“There are a thousand entry points into the sustainability conversation. Whether it be food, electric vehicles, plastic bags, or pollution, people can start to think about their waste and take individual action that can lead to policy change.”
Senator Mona Das first started her sustainability journey when she lived in Ireland for a year in 2003. She remembers the first time she went to the grocery store and was stunned that she had to pay five cents for a plastic bag. That was the first and last time Sen. Das paid for a bag. Her recycling journey didn’t end there. When she was in grad school, she had the opportunity to go to Cuba, and she was astonished by the resourcefulness of the country facing an embargo. From her experiences abroad, she learned how scarcity can fuel innovation, and it really made her think about her own output of waste.
Senator Das has now become the plastics warrior of the Senate, taking her reusable water bottle wherever she goes, and traveling in her electric car.
When it comes to sustainability legislation, Sen. Das has led the fight against plastics with her sponsorship of Senate Bill 5022. She believes that in her fight against plastic, systemic change occurs through a top down, bottom up approach. It first starts with people’s individual action, making those small changes in their daily lives to reduce their waste that build momentum for systemic change.