Improve the Environment and Your Wallet – Reusing the Desi Way

Biscuit tins and margarine tubs may hold its traditional products initially, but to a large Asian minority offer familiar surprises of samosa’s, sewing supplies or other household wares. Many of our parents saw the multipurpose nature of such packaging and the potential savings they could make by not buying a matching set of plastic containers. They were the original proponents of reusing which would allow them to contribute doing their part for Mother Nature.

Some ways of being environmentally friendly may seem out of reach and expensive to implement like solar panels. Other ways that are as easy as chucking your Coke can into the recycling bin are rightly encouraged for a reason. However, reusing and reducing will always have that one up on recycling.

Supermarkets are awash with packaging that guards our produce as if it were the one ring. While we don’t have the power to reduce the amount of packaging suppliers and stores use by using the one ring to rule them all, or other democratically approved means, we have the power to reuse these unassuming polypropylene’s and polyethylene’s.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on

As a child, I ashamedly used to think the plastic bag collection that every south Asian household gathers like it is gold was merely something to be embarrassed about and laughed out. I didn’t realise keeping these to be reused was better than purchasing numerous cotton tote bags to do shopping in. They have become our bin bags and shopping bags multiple times over. Even the plastic bread bags and packaging that can be used as a bag is folded and kept in our house till it’s been reused in some shape or form.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

When an Amazon delivery arrived, I would just to dig through the sturdy box and bubble wrap to recover my ordered treasures. My dad however, saw the value of neatly folding the bubble wrap for our use and using the boxes as storage. Granted, he may keep too many of these boxes sometimes so the only thing we can do is throw them, but he has saved some serious cash at Ikea by storing things this way. Not to mention, these boxes can become some very artistic creations if you’re a crafty person or have a child around.

Photo by מתן שגב on

My dad can see a use in the most natural of things, having even kept the mango seeds from juicy mango’s in the hopes of replanting them so we can eat home-grown mangoes (in approximately five years, they take a while to sprout). Yes you can buy seeds from the shop, but you can also reuse the seeds you have sucked around (and hygienically washed) to regrow. If flowers are more your thing, you can used the remnants of peeled fruit and veg, to create your own compost.

Photo by Flora Westbrook on

If you look at the remnants of an object from a new perspective, you’ll find you have a lot within your ‘rubbish’. Yoghurt pots can become plant plots, old newspapers can be used to clean your glass windows, glass bottles can become the vase you put your favourite flowers in, and leftover coke can be used as your new grime buster. There are numerous hacks online on how to reuse items, things that I know my family to do. I know it’s not just other brown families which do this, but typically families on a budget may use these tricks, as they don’t cost you anything. These innovative yet traditional tips allow for a heavier wallet and less waste in the landfill so next time you’re about to throw something out, think if you could reuse it – desi style.

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