Why I fell out of love with plastic

Thai street food is the best. I can eat this cuisine, all day, every day. Across Thailand, there are many delicious vendor stands at the side of the road, making it easy to grab a snack or lunch to go.

Working in Thailand, I found my level of single use plastic items was becoming over the top. For example, in the first photo is 2 plastics for different sauces, 1 for the noodle and veggies, 1 the curry and 1 more carry bag. That’s 5 items, 6 including the chopstick wrapper. At the end of meals, everyone throws the entire plastics in the bin.


The middle photo is a single use plastic cup, lid, straw and a carry bag. That’s another 4 items.

I’ve always collected my plastic bags to reuse. My pile, in both my home and office, was becoming insanely big, incredibly fast. I couldn’t reuse the bags at the same rate as in my home country. There, you are charged to use a bag, and therefore end up declining the extra cost. And there was nothing I could do with the small sauced ones. This didn’t sit right with me. I was making too much trash.

I also would see a lot of rubbish littered in nature. In the rivers, the sea, the jungles and I decided it was enough. I wasn’t living my values.

I found all the venders more than happy to help when I offered over my reusables instead. There are moments where items would get lost in translation. I’ve had to stop the whole tiffin tin being put into a plastic bag. But, usually, the problem (which is not an actual problem at all) is generosity. I can’t shut the lids! The vendors are so kind to me that they’d fill up all two tins instead of one to make sure that I get enough, which is so sweet.

I invested in a few key reusable pieces, like a colourful pinto tin, reusable cup and a smaller lunchbox with built-in cutlery, to help change my lifestyle.

What is a pinto tin?

“Pinto” or “tiffin” is the word used in Thailand for tiered carriers. Otherwise known as a lunch box, used widely in Asia to carry meals.

My tiffin tin is enamel coated, and I bought it for a few hundred Thai baht at a store in Worrowat market, in Chiang Mai.

I have seen many fantastic designs in Thailand, made from aluminium and stunning ceramics.

Pinto tins are cute, useful, easy to carry and no faff.


Mia Hadrill

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