Well I have spent the last 10 days in Indonesia. It has been a mighty effort to maintain my plastic free goal. I have had....some success.
Water: Hurrh, water was not an issue!! I was actually able to find filtered water to fill up my water bottle in the mornings so there was no need to buy any water. I also have set up my Lifesaver bottle and can have water any time. Awhhhhh yah.
Alone time: When I have been responsible for my own meals I have managed to keep plastic free!
Conference time: This was a big fail. I had no control over the food or the ability to source out any other options. Not only did the food come delivered in Styrofoam containers but each individual item was in its own plastic bag. I felt very sad at meal times. The water was also served in a plastic disposable cup and thick cling wrap lid. I was able to avoid this by using my water bottle. I also did not purchase any snacks. These two things were in my control. So my impact was less than everyone else’s at the conference but by no means was it sustainable.
Cutlery: Most places I have been to have served food on reusable plates with metal cutlery (yay) however, sometimes the cutlery comes wrapped in plastic :S. I use my own camping cutlery when that happens, however I was informed yesterday that the restaurant will still open the plastic, wash the cutlery and rewrap it. What a complete waste of their time and my efforts and the plastic. Boo.
Trains: I was not able to eat anything on the trains as they came wrapped in cling wrap. Luckily I planned ahead and had my lunches packed in my camping container. Win!
Street Food: The street food places that I went to encouraged you to sit down and had reusable everything. I was pretty impressed with that. Course, if you were worried about food safe stuff rather than plastic you might had had a different opinion :P I haven’t had any problems though.
Straws: Gah, straws. The Bain of my plastic free existence in Indonesia. No matter how many times I say no straw (in English, in Indonesian, and with my Indonesian friends repeating it for me) they still manage to give me a straw L. One time I saw the waiter put the straw in, then remember I specifically asked for no straw and take it out to put in the garbage L. Not to mention the incredulous looks I receive when I say (and pantomime) “no straw.” So, I decided to change my approach and only have hot drinks :P. The only thing to be careful there is to make sure coffee and tea come “for here.”
Gifts: Buying any type of merchandise without plastic packaging is very very difficult here. I was really excited when I bought my scarf, because the price tag was attached with the security device. Or so I thought... As soon as the removed the tag I saw that it was also attached with a plastic tag L. Too late.
So, I’d say I have had some successes, some complete failures that I couldn’t seem to change, and had to sacrifice some desires because of no alternative. All in all I am pretty happy with my experience. My eyes have certainly been opened to how pervasive plastic is though. I thought it was everywhere in Canada / Australia. HAH! No. Not even close. I wonder what kind of.....something....it will take for a change in consumer behaviour here in Asia. Well, Indonesia anyway. Let’s see what happens in Malaysia!!