I can say this with complete conviction that it took a lot of reluctance and procrastinating to make this decision but here I am — trying to live life plastic-free.
Why I say it took me a lot of effort to make this decision is because just like every other millennial, I survive on convenience. I knew doing this would mean having to let go of the said conveniences. However, since I love challenges and this one seemed absolutely impossible from the start, I decided to give this a go.
Since we are way more aware of the world and the harmful things we’re doing to deteriorate as compared to the last generation, it is next to impossible to not end up caring about certain things. The fact that I contribute to these factors started bothering me and I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Baby steps are what I live by and I decided to go an entire day without using plastic and this is how it went down.
Early morning: Things don’t look promising
I woke up to my intensely loud alarm which was blaring from my mobile phone. A second before I wished myself good luck to surviving a whole day without plastic, I was hit with the realisation that the device which just helped me wake up is made of plastic.
Wow, this is going to be a hell of a day, I told myself.
I stepped into my bathroom to brush my teeth with the biodegradable bamboo toothbrush I had bought the night before and just as I was about to laud myself about it, I looked at the toothpaste — plastic tube. Damn it, how did I forget about this?
Stepped into the shower and successfully washed away my plastic-using sins with this obscenely expensive bar of soap which comes wrapped in an even more expensive bio-degradable paper.
The cashier at the organic products store down the block was more than amused when she quoted me the price because I had such a hard time believing it.
The next task was to head to work and I was already questioning my dedication to the project. But I’m not the kind to give up so easily and so, I sucked it up and decided to go ahead with my day.
Afternoon: It’s a wrap!
Everything was okay till I hit lunch time. After working for a few hours on my plastic laptop, I decided that I need some calories to survive the rest of the day. But is there a single place that delivers food without packing it in plastic covers and bags?
*Note to self: Research well before assigning yourself a task.*
Anyway, after an hour of browsing restaurants, I was hit with the realisation that it is absolutely impossible to order take out without plastic accompanying your food in some way or the other.
Mission: Lunch without plastic
Evening: Bury the sachet
If there’s one thing I look forward to every day is tea time. I love tea and the freshly brewed fragrance just wakes me up even on my sleepiest days. Unfortunately, most offices take the easy way out and provide you with only plastic cups for such purposes.
On top of that, since no one really has the time in today’s world and instant is the way to live, I was tempted to pick out one of the many tea bags available. But instead, I chose to make my own tea in the office kitchen so that I don’t add onto my plastic mess.
But as compared to my poor preparation for everything else, I was fully-prepared for this moment. I proudly took out my ceramic tea mug out of my bag and poured myself some piping hot tea.
After five minutes of being extremely proud of myself for this small step, I observed the mountain of plastic tea cups barely managing to stay in the dustbin. To think that I contributed to this waste for so long made me feel extremely guilty.
But this moment of pride didn’t last for very long because as soon as I got back to my desk, I got a call from a delivery boy. Oh, damn!
I had completely forgotten about the orders I had placed a few days ago and well, bless my stars, this was the day it decided to show up. Five boxes. Five bigass boxes, all wrapped up in plastic.
My little achievements felt so redundant in front of the waste that I was just about to make.
Each and every small thing was covered in layers and layers of plastic and my Guilt-o-Meter was about to break.
I think more than guilt here, self-realisation also took over. The same things I can go buy from the local shopkeeper in my own reusable bag are covered in endless plastic and it’s not helping anyone. To avoid a few minutes of inconvenience, we choose the option to go online for every little thing. But while doing so, we don’t realise the damage we are participating in. The online industry contributes a lot to the single-use plastic problem and we as consumers are the reason behind it.
Support your local vendor, buy fresh produce instead of vegetables and meat wrapped up in plastic, use reusable bags and containers and don’t accept plastic bags from shopkeepers.
Night: Putting the guilty conscience to bed
After an exhausting day of a lot of emotions and failures, I walked into my apartment, plastic bags from my online order in my hands and an exhausted face. I had failed. I knew it.
I never realised that to make your life plastic-free, even for just a day, is a huge task. Multiply this with every day of your life and the days to come and add the total number of people in this world. It equals to total destruction of Mother Nature.
If not completely, I will still make conscious efforts from now on to ensure that my use of plastic, especially single-use plastic reduces significantly.