Challenge, Creation Care, Issue 17, Sustainability

Take the No-Disposables Challenge

Take the No-Disposables Challenge

CHALLENGE RULES

1. Track your usage of disposables for food consumption THREE days prior to  the challenge.
2. For ONE WEEK, you are not to use any disposable items related to food consumption.
3. Find replacements for the disposable items you usually use, e.g. a Tupperware to replace takeaway food, a reusable cup if you’re buying a drink, cutlery etc.
4. Keep a daily journal of how you are coping.
5. Have fun!  

Challenger: ABIGAYLE HUAN, 16

3 Facts:

1. Rate of disposable usage: Almost every single day!
2. Most-used disposable: Bubble tea plastic cup
3. Difficulty of challenge: 7/10

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I felt really self-conscious throughout the three days that I had to record the amount of disposables I used. I felt like every time I held something disposable, I had done something very wrong. I was more aware of the things I was eating out of, carrying, and so on. I’ve always thought that I was a pretty green person, being the kind of person that recycles old newspapers and such. Turns out that I actually use a lot more disposables than I realised!

THE CHALLENGE

Day 1: Successfully managed to avoid using disposables today! It was difficult to forgo my beautiful milk tea with pearls 🙁 I could hear it calling my name as I walked home from school. The temptation was so great! But I managed to make it home safely, evading its evil plastic grip. School ended late so I ate all my meals in school on non-disposable plates!

Day 2: Today was relatively easy as I ate all my meals at home. My mum almost packed my breakfast into a (gasp!) disposable Ziploc bag!! Thankfully, I managed to stop her in time. I scared her half to death with my nonsensical blabbering as I snatched my sandwich away. At school, I had to avoid buying my favourite vegetable biscuits as they came in plastic wrapping.

Day 3: I was really, really, REALLY longing for those vegetable biscuits. It may sound gross but it actually tastes really, really good. Plus they are so addictive. As I stared longingly at the snack store, it hit me that everything was packaged in disposables, from the potato chips to the bread buns! I stood there for a good minute in dismay as I realised I would not be able to buy relief from the snack stall for another FOUR DAYS. As I watched my friends eat the mac ‘n’ cheese my school sells on Thursdays on disposable Styrofoam containers, I let out a very audible sigh. Eventually, I satisfied myself with “stealing” some macaroni from my friends.

Day 4: Today was RIDICULOUS. It was e-learning day so the Sec 4s were the only ones in school. As a result, all the food stores were closed except the snack store, drink store, and vegetarian store. It was a sad, gloomy morning. Even the sky cried. I managed to avoid buying food from the snack store, thus evading disposables. However, I fell prey to the sliced watermelon. It was held in a plastic bag. I hesitated before buying it and I tried really hard to resist. I eventually gave in. It was a sad, sad moment as my will proved no match for the sweet, juicy watermelon. I felt really disappointed that I had broken my no-disposables “streak”. However, at least I felt a little better after eating the watermelon.

Day 5: Today was a good day until I accidentally bought a drink in a disposable cup! I completely forgot about the challenge! I only remembered when my cup was already half empty. To redeem myself, I actually brought the cup home, washed it, and recycled it. I felt really bad for using more disposables. To make myself even more guilty, I did some research on how we are causing global warming with all our disposables, and watched some videos on how deforestation is destroying our planet. I felt really regretful. I also really wanted another drink.

Day 6: I managed to go the entire day without using any disposables. It was extremely difficult and I almost slipped up and bought a Milo in a PAPER CUP. At the very last moment, I remembered to ask the auntie for those stall cups that you can return to be washed. I felt good about that.

Final Day: Today I didn’t use any disposables. It was an anti-climatic end of the challenge as everything I bought today did not come with disposables.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This challenge has opened my eyes to the amount of plastics and disposables we use every day. I’ve always known that they are bad for the environment, but I never realised that I play such a big role in contributing to this pollution. Every day we get asked, “Would you like a carrier?” or “Do you need a bag?” and we nonchalantly nod, not knowing the impact that one tiny action might have. Over the course of these seven days, I learnt how dependent I am on man-made things such as plastics, and how they are in almost everything we use. I was also faced with the reality that choosing to make a change is difficult, and requires consistency, because even small changes feel weird at first. I now feel more conscious of what I am using and have decided to make an effort to cut down on my usage of disposables!  

Why should I care about the environment?

The Bible begins with creation and ends with new creation. In the beginning, after creating everything and declaring it “good”, God told humankind to “fill the earth and subdue it” and to “rule over” it. Rather than a licence to exploit the earth and its resources, “subdue” actually means “manage” and “bring to order”, while “rule over” is about ruling in a way that reflects God’s rule as a servant king (Zech 9:9; Matt 20:25–28). Essentially, God is commanding humankind to care for creation! The final picture of heaven that we have in the Book of Revelation is in chapter 21. But here, heaven isn’t a place that we float towards in the sky. Rather, heaven descends to earth as a city called New Jerusalem. Creation has been renewed by God and freed from the effects of the curse of sin. Caring for creation is actually an integral part of seeking and participating in God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s why we should care about the environment!

– Marianne Wong, Assistant Pastor at Mt Carmel BP Church  

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