Bottom Line On Top – IT’s POSSIBLE. So save your arguments :).
For 40 days in Himachal we managed to live, buy things and store them without plastic bags because they are banned in Himachal. I always carry cloth bags with me so it was easy to manage. The only challenge we had was getting food packed in newspaper as that is unhygienic. We started carrying our boxes and the ziplock bags we had carried with us. The ziplock bags are very useful as we are constantly on the move, and I do reuse them, but if someone has an alternative, please suggest. Will happily give them up. We are carrying steel tumblers, plates, vessels and even steel bottles for water !! And it’s great. No fear of anything chipping or breaking and our carbon footprint is negligible. BUT, how do we avoid super markets and grocery stores packing everything in plastic pouches ?? Just look around, everything is packed in plastic bags – rice, dal, flour, sugar, nuts … Anything and everything.
We spent just 4 days in Chennai and went to just one shop to buy some stuff for a friend and we ended up collecting 3 large polythene bags. There was no way to avoid them ! I have been trying to tell shop keepers everywhere during our travels not to give plastic bags and ask customers to bring their own. It’s really not difficult to walk to a shop carrying your own bags, preferably cloth bags, they work well in the refrigerator and can be reused again and again.
Check out this website of The yellow bag. This is a small effort being made by Krishnan Subramanian and his wife in Madurai. Please share other such efforts that you are aware of in other parts of the country.
We are thrilled to see that Kodaikanal is a no-plastic bag zone. I know Sikkim has banned plastic bags. Please share details of other cities, state or towns that are plastic free and work in your respective cities and communities to ban the Earth destroying plastic.
If you have doubts about what plastic, non-degradable waste can do, see the picture below… The Fresh Kills landfill at Staten Island can be seen from space, was the world’s largest landfill !!
This is from the tiny town of Rameswaram … Those bales of plastic bottles were everywhere. This town is not even on the tourist map in a big way, it’s mostly a place of worship, where have so many plastic bottles come from ? And just imagine how many such bales must be collecting everyday in the cities … India is hurtling towards a consumption driven society and there in lies peril.
Please please say no to plastic – reduce consumption, reuse and recycle. It’s possible and the effects on the Earth are magical.