A little over two weeks ago, I returned to the U.S. from an amazing trip to India where I studied yoga, Indian philosophy and music. India is definitely a country I grew to love because of its diverse culture, people, free-roaming cows, insane traffic, busy bazaars and beautiful temples.
However, I have to admit that there is a flip side to this. While India is beautiful, there is a dark and definitely dirtier side to it: plastic waste lying – or rather, flying – around. In my opinion, the amount of plastic waste produced becomes more visible in a country like India because unlike in Europe or America, the waste does not magically disappear. Plastic bags lie around everywhere, are trapped in trees and you see plastic incorporated into birds nests, or floating on rivers and lakes. In order to get to some fruit peels, cows chew plastic bags or bottles on the side of the road.
These images really inspired me to reduce my impact, both by eliminating plastic waste from water bottles and plastic containers. First, I stopped drinking my after-yoga-practice-coconuts with plastic straws, and encouraged other yoga students to either purchase a reusable metal straw for less than $1, or to not use a straw at all. It’s this simple: several hundred yoga students drink at least one coconut per day, sometimes two or even more. Each drink can be plastic-free by refusing a straw, or just using one that’s reusable. In my little apartment, I refrained from purchasing plastic five-liter water containers, and instead ordered re-usable 20-liter water jugs that were delivered to my house and picked up again to be refilled. This system was cheaper and had way less effect on the environment.
Now that I’m back home in the U.S., I see plastic everywhere, from grocery stores to coffee shops, airports or take home from restaurants. So, what can you do to stop this cycle of waste? Commit to bring your own shopping bag, water bottle, coffee mug or food container; and keep refilling and reusing it. In doing so, you can start changing the world.
Klean Voice Contributor Babsi Glanznig is an Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga instructor at RE:treat, an organization based in Telluride, Colorado, that offers yoga inspired adventure retreats in beautiful mountain locations around the world. Photos in this blog post by Babsi.