Happy Earth Day 2020, people! And really, when we speak of conserving the earth or the environment, we speak of nothing noble or sacrificial, but of making life better for us and for posterity, so happy “Us Day”, too!
So, on this Earth/Us Day, I thought I should make a list of changes my family and I have made to our lifestyle in the last several years. We keep slipping up every now and then, of course, but we try hard not to. Also, I do admit that what we are doing is far from enough, so I’ve also included my “next step “self goals in the list.
1) Bamboo toothbrushes
The plastic that gets wasted when we dispose our plastic toothbrushes is insane! So, a long time ago I switched my toothbrushes to bamboo ones (with plastic bristles, sadly).
Next step: Find good toothbrushes with bamboo bristles
2) Compostable trash can liner bags
We meticulously separate our waste into recyclable and landfill, and have been using compostable trash can liners for a couple of years now. My city doesn’t have separate facility for composting garbage bags, but as these are made from corn and plant products, I know that they are less harmful when rotting in a landfill.
Next step: Start composting to make full use of the compostable bags.
3) No balloons at birthday parties
This one was tough! We started this no-balloons trend at my daughter’s 5th birthday and after some (a lot of) resistance, we managed to convince her that balloons are horrible for the environment and we shouldn’t do something horrible on our birthdays. She still gets to play with balloons if someone thrusts them into her hands despite our disapproval, and I also think that I might occasionally allow her to play with them ( because you know, joy of childhood and all that!), but the senseless manner in which they are bought and distributed and discarded has to stop! Also, we have been using the same birthday decorations for almost 6 years now!
Next step: Find a way to tell the hosts of the birthday party that we won’t be taking home single use plastic party favors. (You’d think that this is me telling them, but whom are we kidding? I know no one reads my blog! 😀 )
4) No disposable plates, silverware, or straws
The amount of disposable plates and cutlery we go through during trips and mainly parties has always made me shudder. And while some people think that paper plates will decompose, most paper plates are coated with plastic so they can hold moist foods and hence, they won’t decompose – by design. So following my friend Aabha’s lead, I went to Ikea and bought a huge set of plates, glasses, and bowls. I haven’t used disposable plates or cutlery at home for years now and now and even offer to lend my whole set to friends for their house parties. We also never use plastic straws and carry our reusable (steel and silicone) straws everywhere. Next step: Figure out a way to use real plates and silverware at picnics and trips. The main problem here is the ability to clean them off properly. Need to find something that will.
5) Water filter pitcher and steel water bottles
I personally detest bottled water, for reasons that are obviously environmental, but also practical – carrying crates of water with you is tiring! And don’t even get me started on how weird the water tastes after it spends a day in the hot trunk of your car! So we always carry lots of steel water bottles and thermal mugs with us when we go out. They are not that heavy, actually. And when we go on trips and have to stay in hotels, we carry our water filter pitcher with us and fill it with tap water. Very convenient and guilt-free, too!
Next step: I guess we are pretty much set here – we have taken week-long trips and have never faced problems with this approach.
6) Reusable shopping bags
We mostly use only reusable bags for everything. Not just cloth bags and totes, we even use mesh bags for small produce. They are another example of how environment-friendliness and convenience go hand-in-hand. Just managing all the plastic bags from stores is a staggering task!
Next step: Figure out a way to reduce packaging material from online shopping.
That’s all I can remember off the top of my mind, but I am sure there’s more I do and even more that I can do. I wanted to tag some friends to let me know what they are doing to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, so I can copy their ideas, too; but then I thought why just restrict that to a few people? I am sure all of you do something or the other of this sort, so do let me know your ideas and practices in comments or in separate posts.
Happy Earth Day, once again! 🙂