With news of plastic islands, animals dying from plastic consumption and even the fish we eat containing elements of plastic, it really is time to address the issue of our own plastic consumption.
Unfortunately, Bangkok is a throw away city with rubbish mountains growing, space dwindling and the wonderful wildlife and natural habitats suffering as a result.
With a houseful of children, time as a premium and convenience for packaging, plastic wipe-clean toys and products, is it possible to live a plastic free life here in Bangkok?
Plastic free, maybe not. But a far less wasteful, and plastic-full life is certainly achievable with not a huge amount of effort on anyone’s part. It’s easy to become complacent about our consumption of plastic but here is a compilation of things that can be done at home today, to lesser the use of plastic in our immediate environments.
1. The obvious one: carrier bags!
They are redundant in the world we live in today, but for some reason shops are plastic-bag-hungry and dish them out ten to the dozen. Some online delivery services now offer their service without bags. If you’re heading to the shop, have a selection of robust reusable bags in the car before you go. If it’s just a trip to pick up a loaf of bread, have a think about how much you really need a plastic bag to take that item home in.
2. Take-away containers
Just after we arrived in Bangkok, we realised that having take-aways was a very different affair here than in our home country. We soon got into the habit of having a couple a week but the amount of packaging that we were throwing away as a result was almost untrue. So, we purchased a tiffin box (“pin-to” in Thai), which is one of the best family purchases we’ve ever made. All restaurants have been happy to put our food into our metal containers to take home. Genius!
3. Plastic cutlery
There are lots of occasions where plastic cutlery is not only time saving but so convenient. It is now possible to buy not only wooden, but also edible cutlery here in Bangkok. Visit www.bakeys.com based in India, to find out more. If you’re on the road you could keep a set of washable cutlery in a sealed container in the car as an alternative.
4. Felt tip pens
The best solution found to combat the permanent cycle of buying plastic felt tip pens, using them once, leaving the lid off so they dry out and then throwing them away, is to stop buying them in the first place. Simple crayons, pencils and chalks work just as well.
5. Plastic toys
Birthdays and some holidays have resulted in an enormous amount of plastic in the playroom. When such toys break, they get binned. So, the best solution is to avoid getting them in the first place. We no longer ask for present for the kids but experiences and days out. If we have parties, we ask that the children just bring themselves. Do the children really need all those plastic presents that barely sustain interest? Think about party bags too. Is there a more constructive option?
6. Plastic children’s furniture
From baby baths and high chairs to bouncers and walkers, plastic is in all types of furniture that gets purchased for our children. Is there an alternative? On the arrival of our third child, we did a huge rethink about what we really needed. However, the convenience of being able to wipe a baby seat clean in seconds, rinse a bath out in a flash or hose a sticky table off is second-to-none. But these items have very suitable and more robust wooden counterparts that do the job just as well (and they last longer). As for the baby bath, well, there’s always the sink!
These are just a few ways to get going on a plastic-less life. It’s possible with a bit of creative thinking. Do share your tips on how to remove plastic items from our lives, homes and natural world!