7 SIMPLE WAYS OF BEING A SUSTAINABILITY HERO
Being more sustainable in our daily practices is not so complicated if you think about it. A few simple changes might require a little extra effort initially, but once they become part of our routine, it just becomes the way we live our life! Let us look at 7 extremely simple ways by which we can be more sustainable in our daily life.
1) SWITCH OUT SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER BOTTLES WITH BARS
Plastic is all over our bathroom cabinets. From shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste tubes, body washes, face washes, scrubs, moisturizers, oils – everything comes in plastic bottles. While some plastics like toothpaste tubes are difficult to avoid, some others, like bottled shampoo, conditioners, soaps can easily be switched out for plastic-free solid bars.
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are as nourishing for your hair as they are for the earth. The natural ingredients that go into plastic free shampoo and conditioner bars are far less refined and treated than those in typical bottles. Added to that, bottled shampoos are 80-90% water. That means you’re paying a lot for plain old H20! Whereas solid shampoo and conditioner bars are so much more economical as they’re made from concentrated, active ingredients.
This means that when you switch to a plastic free shampoo bar, you’ll avoid plenty of chemicals, carbon-heavy manufacturing, lesser emissions from transporting the concentrated smaller product (and less water), and you’ll save so much plastic from ending up in a landfill. (Yes, this applies to soaps, facewashes, cleaning agents, etc. as well.)
Some great options in India are
2) WALK or BIKE SHORT DISTANCES, USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT or CARPOOL TO WORK
The less personal use of your car you make, the more you and the environment benefit. It not only reduces pollution and the consumption of natural resources; walking or biking short distances will also improve your health directly, and the improved air quality thanks to it also helps our health indirectly. So go ahead and take on an exploration adventure around you every now and then; you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the new, fun, and pretty things you see on your way and experiences you come across that you would’ve missed had you been in your car!
Even car-pooling assists sustainability as it can provide an increased social outlet that can improve your quality of life. Research confirms that there is a direct connection between your quality of life and the sustainability of life that you choose to lead. Not to mention, the reduced traffic on roads saves us from post-office traffic hour stress and time for all of us!
3) BUY PRODUCTS WITH LESS PACKAGING
Go for minimal packaging can easily be a thumb rule while shopping. When it comes to food, the more the packaging, the higher the shelf life, the more the preservatives, and you guessed it – minimum freshness! Packaging also poses serious health effects through leaching harmful chemicals into our food. Animals often get to these plastics in search of food and choke. If that’s not bad enough, most packaging is single-use plastic, which goes in your dustbin, and from there, it goes to landfills in 90% cases. For non-edibles, excessive packaging is usually even more unnecessary, and easily avoidable. Carrying your own shopping bags for groceries, clothes, etc. can also help reduce a lot of unnecessary waste.
Package free refill stores are making a comeback abroad and in India. Carry your own containers and pay by weight! You get to have reusable containers in your pantry, and you cut out so much waste in the process!
4) GROWING YOUR OWN HERBS
We will need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed a predicted population of over 9 billion people ( source : FAO ). Growing our own food is better for our health as it helps avoid the harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in commercial agriculture. It can also help cut down the grocery bill, but there’s a much greater potential benefit – it can help take the pressure off the overworked global food system so that challenges like an increasing population, and our changing climate can be addressed. Herbs are not only a wonderful addition to meals and drinks, but they are also easy to grow and require comparatively very little space. These can be grown in pots with six hours of bright sunlight, and only need to be watered a few times a week. The easiest herbs to start with (depending on your climate) are basil, oregano, thyme, coriander, mint, and parsley.
5) COMPOSTING KITCHEN WASTE
People are beginning to be conscious of their use of single-use plastics. But we often forget about one of our least sustainable practices – food waste. According to UNEP , approximately one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption (about 1.3 billion tonnes) every year gets lost or wasted. Moreover, non-edible vegetable & fruit peels, eggshells, tea leaves, coffee grounds are all biodegradable, yet they are thrown away into landfills. When organic wastes reach a landfill, they get broken down in the absence of oxygen and release methane which is a harmful greenhouse gas causing global warming.
In this regard, composting is an important approach to process this biodegradable waste
- Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing methane emissions from landfill.
- Composting improves soil quality by increasing the amount of organic matter and micronutrients.
- Many of the micronutrients produced from composting have a pesticide like effect on garden pests.
- Composting is a great way to reduce our waste and live more sustainably.
6) CARRY YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE
Euromonitor’s International Global packaging report in 2016 estimated that the number of plastic bottles consumed in a year in 2021 would be 583.3 billion. THAT’S 66 TIMES MORE BOTTLES PER YEAR ON EARTH THAN HUMANS, which is growing every year, each one remaining on our planet for at least 800 years.
Carrying your own water bottle is the most basic step towards sustainability. Yet it can significantly reduce your plastic footprint. It not only helps you keep track of your daily water intake, but also helps keep those billions of bottles out of landfills. Most places these days have refill stations and if you are stepping out to eat, you can easily ask the restaurant to refill your bottle.
7) REUSABLE SANITARY PADS/MENSTRUAL CUPS
If you are making an eco-friendly switch for your menstruation cycle, you have plenty of options available in the Indian market. Reusable sanitary pads have a fixed number of washes that usually vary from product to product. These pads usually have buttons or Velcro tape on the edges to let you fix the pads firmly and avoid staining. Period underwear is another sustainable option that you could use on its own or paired with your reusable pad for some extra protection.
As for menstrual cups, there for sure is an initial experimental period for the first few cycles, but with time they can surely be a lifesaving product. They are rash-free, dry, pocket-friendly, planet friendly and reusable for up to 10 years! Menstrual cups are available in a range of shapes and sizes based on your requirements, so do keep a look out and your perfect fit might just pop up!
There are countless ways we can make small changes in our everyday practices to be a little more sustainable. But here was our list of starting small with 7 easy ones. What else can we do? Let’s start a conversation in the comments!