I’ve been thinking about waste quite a lot.
It all started when we packed up our house back home. Moving, I find, always generates a lot of waste. Wasted food, or perhaps wasted money spent on eating out during moving. And, of course, all the stuff that you never quite got around to throwing out, that now urgently needs to be disposed of.
Then there was the flying. The packaged meals, the individually wrapped blankets and headphones and anything else you can think of.
After that, we hit Asia, where waste disposal is a work in progress. We don’t have nearly enough public recycling bins on the streets at home, but at least some exist. Not so here. The amount of water bottles alone that must pile up is mind boggling.
As we travelled through Thailand, we saw too many dumps, recyclable materials all mixed in. On Koh Lanta, one of the quieter islands, there was detritus right on the shoreline, marring an otherwise picturesque setting. Rubbish piles randomly dotted the pavements, next to dwellings, even.
Simply by way of being there, we were further bound to add to it all, with our countless empty water bottles (recyclable! At home, at least) and our plastic containers from our (very few) takeaway meals. I really feel that making the tap water drinkable would make an immense difference – both in terms of the health benefits of clean drinking water for all, and in terms of the plastic saved.
Worst of all was when we embarked on a whirlwind four-island day trip, culminating with lunch on the picturesque and remote Koh Ngai, the remains of which would either probably be dumped somewhere there or ferried over to a larger island to be dumped.
In Koh Lanta I briefly spotted a sign tucked down a quiet alley in the township – something about supporting the island’s first recycling facility. The sooner the better, or there may not be a whole lot left worth preserving.
But hey, at least I’ve finally used up all my sample size shampoos/moisturisers. Those sachets have finally been put to good use on our travels.