As many of you know, I got back recently from a whirlwind trip to Salvador, Brazil for the wedding of my beloved nephew and his wonderful wife. I was only there for a short time but it was life-changing. So I decided to start a short blog series called "Lessons from Brazil" to share about this trip, to help me to process it, and to inspire you.
Brazilians in Salvador like to conserve paper. What does this mean?
This means that there is no "paper" option for bagging groceries at the store. There are no Kleenexes, napkins, and paper towels on every counter, spilling out of dispensers for patrons in restaurants and in hotel rooms. There is toilet paper, but you just use a small amount, and once you are done you put it in a very small container in the bathroom about as big as a woman's purse which is emptied daily. The few paper napkins I saw were one-ply and very tiny, a little bigger than a sheet of toilet paper.
Have you ever noticed how we throw paper products around? Here we even use paper plates, and some of us (I'm guilty!) eat off of them because I don't want to do dishes--poor me, I don't have a dishwasher! For many of us, our household shopping is done in multiple boxes from Amazon (guilty again!) because of the free shipping--this results in us having large trash bags full of packaging to dispose of in huge cans each week. We can't even lift the cans as they are so big and heavy--we have to drag them on wheels. In Salvador, they set their little plastic grocery bags out by the curb or on a little stand for pickup. People don't spend the money for large dedicated "trash bags"--there is no money to spend in such a way--it would probably seem silly.
We definitely have an abundance of paper products here, but I'm wondering if we could conserve more. It would be good for the trees and for the environment. Even though we recycle, I think we could do better.