It was a few days before New Years and there was a party around the corner. At my home. The invitees were good friends. They all came bearing liquid gifts, and the evening turned out to be a sort of Bring.Your.Own.Booze party or B.Y.O.B.
2016 dawns. And I told myself it would the year of B.Y.O.B for me. Slight difference though, as I have no plans of surrendering myself to spirits of any kind. It will be the year of Bring.Your.Own.Bag.
Wherever I go, I take along an accomplice that happily welcomes impromptu stops at shops to stock groceries, take-away meals, or impulse shopping. It is now a permanent resident in my handbag- a foldable bag made of some synthetic material.
I call her ‘The Camel’. She stores a lot of stuff in her, is washable and extremely strong. ‘The Camel’ fits the palm of my hand, and can slip into very small spaces like pockets and glove compartments.
At the end of every day, I make a small note of the number of plastic bags The Camel ends up putting out of business. An average of 3 a day. That’s more than a 1000 plastic bags a year. For one person.
On days that I forget her at home, and I still have to pick up something, I have 2 choices. Restrict my purchases to things that I can carry in my hands, or request the shopkeeper to spare a cardboard box/carton for my supplies.
I don’t miss these toxic plastic bags that would have otherwise entered my life, as I don’t need them to double up as garbage bags. There are perfectly respectable bio-degradable plastic* garbage bags in the market that can be used to serve this very specific purpose.
My home feels lighter. And if we all B.Y.O.B en masse, something else may breathe easy too- our landfills.
PS: Anyone shifting homes, please holler. Have spare cartons:-)
*I have used Biotec Bags. They claim their enzyme compounded polyethylene bags have enzymes, sodium salts and oxidation agents that are eco-friendly and non-toxic. www.biotecbags.com
-You may wish to carry fridge bags when you go vegetable shopping. Try and give the roll of plastic bags a miss. They are thin, cheap and won’t degrade in a hurry.
-Keep a bag or two in your bike/car/cycle/handbag. They always come in handy.
-Many shops offer paper bags. Definitely better than plastic, but carrying your own bag still is the best option- as it is the first step towards Reducing even before re-using or recycling.