My plastic filled vacation :(

Where were we for the past month? We were gone to Iran for three weeks to visit our families.

It has been eight years since I have last visited. Not being sure what to expect, i was kind of apprehensive at first. the thought of changing three planes with two kids without my husband was making me very anxious.
Image of Tehran from yahoo images.
Being American/ Iranian, traveling light is almost impossible. Bringing gifts for the beloved friends and family is a must. I truly enjoyed seeing their sweet and thankful faces when i handed them the small things i brought. But the challenge of making sure you don't forget someone and you bring small and light gifts, so they fit in your suitcase is a different story. The good news is that i managed to travel relatively light after all . More on my packing style coming later in my future posts.

Now lets get to the plastic filled part. We stayed with our families the whole time. The amount of plastic in every one's life was really hard for me to watch and try to stay quiet about, so i don't criticize and insult the kind and loving hosts and hostesses. They were working so hard and going out of their way to make us feel comfortable. It would have been very rude to start lecturing them about the plastics in their life.

Plastic Pollution on the Caspian sea shore.
Every single small thing they bought was placed in a small plastic bag. The bags were too small to be reused for anything else. Bottled water were used everywhere and tons of them were found in the garbage cans around Tehran( The huge capital with population of 14 million). When we ordered some Kebab ( The most beloved Persian food) they were delivered in individual Un-recyclable packages along with every thing else, all individually packed in plastic. Even the Lavash bread ( a flat and thin bread) for each meal was packed individually in plastic.

Later on, when we took a trip to the north of Iran next to the Caspian see, i was very sad to see that there were barely any sea shells left and the beautiful beach was filled with plastic trash. I remember as a kid that this shore was packed with beautiful shells and we collected just a few very unique ones to bring home with us. In this trip, we had to look hard and long to find only a few lone shells trying to compete with trash.

All i could do was, under curious eyes of the locals, start gathering the big plastic water bottles and bring them in one place away from the water. I couldn't find any recycling bin anywhere. But in town, there were lots of trash cans to prevent littering.  I was told that the trash gets separated by the waste district and is being recycled. I am not sure how much of it i believe.

On a positive note, here is what i accomplished while there.

. I informed my family about the great pacific and other ocean's garbage patches.

. I showed the pictures of animals dying wrapped in plastic and educated my family.

. My father requested no disposable plastic forks and spoons upon ordering some food for one of our gatherings. We just used the ones he had at home. He smiled and said he did it to make me happy :) ( Boy, I love this man).

. My wonderful brother In-law and his sweet and lovely wife started composting in their back yard. That reduces their need to use trash bags to discard the Biodegradable waste. It also will help their garden to grow better and hopefully will reduce the need for them to buy some vegetables wrapped in plastic.

. Did make some home made tooth paste with my lovely sister In-Law and showed her how Baking soda and vinegar cleans almost everything.

. Did talked to the shop owners that gave me shocked looks when i asked them for NO plastic bags. They all looked very interested in the idea and were unhappy about all the waste that has been created. They said that it is a first that a customer is asking for No plastic.

Now there were tons of good memories and small acts of kindnesses that impressed me enormously. With all the big hearts and caring personalities i saw there, I have very high hopes that some day people will realize the damage the new so called progress is causing to the nature and will act upon it.

What have you done for our nature so far this summer?



  1. Looks like you've awakened a second green movement ;-)

  2. Glad to see you back. This summer my personal campaign against disposable plates and cups has started to be taken seriously. At 2 events, the hosts have said to me that they were using their regular dinnerware because I was coming. Hopefully they are keeping this up when I am not around!!

    And honestly, I don't complain about the disposables while I am a guest at someone's home. I just don't use them during my own gatherings, and if asked, explain how strongly I feel about the waste that is created.

    I also want to thank you for your previous post where you mention asking for a "for here cup" while out for coffee. I have started asking, and I have gotten a ceramic mug every time!

    1. Thank you Abe for your kind comment. This is wonderful that you started this campaign. People like you are the reason for all the good changes around us. I am proud of you.

      I am glad you are getting your coffee in ceramic mugs. Don't they taste better in there?

      I truly enjoy reading your comments. Please keep writing and let me know if you have any ideas you want to share with our readers.

      Thank again