Let’s face it; our current consumption patterns are generating piles and piles of trash! And that trash simply goes into a landfill, is destroyed in an incinerator, or dumped into the ocean. Over-consumption, plastic packaging, disposables culture, choosing quantity over quality, and many such practices have led to over-utilization of natural resources, pollution, and mountains of rubbish.
In contrast, the Zero Waste lifestyle works to replace everything from food packaging to hygiene products to clothing with more sustainable, plastic-free alternatives and ultimately send zero trash to the landfill, incinerator, or ocean. Such a lifestyle conserves resources and minimizes pollution. Living zero-waste is an essential step in addressing waste and plastic pollution, and it goes hand in hand with other values that form the basis of sustainable living.
Here are some tips to kick start your journey towards being Zero-waste: –
Eat Me First
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that more than 40 per cent of food produced is wasted in India, costing up to 14 Billion USD every year. Additionally, the FAO also estimates that 189.2 million people suffer undernourishment in India. Thus, it is vital for the people and the environment that we reduce the food wasted in our households.
We estimate that adding an “EAT FIRST” box to your fridge, which contains all the items close to their expiry, will help you avoid wasting any food.
We know the menace of single-use plastics, and we try to replace them with sustainable, reusable options. But what about single-use paper products? For example, kitchen rolls, paper napkins, etc. Even though some single-use paper goods are biodegradable — unlike plastic — the processes of growing and manufacturing these products use far more resources than we might think.
Cloth based products are eco-friendly and also pocket friendly. For instance, switching from Kitchen rolls to microfibre cloths can help you save a lot of energy and resources. Other examples are cotton napkins instead of cocktail napkins, linen bread bag instead of plastic cover for bread.
Switch to Natural Cleaning Tools
Current cleaning tools are filled with germs, made with tons of toxins and chemicals that will leak into our environment once disposed of. Switching to plant-based cleaning tools can be a natural, compostable, and biodegradable switch in your home. These tools are made with materials like coconut and bamboo, which are anti-microbial and don’t allow germs to stay to create a health menace. Due to their material, they are all surface friendly and remove baked-on grease smoothly.
Few bio-degradable cleaning tools you can try today are tools like kitchen scrubs, bottle cleaning brush, broom, toilet brush, floor/laundry scrubber etc., made from coconut coir and bamboo.
Zero waste waxing or shaving
Hair removal through waxing or shaving can cause tremendous amounts of plastic waste. Single-use cloth and paper strips, countless wooden applicators, plastic razors and, of course, the very-difficult-to-decompose wax all add up to a lot of waste reaching the landfill.
Using epilators, reusable metal safety razors, reusable wax strips and replacing wax with natural elements such as sugaring paste can reduce the waste and pollutants released into the environment. For instance, Epilators require an initial investment but, over time, become extremely cost-friendly as you can use them yourself staying at home.
Composting is an easy microbial process that converts organic materials such as food waste and leaves to a more usable organic mulch. This mulch contains large amounts of nutrients and can be used as a fertilizer.
How can you compost at home?
Step 1 – Segregate all the organic waste produced at-home – food waste, paper and other certified compostable items.
Step 2 – Set up a compost bin. It can be made at home using mud pots or can be bought. The waste is required to be moist and needs ventilation.
Step 3 – Add the waste to the bin and wait!
Then simply add the mulch to your plants or trees around your neighbourhood. This way you are not only reducing waste reaching the landfills but also enhancing the growth of plants around you.
Tip: Going Zero-waste can be over-whelming because of several reasons. Sometimes you may not find alternatives easily or your environment is not conducive. Don’t lose hope and realise that it is a journey.
So let’s join hands towards our journey of zero-waste to make Earth a better place for tomorrow!