Adopting disposables-free lifestyle isn't easy

While a zero-waste, environmentally friendly lifestyle sounds great, I learnt avoiding the use of disposables was harder than expected.

For example, the day I decided to go disposables-free for a week was also the day my family decided to order in pizza for dinner. The delivery came with stacks of cardboard boxes and a mound of condiment packets.

I was discouraged, as it seemed that my constant reminders over the past year about not using straws and plastic bags had fallen on deaf ears.

Over the next few days, I realised that a big part of going disposables-free boiled down to planning ahead.

Once, I grudgingly took one of those long plastic sleeves offered at the door of a National Library branch to bag my dripping umbrella.With a little foresight, I could have kept a recycled plastic bag on hand, instead of taking the plastic umbrella sleeves and throwing them away after.

I also had to refrain from buying drinks on impulse, because I did not have a reusable cup with me.

Some habits I already had in place, like using a metal straw and keeping a foldaway tote bag in my day bag for unplanned extra carry.

Going disposables-free is no easy task... While it is easy to surrender to convenience, taking baby steps to cultivate new, green habits is better than taking none at all.

 

But others were harder to avoid. For example, not using tissues.

After seven days, I accepted that going disposables-free is no easy task. A particularly memorable experience was walking 1km uphill carrying two cups of bubble tea, without a bag.

While it is easy to surrender to convenience, taking baby steps to cultivate new, green habits is better than taking none at all. I might actually learn to run with the habit of being disposables-free.

The first few months after buying my metal straw, I often forgot to take it with me. But it has since become a stalwart of my bag along with my wallet and phone. It is something I just cannot do without.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2018, with the headline 'Adopting disposables-free lifestyle isn't easy'. Print Edition | Subscribe