Everyone tries to be environment friendly these days but convenience takes upper hand on many occasions. I too practice all the common ones. People including my friends and relatives make fun of some of my habits and according to them they are useless. Five of them I am listing which are sure to get you some taunting remarks
Table Settings– Love our Indian way of having a meal. We don’t fuss about or need appropriate cutlery or table settings. Frankly I like a properly laid out table with variety of cutlery and crockery but we hardly use any of it in our way of eating. A plate and a spoon or fork is what we need. So to avoid unnecessary wastage of water whenever we go out to eat, I request waiter to remove all excess table settings before ordering including glasses as we carry our own water. Now I am quite used to funny glances from neighbours or hosts. My other half keeps telling me that it’s useless as water crisis is increasing every day but that’s my drop in the ocean. Anyway while having a ‘Thanks-Giving’ dinner at my boss’s house while abroad I did this and was surprised how well it was taken up by my colleagues.
Bucket and Mug- Most of the vacationing places in India now put up a notice to save water, reuse towels and sheets and more but one thing which they forget to do is to provide a bucket. We have traditionally taken bath with water from bucket but now it’s more fashionable to take showers hence all hotels have only showers. I like it too, who doesn’t but showers waste a lot of water. Whenever I am travelling by personal vehicle I carry a clean bucket and mug. Initially I ask them to provide (embarrassing). If they don’t I take out my own. Bathing with a bucket of water initially with a minute of shower in the end satisfies me completely.
Buffet Plate- With ‘Bed and Breakfast’ the norm these days every hotel/resort prepares a wonderful spread but the moment you get up to get something else your plate is gone. People on the average use 4-5 plates plus cutlery and glasses. Walking towards the table with used plate in hand is considered bad manners (pseudo etiquette). I make it a point to use a single plate and go to the table with used one in hand. Many a times I am gently reminded by the stewards about the stack of fresh plates and foreign guests look at me with disgust.
Bottle Collection- There is now a craze for the designer kitchens with absolutely marvellous, and amazingly beautiful storage containers. Love those photos in women’s magazines and walking through the kitchen section of big stores dedicated to improve one’s home. All of these are plastics and I love the colours and style but that’s where I stop. I never use plastics to store my dry food stuff because I observed that over a period of time even the costliest of such containers fade with micro cracks and scratches. Looks like something has slowly eaten it and it’s the minuscule oil of aromatics, spices and other eatable which eat away the plastics. For long I have been collecting glass bottles with metal lid of jams, pickles and other condiments. Some organizations are really thoughtful as their products have very nice quality, optimum sized wide mouthed bottles or “Mason Jars’. Which can be reused till broken, can be sterilized, washed in dishwasher or heated in microwave. I try to buy products in glass jars instead of plastic ones and sometimes donate some of it to women who make pickles at home for living. Still I am mocked as a Kabadiwala.
Gloves and Socks- Being a survivor of “Swine-Flu” (oink-oink), I prefer wearing cotton gloves and socks when going out for work or shopping to avoid direct contact with surfaces like staircase or escalator railings, public transports, currency and coins, vegetables and fruits and many other stuff. Sounds crazy and doesn’t look related to eco-friendly living. Well it is as no one wants to fall sick and have lots of medicine which indirectly damage the environment. At the same time I don’t want to wash or sanitize hands multiple times a day which is neither good for me nor for environment. Luckily this time I have a predecessor. We had an aunt in the family who used to wash, dry and iron all currency notes at the beginning of the month. She was called the craziest. A new study now shows currency notes to have more than 500 dangerous pathogens and it is on the first place in the list of dirtiest things. Second being public transport. A nice thick cotton glove not only saves me from germs but sun too. Socks protect my feet from insect bites and germs on the floor.