Plastic disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Plastic water, juice and/or soda bottles and the ever-unnecessary straws. This has become a normal sighting for most parties these days. By the time the party is over, the trash created in one day by a group of people is unfathomable. Our lives continue swiftly. We do not realise the impact we have left on the planet by being merry and having fun. As we are in the holiday season, festive fun, parties and spending time with family and friends are the norm.
Yes, we may be doing this only once a year. Maybe, four times or more. The impact is well noticed even when we assume the country’s Waste Management system is in check.
How do we ensure [as well-informed or non-informed global citizens] we leave the world, better than we found it, even as we celebrate our festivities? How do we reduce our own plastic footprint to make the world a much cleaner and more habitable place for all species? Plastic pollution is a global problem, not only Kenya’s waste management challenge.
Yes yes to glass, ceramic, stainless steel and to some extent, reusable plastic cups and plates. Use stainless steel/silverware and wooden or ceramic spoons. Do not buy all the water bottles you need, instead, use a water dispenser which everyone can have access to. Glass Soda bottles are ideal and please, no straws.
The goal: Reducing the amount of single-use plastics as we celebrate our festivities.
It’s definitely gift-giving season no matter how small or large a gift is. Improvise with glass jars, magazines or newspapers customised into gift bags. One can even reuse old wrapping paper. This will definitely magnify the creative aspect of the brain. One might even come up with a profitable idea.
The goal: Reducing the amount of plastic and paper gift wrappers used, as in most cases, most end up being wasted.
Celebrate in style and plant a tree, especially if you haven’t done so this year. Get your hands dirty as the year ends. It is easier to remember when you planted a tree when done during an important period of the year.
The Goal: A group of people will have made a positive environmental impact.
Why spend the holidays in crowded malls and restaurants when the wilderness is calling? It need not be a lavish getaway experience in the Mara. It could be a nearby park or forest reserve that is awaiting your visitation. Take a deep breath of clean air and enjoy the wild moment without Wi-Fi but with a better connection.
The goal: Be in tune with nature, marvel and appreciate the non-human world as the year ends.
When hosting large parties or even a small dinner party with family or friends, buying in bulk is ideal.
The goal: Reduce the amount of packaging used when buying small items.
Visit the nearby local market and buy local food products grown in the locality. This will not only ensure you get fresh products but also get to change someone’s life even if it’s in a small way. Locally bought groceries have less plastic-wrapped packaging than store-bought groceries.
The goal: Fresh local products equal less waste both on food. Less plastic bags, containers or cling film.
When decorating the house is a tradition, you don’t need to keep buying plastic decorations every year. Instead, reuse the old ones and remember to store them well for the next season. Use improvised organic decorations such as popcorn. Decoratively cut craft paper and toilet paper or napkin rolls also work.
The Goal: Less plastic decorations will lead to less waste.
Cook only what you are sure people will eat. Do not cook something because it is a tradition yet most of it will remain.
The goal: Reduce food waste.
When travelling to a location as a group to the same destination, ensure all cars are well packed. There is no need for everyone to use their own mode of transport when all can carpool. We will not only save fuel but also reduce our carbon footprint.
The goal: Reduce our carbon footprint on travel.