This ‘Plastic Free July’ take inspiration from city-based youngsters who are changing their lifestyles with plastic-free alternatives.
The global movement, Plastic Free July, is marked this month around the world. It is all about helping people with ideas and resources so as to help them find ways to reduce single-use plastic waste — whether at one’s home, work, school, or while eating out at restaurants. In line with the movement, Gayatri Murralidharan, who runs a website named Ecolove India, has been pooling ideas to help people discontinue single-use plastics and adopt more sustainable means of living. “From carrying my own containers to the grocery shop for buying rice, pulses and millets, to taking along my own boxes when I go to a restaurant for packing leftovers, I have realised that plastics can be eliminated with simple steps. Even when one is hosting parties or special events at home, they can rent cutlery from start-ups that are offering such services instead of buying one-use plastic spoons that only fill our landfills as they can’t decompose for several centuries,” she asserts.
Many of us would certainly agree to being tempted to use and carry home the tiny plastic bottles of shampoo or body lotion offered at hotels. Kripa Ramachandran, a consultant and researcher on municipal solid waste in the city, says such plastics can be kept away by travelling with our own products. “I carry my personal care kit, with herbal bath powder and hair wash powder, every time I travel. I don’t use the kits provided in the hotels anymore. I also plog (jogging while picking up plastics and other trash) wherever I travel to,” she says.
Chennai-based Nithya Thiyagarajan decided to chronicle her zero-waste journey through her digital blog Greener By the Day. The blog also posts resources that can help others who want to reduce their plastic waste. “If people continue thinking that we cannot get rid of plastics, it will continue to be part of our lives. There is a need for us to form a community from whom we can learn from in this zero waste journey,” says Nithya, who also holds zero-waste meetups that introduce people to greener alternatives for everyday products.