Leading the Way in Sustainability: Generating Zero-Waste

Climate change is no longer a buzzword for politicians. It is real. The planet as we know it is changing. The environment is creaking and falling apart after decades of abuse. Everyone has the right to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.

Increasingly, clean air, clean water, and health are the hardest to find. There is still no app that can miraculously generate clean air or water. Satya Murthy, an environment blogger, feels that India’s battle with drought in recent years has been exacerbated by a lacklustre approach to environment management. “Consider our garbage disposal,” he says. “It’s practically non-existent. A city like Bangalore with all the tech start-ups has not been able to solve its chronic waste problem.”

The environment, lifestyle, climate, animal life and the entire rhythm between nature and humankind is being disrupted. India needs to find multiple uses for waste and innovate on ways to restore the natural balance. But where does waste management all begin? In our own homes. By creating zero waste homes, we not only to make our own lives better but we also contribute to a cleaner and healthier ecosystem. Here are some of the ways in which we can have an efficient waste disposal system and create more efficient homes.

Turn your kitchen waste into compost

A few years ago, composting waste was an alien and even laughable concept in India. Today, it has become almost the norm. Composting kitchen waste has taken off in a big way thanks to the many options available that make it very convenient for people to dispose of their waste.

Special composting bins that break down organic and wet waste are easy to install indoors or outdoors. These bins convert waste into compost that is rich in nutrients, which can be used as manure for plants. Many house owners and even apartment owners follow this model and have their own kitchen garden. Regular composting can bring down waste generation by a family of four from as much as a 1000 kgs to a mere 100 kgs.

Keep a recycling bin

Plastic consumption per capita in India is a tenth of what the US consumes. And while recycling in India is higher than the average global rate, which stands at 14%, the problem of plastic waste is still a cause for worry. There are many ways in which you and your home can contribute to reducing waste. Have a recycling bin and separate recyclable waste consciously, particularly plastic. Carry a reusable shopping bag or a backpack for carrying groceries home. And, practical but not impossible, carry your own containers when going to a restaurant for takeaways or leftovers.

Say no to plastic bottles

Reduce the use of plastic bottles and use steel, glass or copper containers instead at home. Use lightweight aluminium bottles to carry water on the go and refill them wherever possible. Recycle rinse water from washing clothes or utensils and use it for cleaning toilets or mopping floors. Water that’s used for washing vegetables or other food items can be reused to water plants.

While these are some of the more common eco-friendly waste disposal methods followed today, the more conscious among us have many more options. Here are a few ideas for those who want to go one step further and give a deeper meaning to a zero waste lifestyle.

Go the extra mile

Avoid buying tonnes of cleaning products and rely on homemade solutions. A combination of baking soda, vinegar, lime and sugar or crystallised salt can clean most surfaces very effectively.

Make your own cosmetics. Again, baking soda and vinegar make for a good shampoo (smell-free, of course), mixing Vaseline and aloe gel together gives you a great moisturiser.

Car pool to work and reduce petrol wastage as much as possible. Not only is it fun and eco-friendly but also a great way to save money on petrol. When going grocery shopping try and walk the distance or use bicycles. Worried about carrying bags back? Take a backpack and save your arms the strain.

When buying clothes or furnishing for the house ensure that you pick cotton, jute or other materials that are biodegradable as opposed to manmade fabrics like polyester or acrylic.

The solution to waste rests in reducing the volume and the toxicity of our garbage. Zero waste aims for the elimination of, rather than simply the “management” of waste. Small steps like these can make India breathe easier.


This article was originally published on www.thehindu.com dated July 08,2017

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