The start of February is a real watershed. While at least six weeks of winter remain (whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not, we end up with the same amount of winter!) at least the daylight stretches past 5pm, bringing with it a much needed natural elevation of mood and a sign that spring and summer sunshine will be here soon.
Being inside too much fries my mind and spirit. I think that’s true for most people, whether they admit it or not. But when I unplug and step outside to enjoy our beautiful Mother Earth, it’s evident that we are treating her as badly as we are treating ourselves.
Even in a town as beautiful as Vienna, litter from single use plastic stains our parks and roadsides, and eventually makes its way to storm drains. And as Nemo’s tank-mate Gill said in the famous movie, all drains lead to the ocean. Even in a town as beautiful as Vienna, litter from single use plastic stains our parks and roadsides, and eventually makes its way to storm drains. And as Nemo’s tank-mate Gill said in the famous movie, all drains lead to the ocean.
The litter you see as you walk the streets and parks is just one of the reasons why our waterways are choking with plastic. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. Most people know the “three R’s” as in “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but it’s actually a heirarchy. First, we should be reducing what we use, reusing everything we can, and lastly, recycling the things that are actually recyclable. The good news is that it’s not too late to turn the tide, but we all have to change our behavior, and we have to do it quickly
.For my own part, I ditched plastic water bottles and bags, and started using bamboo cutlery. When my plastic toothbrush frayed, I switched to a bamboo toothbrush and haven’t looked back. 50 million tons of plastic waste come from toothbrushes. Toothbrushes! I wanted to do more.
Finally, the idea came to me: Vienna needs a place where people could shop for food, household essentials and even a few luxuries, without excessive, wasteful packaging. These stores are trending in Europe and Canada, and we need one here too.
Trace -- the Zero Waste Store will be coming to Vienna in late 2020. But in the meantime, for those wanting to connect and create a healthier planet, there is so much you can do to reduce the plastic coming into your life.
Start simple: ditch single use plastic bottles, bags and straws. Keep bags in your car for when you go to the supermarket, CVS, even the mall. As you get more comfortable with bringing your own, add something else. Maybe bamboo cutlery, or a bamboo toothbrush. You’ll see how good habits build on each other. Once you see plastic somewhere, you’ll start to see it everywhere. What’s more, you’ll know that something can be done about it.
Are there any products you’d like to see in a Zero Waste Store? Unplug a while and think about it. And when you’re back on, send me a note. I’d love to hear from you.
Mala Persaud is the founder of Trace -- The Zero Waste Store. Reach her anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.