How does this picture make you feel. Well, this is what is happening to aquatic life due to our lack of sensitivity towards use of plastic. Mountains are in no better condition. I went to a beach recently and was terrified to see the condition it was in. Here are some tips that I follow . You can follow right off the bat to reduce the use of plastic while travelling or in day to day life too.
Avoid eating packaged food
Try to explore local cuisine. While trekking, avoid Maggie or other packaged food. Due to lack of proper waste management the locals burn these plastics. If you are on your own and need to have them then don’t dispose the plastics right away. Keep them with you till to return back to a place where you can dispose them properly.
Do Not Litter !! Do Not !!
As trivial as it sounds, most of us are guilty of it. I do not only mean on the road but on the trails as well. Try to minimize the waste you are producing and check if the place you are disposing at has proper waste management. Keep a bag with you where you can collect all the plastic waste accumulated until you have a proper way to dispose it. If you are backpacking and cooking yourself, keep a bag with you to hold grocery items like we do at home so that you don’t have to buy plastic ones.
Carry your own water bottle
Resist from buying plastic water bottles. Always carry your own be it on a trek or while backpacking. This is also applicable for flights. What you can do is take an empty bottle and fill it up after you pass security. I have been doing this for years now.
Carry your own mini cutlery set (Say no to straws)
Avoid using plastic cutlery. Straws are a major reason for death of so many aquatic animals. Carry your own fork, spoon and straw (Chopsticks , if you use them). If you are carrying a knife don’t forget to keep it in check-in luggage to avoid trouble with security (In case of flight travel). At a cafe , inform the waiter in advance to not provide you with straws . If possible carry a small lunch box with you while backpacking or trekking. It is convenient and environment friendly also. You can find most of these things from Decathlon camping equipment.
Don’t buy travel size toiletries
Use refillable bottles and containers. You can find them anywhere (Amazon is your friend here). Transfer the product you are using into these containers when you travel .This is economic as well as environment friendly. Travel sized toiletries tend to give less cost/quantity value and add up to a huge amount of waste. Try using silicone ones to prevent leakage and bursting. But you can but plastic ones as well. Silicone ones are generally good for air travel. Here are some good ones. You can get the at Sephora , Muji, Health & Glow, Miniso as well. I have been using these for the longest time now.
Use menstrual cups
Sanitary napkins produce a lot of waste. I know making this switch is hard especially when we are used to sanitary napkins but please give it a try . I shifted to using tampons last year and this year moved to using menstrual cups. Trust me ,if anything, this will change the way you travel and is environment friendly also. Try switching to tampons first. When I made the switch, I used to be doubtful of stains. What you can do is wear a pantyliner during your initial days of transition to have a safety check. When you get enough confidence , you will not go back to pads again. Take my word for it. ( Girls ! You can go inside water , dance in rain and what not !) This is what I use.
Reduce consumption of fast fashion brands
Fashion Industry produces more than 15 million tons of waste. Invest in clothes that will pass the test of time. Fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 create artificial demand in the market by getting new clothes every week. I am not saying don’t buy from them but buy consciously. Invest in quality. Don’t buy clothes that you will not wear the next season. And if you love clothes or that is what your business is based on, don’t discard them right away when you have to. See if these garments can be loved by someone else. Donate them. I know this is a long term process and requires a lifestyle change. But there is no harm in taking that first step.
Join local clean up drives
Last but the least , if you have time and there is an event being organized locally. Join local clean up drives and do your part as a responsible citizen.
This is our home. Lets get together to save it from where it is heading.
Do let me know in the comment section below if you have other tips. Also if you need to anything in detail about the mentioned details , do email me or write in the comments section.
Also, there are many more things that we can do but those require some lifestyle changes. I will post that after I have completed some ground research. Some of them I am doing and some I am trying to figure out to to do. Do let me know if you guys would be interested in that.