Recycling isn’t a definite solution to eliminating waste. Plastic, the most harmful of man-made goods, might be down-cycled (turned into lower-quality plastic goods), but that's where its shockingly brief 'lifespan' ends. Down-cycled plastic cannot be recycled a second time. The only sure-fire way to cutting down on pollution is to lead a zero waste lifestyle.
"Out of sight, out of mind," is our general attitude towards waste, which is what inspired this challenge in the first place. We dared three personalities from different industries—retail, F&B and publishing—to go zero waste for two weeks and to hang on to whatever waste they couldn't help picking up. More powerful than mere preaching, photographic evidence serves as a wake-up call to how much trash we produce in our day-to-day lives.
Hats off to the following personalities for putting themselves out there!
Making guilt-free picnicking a possibility, Fallaleaf by Jesa Enterprise Sdn Bhd produces sustainable servingware using fallen palm tree fronds—no trees were harmed in the process. The family business started small (with just Kartigha and her parents) but has gained momentum in Malaysia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Dubai. Naturally, the company stocks its pantry with its own products for the benefit of employees and the environment.
Kartigha, who was wonderfully enthusiastic to take on the challenge, was confident that her waste could be kept to a minimum. “I carry Fallaleaf products in addition to my tiffin box, my tumbler, and a cloth bag,” she said. What she didn’t account for was the struggle of seeking out sustainable toileteries and groceries. “Not to mention my cravings for chocolate and cakes!” she said. “Wanting to grab my favourite snacks and wishing they weren’t wrapped in plastic packaging was heart-breaking.” To rub salt into the wound, Kartigha suffered from the sniffles halfway through the challenge, which meant having to pick up plastic-wrapped medications.
“On a personal note, I am thinking of continuing this challenge for another 14 days or more to see where it gets me in the long term. Malaysia Tatler has definitely given me the idea to challenge our employees for that matter!”