Do you know, on average a plastic bag is used for only 25 minutes, it takes between 100 and 500 years for a plastic bag to disintegrate, a whopping one million plastic bags are used around the world every minute and 80% of marine litter is plastic! An adult consumes between 126 and 142 tiny particles of plastic every day and inhales another 132-170 plastic bits daily too. This means that the problem of plastic isn’t limited to just destroying the earth but human health as well. Thus, finding a way to live with zero waste should be our foremost responsibility.
As it is totally impossible for a person to go zero waste all at once, starting bit by bit can help one reach the target of a green lifestyle. Here we tried to compose easy tips for going zero waste for the beginners. You might not implement it all at once but you can definitely kick start the process.
Eco-Friendly zero waste tips
There are a lot of things super easy to start with but it would take a proportion of your commitment to stay loyal through the process. Going green is a journey that needs to be enjoyed not overburdened, take your time and love the process.
No straw in your drink order– Do you know almost 500 million straws are consumed each day! Around 4.4 billion straws are thrown away every year in the UK alone. An estimated 7.5 million straws pollute US coastlines & between 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on coastlines around the world. Plastic straws make up about 1% of the plastic waste in the sea. This way, a small cutlery made out of plastic is a giant burden on the earth. So, next time you go out for drinks, make sure to use eco-friendly straws or no straws at all.
Use handkerchiefs and Ditch tissues– Indian paper industry imports about 4 million tonnes of waste paper annually which is 57% of its raw material requirements. On average, more than 34.7 million tissues are consumed by citizens each day. Paper waste is a severe issue that needs to be addressed, as it may comprise up to 70% of a company’s total waste. Using handkerchiefs is much better than wasting tissues and carrying them will not cause any additional burden.
Support the second-hand market– Always try to donate unused items in good condition. Supporting a second-hand market will help reduce new plastic waste firsthand. And perhaps one of the most well-known benefits of buying second-hand is indeed the cost-cut. You can afford the same product at a comparatively less rate as second-hand goods are up to 50% cheaper. Pre-owned clothes in our wardrobe mean saving 100% resources used in the manufacturing process and making sure to save much money in the long run.
Turn old sheets into masterpieces– YouTube is flooded with thousands of DIY videos to reuse old sheets in a much better and convenient way. You can cut them into handkerchiefs, rags, napkins to even cloth bags. You can knot up a boho-style braid to make a brand new rag for your home. If you are too tired to do anything, you can also use them for mopping or cleaning. Create new clothes for pets, make a wall hanging, create an apron or make towels out of old sheets.
Purchase items without plastic wrapping– The problem with plastic packing is that it is too much! You enter a supermarket and as wide as your eyes follow all you can see are items wrapped beautifully in tons of plastic. This plastic waste can take up to 1,000 years to degrade naturally. They end up in oceans, jungles and destroy our biodiversity. So, it is much better to avoid purchasing items packed in plastic. Visit your old neighborhood farmer’s market while carrying a cloth bag along and buy fresh produce at a much less price than the supermarkets. Save money and nature!
Ditch disposable pads and tampons for cloth pads– About 12.3 billion or 113,000 tonnes of used pads are dumped in landfills in India every day. Most tampons contain harmful chemicals like dioxin, chlorine, and rayon that can have detrimental effects on the environment. These chemicals are soaked up by the ground and are further released as pollution into groundwater. So switching to cloth pads or menstrual cups is much better than regular sanitary pads or tampons. They are more comfortable, cheaper, and eco-friendly.
Plan Meals and avoid food waste– Do you know India harvested a record of 284.8 million tonnes of food grains in 2018, and surprisingly, we wasted up to 40% of it! So what happened as a consequence was that the basic human need ‘food’ became a luxury. According to FAO estimates in ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2019′ report, 194.4 million people are undernourished in India. By this measure, 14.5% of the population is undernourished in India. Thus, it is extremely important for us to reuse our leftover food, which cannot be learned better than Indian mothers. They can reuse simply everything! Even the rotten can be DIY for other functional purposes. Apart from this, plan your meal for the entire week all at once so that you won’t end up buying extra food. Order as much as you need, don’t crave over varieties.
Plant a small home garden– Gardening is an excellent way of building strength, promoting sleep, improving air quality, and having fresh produce! There are hundreds of benefits of having a home garden, you can eat fresh fruits and vegetables, provide shelter to insects, and promote better mental health. Gardening also offers moderate outdoor exercises for relaxing and stress-relieving.
Use public transport: Always prefer walking small distances than any form of transport at all! And for long routes switch to public transports like buses and metros. The first benefit included no worries about parking space, reducing petrol or diesel cost, reducing congestion in cities and greenhouse gases. Public transport also gives opportunities to meet new people and get a chance to interact with people of different cultures and religions. One of the major benefits of using public transport is that you’ll reduce the need for fossil fuels and the depletion of natural resources.
Eat more vegetables and try to cut on meat– Do you know that meat makes almost 14% of all man-made greenhouse gases. Livestock releases gases like methane which is up to 34 times more damaging to the environment over 100 years than CO2 combined. With issues like climate change on the rise, we need to rethink our diet and go meat-free. Unfortunately, the appetite for meat is on the rise as people around the world are making meat more affordable than ever. Today meat is cheaper than organic vegetables and fruits. Thus, we need assistance from everyone to do their bit in reducing unnecessary carbon footprints.