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.
5 thoughts on “Zero Waste-Third Week”
Milk packets are a scrounge and so us everything that comes in plastic. I have started taking my containers to places like Spencer’s which lets me take nuts, seeds, whole spices, fresh paneer besides whole grains in my bags/boxes. I go to a chakki for all ground spices n flours and take my own packets. So now I feel less guilty about things I do get in plastic.
There is a woman in Pune I think who runs a facility to convert plastic to oil- she takes all the packets. I have been meaning to collect n send mine soon. Will find and send the address. Contact a NGO called Chintan- they should be in Mumbai too and they take all dry waste except sanitary waste.
Reuse and reduce is the key and I am so proud to see another person in this bandwagon. Log judtey rahengey aur karavan badtha jayega 😊
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I will look up Chintan. We really need more people to join us. I am shocked at looking my plastic collection, never knew I consume so much of plastic. It is high time we reduce the plastic menace.
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Way to go, Tina! I like the fact that you are thinking of the bigger picture and taking steps that will help in reducing plastic. But, of course, everything comes in plastic packets and that doesn’t help. I know how difficult it was when 3 years back, we had plastic banned in the city and had to segregate waste in no less than eleven categories. Over time, the categories came down to five and it has been much more manageable since. We do strictly follow this using cloth bags everywhere and reuse things as far as practicable. In our apartment terrace, we’ve also been making our own compost from the wet waste that comes everyday. The irony is that all apartment associations have made it mandatory to segregate waste but house owners do not come under the purview so they are not always following this. Plastic ban will be effective when we stop using plastic for packaging completely.
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Bangalore is that way a great city where they encourage waste segregation and recycling. Mumbai is worst in that respect as here we literally live in filth and plastic. If the system takes care a lot of your burden is gone. Here in Mumbai we only have to do everything. Hopefully things will change with citizen initiatives. Lets hope for the best. Awaiting to read about your Japan trip.
I think consciousness is the first step. And when your family sees you sticking to it, they’ll quietly convert. I’m sorry to hear of the FB groups, although I’m not surprised.
I’m working towards getting a compost bin going in our neighbourhood.
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