Let me introduce you to Puja, she is a regular girl who loves nature & animal. Though she’s employed in a 9-6 job her life isn’t mundane but rather an interesting story to be read.
A story where she started living a zero/low waste life in Goa.
It’s not easy and it certainly takes months even a few years but once you know why you’re doing it, It becomes your way of thinking and reflects in your values in life. I used to be all this, environmentally conscious, nature and animal loving person until I saw a video of Vox with Lauren Singer, on YouTube in which she collected all her trash of 4 years in a mason jar!! I realized my efforts weren’t really doing much.
Learning about zero waste really fired things up!!It basically changed the way I look at trash. Most of it went in landfills.
Only a few years ago, in the city where I live they started composting and recycling. Whatever isn’t recyclable goes 4 incineration. But it’s still tonnes of city garbage! So I decided on learning zero waste. We used to compost since childhood so had no problems with that. Which is just dumping kitchen waste into a pot and covering it with mud which is kept in sunlight.
The Next big issue was consumption in plastic bottles for personal care that’s Shampoos, conditioners, body washes, face washes, hand washes, lotions, sunscreens everything!!!! Imagine how your yearly consumption looks like and without cleaning the bottle, there’s little chance of it being recycled. It mostly ends in dumps and landfills.
It’s estimated that by 2050, earth will be 4 degrees warmer, which won’t seem much but there will be extinction of a lot of marine life; plant life. Life will be difficult and it will be harder to grow basic crops, less production of food! This will in turn be harder to feed animals like cows, buffaloes and goats..
Point to remember here is we are probably the last generation who can halt this.
I needed a way to do at least my part, products containing sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate are bad for you and the environment too. So I researched and found recipes online for making a few those things! You can find too.
Then I decided to buy a few items to make soaps which were pretty easy.
Then I tried a shampoo, (trial n error) Which was herbal and definitely gave better results than store bought shampoos! Recently I made a conditioner too. Slowly I plan to expand into more personal care like lotions and sun-screams. (Tip: Buy natural sunscreens based with zinc oxide, not using sunscreens will cause tanning and sunburns but doesn’t cause skin cancer as previously claimed) Currently I use organic n locally made coconut oil for moisturising. For household cleaning I use baking soda, vinegar and ca-stile soap. It will bring down your waste considerably. There are many options available now. You can choose from a wide range of items to get low waste at least in certain areas if not a complete zero waste as many things required to make the switch are still not available in India. I have made all the switches listed below over the last 6 months and continuously learning more.
* I stopped using disposable plastics, carry my own bottle of water, although those packaged bottles are recyclable there are still mountains of bottles already waiting to get recycled which probably will never get recycled.
* Since they started manufacturing plastic toothbrushes which take hundreds of years to degrade, so the first plastic toothbrush ever (plastic ones invented in 1938) must be still out there. And now imagine the population that uses toothbrushes. A billion toothbrushes are dumped into the environment every year!!
Switch to using biodegradable Bamboo toothbrushes.
Another major cause of pollution is fast fashion. I stopped buying trendy clothes that are low quality.. Piles of unsold low quality stuff is burnt or it ends in landfills every year.. Please stop buying from fast fashion brands. They may have started fooling consumers that they recycle old clothing; but that doesn’t match even 1% of their production rate. Tonnes of the clothing which goes for recycling or to be sold as second hand is simply of very low quality which ends in dumps and bonfires.
Many zero waste activists suggest buying clothes second hand or go for high quality stuff that can be used for years.
I have been using a reusable travel mug. If you like having tea/coffee outside do consider. (Those paper cups are usually a mix of paper and plastic which is not recyclable).
Switch to rechargeable batteries; investing in them saves a lot of toxic waste and saves your money in the long run.
Eating more fresh foods than buying packaged foods from supermarkets. Buy fruits and vegetables from local vendors, rather than buying from the freezer section which are wrapped in plastic.
Start carrying your own metal/glass straws as plastic ones end up in water ways endangering animals. (have you watched the turtle with a straw stuck in the nose?) https://www.
plasticpollutioncoalition.org/ pft/2015/10/27/the-turtle- that-became-the-anti-plastic- straw-poster-child. Some companies now serve paper straws.
Consider switching to safety razors or at least the others that require changing blades but not disposable ones. A single woman has about 500 menstrual cycles in her lifetime which comes to 10000-15000 sanitary pads. Now imagine the population. Besides each pad takes about 800 years to degrade!! Its very convenient during travel. I highly recommend using a reusable menstrual cup or there are period panties and reusable pads.
I have been rinsing my used containers to recycle them. It’s better to choose glass or metals over plastic. Reuse as much as you can. Buy less stuff, buy second hand.
We need to change our buying habits. Overall just stay more conscious.
2050 isn’t far for this generation, its about 30 -31 years from 2019, do research on Kiribati. It’s a poor country which is facing a severe threat with rising sea levels and will be wiped off the maps soon. https://www.
washingtonpost.com/news/ theworldpost/wp/2018/10/24/ kiribati/?noredirect=on&utm_ term=.c5cc30c773e8
Climate change has started, but our generation can reduce the impact of climate change. A few Companies have started making the switch to a more sustainable packaging but a lot more efforts are required. Unless we demand a change, they won’t!
Do your part regardless of the environmental and Government policies. But demand a change in ways and habits and education.
If each human planted a tree, we would make the planet so much greener. It’s said, best time to plant was 20 years ago and next best time is now!
Video by Vox with Lauren singer that changed it for me. https://youtube.com/watch?v=
A bag full of awareness is what I have gasped from Puja. She is doing her part, I am not yet started but surely this has inspired me. I hope to start my tiny bit soon. Are you doing anything similar? Please do write to me.
From a healthier plant hopefully sometime soon