Save 5000 – An Update!

When I started this little global experiment to save plastic bags, I mostly did it on the whim of a moment to remind myself that I needed to be more mindful about plastic. The open letter I wrote prior to this was a result of my own frustration at not being able to be more environmentally conscious and making a serious attempt at reducing my carbon footprints.

I received wonderful supporting comments on the experiment from bloggers as well as anecdotes about their own personal journeys to reduce plastic and how their own communities and cities have committed themselves to this cause that it was very heartening.

I secretly hoped that this experiment would catch on; even wished that even if 100 bags were saved this month, that it would be a success in my eyes. Sadly, it didn’t. I didn’t market it suitably and it failed to take off.

But I am not disappointed. My personal resolve to save plastic as much as possible was partially fulfilled in my own way. Grocery shopping is the personal domain of my dad who goes ambling about the neighbourhood supermarkets looking for the best deals and prices so I don’t really interfere in his territory unless I’ve been given an errand. Since I could not persuade him to carry a reusable bag (and believe me, I have tried!), I felt I should do what I personally can in my own little way.

Result: This October, I saved 6 bags out of 10 shopping/eating experiences. It could have been better but it’s a start. I wasn’t able to confidently use my reusable cloth bag inside a mall so I guiltily accepted a big plastic bag full of books. In other instances, I was too shy to say no especially where takeaway food was concerned.

Anyway, I don’t mean to give this up. I will still carry my cloth bag with me wherever I go stuffed with a couple of old plastic bags that I can reuse. It’s a huge challenge but gradually I hope to gain more confidence in saying the magic words, “No thank you, I’ve got a bag.”

Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog, I always value your encouragement and support! If you liked this blog post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Thank you!

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19 thoughts on “Save 5000 – An Update!

  1. amanpan says:

    We use cloth bags. You can buy them at some of the grocery stores for a minimal amount of money. We also ordered cloth bags, including a thermal bag, that are pretty sturdy. You can hang the bag inside your grocery cart and load your groceries right in the bag. Great invention.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Safar Fiertze says:

    It’s always hard to go against the grain, so small steps are always difficult. I love the fact you’re trying and it makes me feel proud! Your small steps will become bigger, as you say, more confident, and others who feel like you will start to do the same until that magical critical mass is reached and everyone feels offended at being offered a plastic bag. I kind of feel a bit of a rebel with my rucksack. I always seem to hold up the queue messing about with the fastenings and hauling it onto my back, but it usually creates a remark and I’m able to explain what it is I’m trying to do. It’s surprising how much support you can get.
    Next step: !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thistles and Whistles says:

      Thanks so much for always encouraging and supporting me Safar! I really admire what you do to live mindfully and I hope that it will one day become easier for me too to go against the norm! I work on a freelance basis every year for a major event in Dubai and it always shocks me how many plastic bottles and the kilos of paper/brochures/booklets that are wasted. I’ve mentioned it in my reports every year for the past 5 or 6 years but there seems to be no action taken against it because the country itself doesn’t have a solid recycling plan in place especially when it comes to big public events where there’s a lot of wastage. However, there’s hope because I see more and more recycling bins and vending machines in many places that give points for recycling. The public isn’t aware though and there needs to be active community involvement for it to be any success. In any case, it’s a good start. By the way, we get these shopping trolleys that you sent the link to here by the dozens! I should consider getting one too! There are some very awesome ones that even double as seats. Similar to this model –


      • Safar Fiertze says:

        Love that shopping trolley – it has that old fashioned feel AND I love the extra function. I agree with you about the importance of community action. It’s something we’re mindful of in our choice of where to finally set up camp. Is there a supportive like-minded community, or will we need to work at creating one?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thistles and Whistles says:

        We do have annual clean-up drives organized by schools, colleges, corporates and volunteer groups. However, it is not an in-built habit in the communities to recycle here because everything is available in abundance. Many years ago, the government had set up recycling bins for plastic and paper beside every major bus stop but everyone would just dump trash in them. I don’t think anyone would come and empty the bins on a regular basis either. It was a huge fail so the bins were removed some years ago. Having said that, there are many recycling companies here that collect paper and other office waste but the production of waste is just too high to keep up with. I remember in my childhood days, the city used to be really really clean because mass consumerism wasn’t so popular and also because there were hefty fines on littering. Even though the fines are still in place, there is so much waste in the form of plastic packaging, bottles and bags just floating and flying around everywhere! Even the municipality cleaners are unable to keep up with it how many ever times they come and clean it during the day. An example –

        These are two recent articles that address the issue of waste management in the UAE as well:–finance.html


  3. karaskinner says:

    This is so cool! I’ve been trying to use reusable bags more but I still feel awkward about it when I’m with my friends. However, I recently learned about plarn– yarn made out of plastic bags– and I have started making a rug from my stash of plastic bags. I’ve ‘recycled’ three of them this way. It definitely helps with cutting down on the guilt from accepting a plastic bag now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

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