I have to admit when I was back in The States I did not recycle, I did not even give a second thought to throwing away my trash. I did not understand the significance of recycling and sustainability. Everything in my world was taken care of. We have a trash service that takes our trash and thats the last I see of it. It is an oddity to see trash on the street
because their are so many trash cans available. It seems like there is a trash can every direction you look at home. I have since learned that this is a major privilege because not everyone has the luxury of a trash service or even a trash can.
Because of their lack of resources to handle the waste they have several ways to combat
too much build up. For example, as many people know bathrooms outside of the United States are not what we are used to. Most places we have gone do have western style toilets that we have become accustomed to but there are a few places where they do not. When I come across an Indian toilet I was shocked for a moment because I was not sure how to use it. No matter what toilet you get, whether it was western or the Indian style, neither of them use toilet paper. This was another obstacle I had to overcome. The Indians do not use toilet paper because it is wasteful. Technically no one needs toilet paper, it is just a luxury we have in The States. They have a hose they use to clean themselves, instead. Part of the reason they do not use toilet paper is because they also do not have the plumbing for it. So all the toilet paper would clog the pipes and make for a real mess. The toilet paper just adds to the cycle of waste with no where to put it.
Sticking with the topic of sustainability, they also have an interesting system of washing their clothes. Our group is fortunate enough to have a laundry service at the place we are staying. The first weekend we got here though, we saw how the locals do their laundry. This was yet another shocking experience. It is basically a giant human washing machine. Why waste so much water on a single persons laundry when you can use the same water over and over again for multiple peoples laundry? It might seem odd to us but this is just the norm for them. This is what makes sense. You can also see that the clothes are hanging up on clothes lines. They also do not have dryers here. Casa Cottage does not have a dryer either so all of our clothes get hung up outside to dry. This can be tricky because it is also monsoon season so it rains frequently. It is hard to get our clothes fully dry outside so our room here is typically filled with our clothes hanging from random places. Getting used to the laundry here took some time but I have a new appreciation for it because there are places that do not even have it this good. It is important to remember that the people at the Dhobi Ghat work so hard and it is a difficult job!
I have also notice the effort being taken to recycle and decrease waste at Vidyashilp. The school has their own recycled paper plant on their campus. I am so fascinated by this, I wish I knew where one was in The States. For all their projects they use their recycled paper. It is so fun too, they make so many different colors. The people who work it can make any shape or size you want. We even got a special note book made completely out of recycled paper. It is amazing. In fact I have been carrying it around with me everywhere waiting to take notes or make a reminder so I can write in it. I think I am going to try and buy a few from the school so I can take them home with me.
I am so impressed with how this country tries to minimize waste and use everything they can. They want to keep their world healthy and clean. I have definitely taken some notes from them and am going to bring them back to The States. We should all try to waste less and recycle more. You do not realize how bad it is until its piling up on the streets in front of you. I do not want to wait until that happens in the United States to do something. Let’s do something now.