There seems to be quite a catch-22 for those of us who want to reduce our waste. Many of the types of products we would like to switch to because they are produced with biodegradable materials or because they are just hard to find where we live. In India there are a number of online sources for purchasing great organic products that help you reduce waste, but it seems a bit ironic that to conserve waste one must produce more. I know this is something I certainly need to work on as I attempt to reduce what I own–not the least of which is due to packaging.
I’ve written my fair share of feedback on websites about the problem of plastic packaging–that extra layer of protection that I think is totally unnecessary. But it’s not only that plastic. It’s also the excess use of cardboard, which , of course I don’t use when I go shopping in person because I carry my cloth bags. A recent article in The New York Times highlighted the problem of the one-click culture we live in is producing an unprecedented amount of cardboard waste:
At least the article ends on a positive note–reduce consumption, if only a little:
Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology, San Francisco’s main recycling processor, which collects 100 tons of cardboard every day, has a simpler solution: “Slow down consumption,” he said. “Slow down.”
Of course, you can also just reduce what you buy and if you must try to actively complain to companies about the materials they use to ship their packages–plenty of Zero Waste bloggers are offering suggestions about this.
But even when you’re at home, especially in the city, it’s important to be conscious of Zero Waste purchasing. If you like take out food, for example, you can carry a thermos or bottle to refill for liquids. A tiffin carrier, of course, works well for food. Why Indians shifted to plastic from this brilliantly designed container baffles me. But this is all important to pay attention to, especially since the creation of various apps and services that deliver food. My family has tried a few of them, like foodpanda.in, but the packaging is outrageously excessive.
In India there is also the Kachara Project, which is helping people to be mindful about waste and reduce consumption in all sorts of helpful ways.