you are actually consuming bits of plastic too.
2. I have seen many lemonades and sugarcane juice vendors reusing the used paper cups by just wiping it.
These days we are fashioned to use eco-friendly disposable items.
1. Even they are not disposed of properly.
2. Most items tagged as eco-friendly disposables are not biodegradable they are biocompostable – Biocompostable products do not decompose on their own. They must enter the composting process. This entails putting them into the soil with food, yard waste and other organic materials. Once the Biocompostable product enters the compost system, it will decompose over a few months.
3. Collecting, cleaning and composting of these eco-friendly disposables takes a lot of time, energy (manpower, fuel) and money to decompose.
4. Where do you think tissue papers are coming from? Chunks of forests have been destroyed to provide us tissues which are hardly used for seconds.
So what I do to avoid using disposables? Do I never eat anything outside the house? No, with a toddler who is always on the road it is practically impossible.
Here’s what we do –
This is my on-the-go cutlery kit. This might seem a little too much. Being a mum, I have gotten used to carrying a big bag always. I think girls can pull this off as big bags are in trend and for men, I suggest have this kit in your vehicle.
Customize to fit your lifestyle. If I were a single, I could manage most of my favorite on the go bites with a 400 ml stainless steel container with a lid and a spoon. Be it any beverage, ice cream, chat or snack, anything would fit into this cup.
I have never tasted tea until last year. I started to have tea in public places, trains, conferences just for the cause of propagating the idea of using reusables. I believe my actions can speak a thousand words. This one act of mine has been great conversation starters. They would start as , ‘Oh you are a very health conscious person ? My answer is this:
If I throw it, who will clean it?