It’s a new year! It’s time to ditch old habits that harm the environment. Here are a few pointers to get your sustainable 2021 started. Every little bit you do, counts. So, don’t be disheartened or give up if you can’t follow all the tips. Following just a few steps will also make a difference to the planet.
Bye 2020, bye-bye single-use plastic
Every piece of plastic manufactured is still there on this planet. Living with less plastic is easier than you think. With the right mindset, you can even inspire those around you and be a trendsetter. Choose a fashionable, thick reusable bag for your groceries and carry it wherever you go. Plastic bags for shopping are so 2010. We’re a decade ahead; are you?
Also, spend some time and shop for a funky bottle and avoid buying single-use bottles for water. Alternatives to plastic toothbrushes, cosmetics with plastics, home products with chemicals and plastics are slowly becoming available in different cities. Eco-friendly DIYs for home cleaning products are taking over the internet. Shopping from brands that encourage refilling of shampoo containers and other cleaning liquids is a green step ahead. Try to shop at ethical organic shops whenever possible and avoid shops that wrap vegetables and fruits in plastic. Alternatives are everywhere, if we just take the time to look.
Rethink travel options
Be it for vacations or regular commute to work, our travel choice is something we need to reassess. Choose public transport, car-pooling and cycling to travel within your city. With the Covid-19 situation being unstable and unpredictable, we can’t be sure when travel will become normal again. But when destinations start opening up fully, we need to rethink how we get to different destinations for our vacations too. Slow and sustainable travel is the mandate. Make a positive/ zero impact on the planet when you travel. Walking in the parks and playing a sport with friends will improve your health and have minimal impact on the planet.
Pass it on or upcycle
The things that we throw out generally tend to have a lot more life left. If they are in a good condition, it is always good to pass it on to someone who can use them. If they cannot be reused, the best thing to do is to get creative and upcycle it. The internet is full of DIY ideas for different types of products that can be upcycled. Don’t let your waste sit in a landfill and produce harmful gases. Convert your glass jars and buckets into plant holders, old tyres into seaters, sarees into kurtas, shirts into tote bags and so much more. Reimagine your product into something more useful and beautiful. Get creative and make it your monthly hobby!
Separate your waste and practice composting
Separating biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste is extremely important. Handover e-waste to companies that work on recycling them. Plastic and other waste should not mix with food waste. Work on composting the food and organic waste. The benefits are varied — composting enriches the soil, helps the plants to grow without the need for chemical fertilizers, reduces landfill waste and is therefore good for the environment. Yes, it does take time, but it is worth it. Get dirty and make the surrounding more beautiful. In that soil, even if you don’t have much space to grow native trees, try setting up a small kitchen garden for your vegetables. There is nothing better than the satisfaction of eating vegetables grown in your own garden.
Volunteer for the planet
Around you are several NGOs working for the cause of the environment. Volunteer for them. Clean up public spaces, plant trees and maintain them and spread awareness. It may not be your trash, but it is your planet. If you can’t volunteer with an organisation, you can even do plogging (collecting plastic trash as you job/ walk). Take responsibility in reducing human impact on this planet and make your locality more habitable. You will be doing a huge favour for the humans around you and the planet.
Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right! _Henry Ford.
So, think that you can. Although these take efforts, it is good for the environment and it makes you feel good to know that you are making a difference!