Greetings from Malaysia! I am not really sure about all these people that kept (and keep) telling me that being plastic waste free in Asia is impossible. In some ways it is easier to be plastic free here than in Australia. For example, there are a lot of places that sell pop in glass bottles here. That isn't an option in Canada or Australia. Course, it used to be, and I haven't really checked the expiry dates on anything....but does pop really expire? :P. I have been mostly avoiding pop though. I am doing pretty well with my water bottle.
Another thing that is waaaay easier here is eating in a food court. I can't think of a single mall food court in Canada or Australia where the food is given to you in every day dishes. Everything in Canada comes in plastic or Styrofoam. Here, I would have to specifically seek it out. The default is to present the food "for here" style. I think that is fantastic!
The street food here is the same style as Indonesia, and is given to me in containers that are then reused by the stall. Once again, the biggest thing seems to be the straws. I am a bit over having the same hot drink (milk tea) and have ventured in to the world of cold drinks. My pantomiming no straw is still a bit of an issue. It seems to be working though, especially after same manic gestures and screaming when they go to put the straw in anyway. I always get the same, confused / bemused smile as well. I think my actions here will have no affect on the plastic use but will definitely affect how Asians view Canadians. If they didn't think we were weird already, sorry, they do now :P.
There was this really sad moment when I found a cool gift and had the person make it for me. Then I got distracted by the rest of the stall and before I knew what was happening I was handed my gift nicely wrapped in a plastic bag and stapled so it looked like it was from a store. I asked the girl if I gave the plastic back to her if she could use it for someone else, and she said no. I left and made it to the next store before I felt so awful about the whole thing that I took the staple out carefully and pulled it all apart. I went back and handed her the different pieces and said "please try and use this for the next person." I kind of tried to explain what my reasoning was but it didn't seem to get through. I did see her stack the bag and the cardboard with the "new" ones though so hopefully it will go to someone else.
I am having a bit of an affect on some of the people I am hanging out with though. Mostly things like rethinking plastic bag use, looking for ash trays instead of throwing cigarettes on the ground, reusing containers... It is probably my direct presence that is causing these changes but who knows, maybe when I am gone they will think of me when going back to old habits.
My daily life hasn't really seemed to change too much. I don't eat as many candies and chips, but I can still buy chocolate :P. One thing that is a bit sad is that I can't experience some of the local candies. I have yet to see any that are not pre-wrapped. So I might be missing out on the culture a little bit. I will have to come back. Similarly with some of the juices and drinks. Haha good thing I don't like bubble tea, because that would be a difficult one to get.
I have one more week or so here and then it will be off to a new country!