A guest post
My personal journey
While working a full time job in Mumbai, I used to listen to financial podcasts on saving money and living frugally. I was interested in minimalism and the internet rabbit hole led me to related videos on zero waste. I came across videos of Lauren Singer storing her years of trash in a tiny mason jar. It was not an immediate switch for me but it did get me start noticing the needless waste I created just by virtue of laziness (think take-away containers , junk food addiction and such).
In April 2018, it eventually reached a point where it got too annoying so I made a conscious attempt to go zero waste. My goal to quit all kinds of single use plastic was unfortunately not very realistic as many basic necessity items still come packaged and the system has not adapted to consumers like me. But I did take these steps to reach where I am today:
👍My attempt to cut down disposable packaging did make a huge difference in reducing the waste that left our house.
👍I jumped into experimenting with composting in my tiny Mumbai apartment, and eventually got it right after a few failed attempts.
👍I explored products that came in low waste packaging like shampoo bars.
👍I started reducing my needs for shopping impulsively.
👍I did promise myself that, whatever happens, sustainable living should not get more expensive as a lifestyle for me.
👍Once I started asking myself where these products come from or go after use, it opened me to a holistic perspective on sustainable living.
In my search, I realised that many others were also interested in making lifestyle changes but did not have easy access to local, sustainable brands and resources to know how to get started. Today, I have created a website and a range of initiatives as a safe space for non-judgemental guidance on sustainability and to make access to sustainable services, brands, and products as easy as possible for those who are introduced to the concept of a zero-waste lifestyle. I always encourage the lazy approach to sustainability since I believe the majority of us are like that!
I also admire any brand that takes the effort to reach out to a customer who may have apprehensions on making the changes. Daily Dump has done a great job at making the process of composting look like a very doable experiment that anyone can pull off as long as they have the right tools, ingredients, and manual. We cannot expect everyone to magically get over their years of conditioning to be afraid of pests, or the idea of wet rotting kitchen waste. But Daily Dump has efficiently created products that reduce this beginner fear that most people have.
Today, rather than the challenges presented by COVID 19, I think we should embrace the positives that have come out of this situation. For instance, the idea of working from home, encouraging local business and destinations, home cooking, and making things at home.Now, the concept of slow living does not seem as absurd to the present generation! As a sustainable business, I believe we should encourage this new mind-set. While keeping in mind people’s heightened concerns of safety and hygiene concerns, we should also find ways to educate and assure people that reusability is possible in a safe and hygienic way.
I believe that both individual and collective action is necessary if we want to create community level impact.
Mrudula is the founder of Ullisu, a resource platform that helps consult and guide people to live more sustainably. Think of her like a gym trainer for those with goals to reduce their impact and increase the fitness of the planet!