New Delhi: We live in a country of growing garbage mountains, all our major landfills like Deonar in Mumbai, Kodungaiyur in Chennai and Dhapa in Kolkata, to name a few, are already functioning way-past their capacity and are over-flowing dreadfully. Not to forget Delhi’s 80-feet high Ghazipur landfill which collapsed recently leaving two people dead and several injured. It is a well established fact that India has serious waste management issues and garbage is growing at a dangerous scale, but the question is how can lifestyles be altered to adopt zero waste sustainable living?
36-year-old, Deepa, a sustainable lifestyle coach from Delhi, who left her corporate job and adopted 5 Rs — Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot as her life’s mantra. Today, she is helping communities and individuals live a zero waste lifestyle by mentoring them on how can they declutter their homes and live a green lifestyle.
Use what you have, borrow, swap, thrift, make and, if nothing else works, only then buy, I have been living on this rule for past many years now, says Deepa.
Here are some simple suggestions from Deepa to help you live a more sustainable life:
1. Know How To Manage Your Dustbin: Have you ever given it a thought what happens to the waste you throw in your bin? No, right? In India, we generate around 62 million tonnes of garbage annually out of which 45 million tonnes of garbage remains untreated that is a whopping 75%. Most of this waste ends up going to the already dying landfills without any treatment.
Deepa says, reducing waste is a simple phenomenon, when you watch what goes inside the bin, you will find ways to reduce, reuse and recycling. There are many ways to reduce waste, I treat all the kitchen waste at my place via home composter, the manure I get is used in my terrace vegetable garden. I have replaced my sanitary napkins with menstrual cups. Newspapers from my home are donated to a local animal shelter, E-waste goes to an E-waste recycler. What I did is simple, I stopped blaming the authorities for ineffective waste management, I chose to become the solution. Anyone can do the same and make a huge difference.
2. Stop Shopping And Start Decluttering: It is very important the difference between ‘Need’ and ‘Want,’ Deepa adds, “Everyone in my house depends on second hand clothes, I buy these clothes from thrift shops, there is one in Lajpat Nagar. It feels amazing to consume what is already there and discarded by others, you feel that you are giving a new life to discarded things thereby putting less pressure on the planet and its resources. If I can sustain a lifestyle without buying new clothes then anyone can. There are many options in the market, one just needs a right direction.
3. Watch Your Plastic Consumption: The world consumes around 1 million plastic shopping bags every minute and India’s plastics consumption is one of the highest in the world. India generates around 56 lakh tonnes of plastic waste annually. But, there are ways on how a conscious citizen can change this statistic.
How difficult it can be to carry a cloth bag or a jute bag every time we go out of home to buy something. Why there is a need to depend on poly bags, we as citizens can take this one step to save the planet. Can’t we? Coming to disposable plastics, why can’t we carry our own cutlery, next time when you go out to sip that chai, take your glass along. The steps are simple, it’s all about changing the old habits, said Deepa.
A few more easy tips that one can follow on day-to-day basis:
– Even water wastage is waste of resource, collect the water thrown out by the RO/ water filter and use it for watering the plants, to mop the floor or wash utensils
– Don’t buy plastic mineral water bottles, instead carry your own water bottle
– Swap paper bills with online payments
– Replace paper napkins with cloth
Living a sustainable life is not difficult, it just requires patience and change of habits, signs of Deepa.
Our country’s waste footprint is growing each passing day. According to a World Bank 2015 report, India produces 109,589 tonnes of municipal solid waste a day and it is expected to triple to 376,639 tonnes a day by 2025. So the need of the hour is leading a zero waste lifestyle.