Daily Dump Composting Champion's tips for a sustainable everyday routine
(Niranjana Venkatakrishnan is a keen composting champion and Daily Dump customer who wrote in to us from Chennai, with her inspiring words for the New Year)
Hi All, Niranjana here. Wish you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year 2022. On this wonderful day I wish to share few of my thoughts with you all, for which I request you to spare some of your time and read. This is about the survival of humanity for generations to come...
Nobody can follow everything 100% at all times, but it is high time that we all start taking baby steps to change our lifestyle for the better. In our busy daily routine, we should try to lead a simple and conscious life, knowing what you use and dispose as consumers is the only solution to protect our mother nature. Let us all march towards sustainable development – each of our simple act will have a huge impact. Let us reduce our burden on mother nature, only collective action from the government and being a responsible citizen can bring about a change. I feel the purpose of education is fruitful only when we apply the things we read into practise.
I am sharing the small steps that I have started incorporating in my day to day life. I still have a long way to go… The points that I am to discuss is known by all. I just wish to consolidate and reiterate the things that as a commoner we all can imbibe as part of our routine life. If you are interested kindly watch the below video.
- Using bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic toothbrush. Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth. Tooth paste is made by pressing plastic and aluminium together, hence it is difficult to recycle it. There are videos which tells how to make DIY toothpaste or you can buy products which sell paste in recyclable glass containers. E.g. an eco-start up called reearth.
- Don’t cut the triangular part separately while cutting the milk packet or any other plastic packets. These small pieces will not be recycled and disintegrate into micro plastics which enter water bodies and landfills by rain and wind that leads to clogging. Clean and dry your milk packets and then send it for recycling.
- Paper is largely used in schools, colleges and office. Try to minimize the use of tissue paper, toilet paper, A4 paper. Go for recycled paper / newspapers. Old clothes can be used for cleaning purposes.
- Nowadays to ensure the water we drink is safe all the homes have a Reverse Osmosis RO purifiers installed. For every litre of portable water produced, the RO purifier dumps 3 – 4 litres of waste water. I use this waste water to mop my floors, to clean bathrooms/restrooms, vehicle wash etc.… Please don’t waste precious water.
- We currently have a lot of cleaners at home – For Kitchen, bathroom, mirror, floor mopping, dishwashing etc.… resulting in the frothing of the lakes. Most of them do not disclose their ingredients, they are loaded with chemicals and all come in plastic bottles. I have started making my own All-purpose cleaner at home called Bio enzymes. It is made using simple ingredients at home – Citrus fruit peels, jaggery and water in the ratio of 3:1:10 using fermentation process in a plastic container. They can also be made from flower petals and be used as room freshener. It gets ready in 3 months’ time, has no expiry date and acts as an effective cleaner.
- I have started using Indian soap berries called soap nuts instead of the synthetic detergents. As it is natural, it is really good for sensitive and delicate skin. Do check out videos on Down to Earth YouTube channel where they tell how to make floor cleaner, dishwashing liquid, body/hair/face wash and shaving cream using soapnuts. Now all my plastic containers have been reused for storing bioenzymes and soapnut liquid.
- Plastic scrubbers leak micro plastics into the sewage system and even kitchen utensils. Go for coconut coir scrubber.
- I have started composting at my home to avoid organic waste from being dumped to the landfill and it hardly takes 10 minutes of your day. Time spent in cell phone is well spent doing composting and the resultant is black gold rich in nutrients. It is definitely a responsibility and you need to allot some of your time to do it systematically. 60 to 80% of a typical Indian’s waste is organic which can be degraded into compost under the right conditions. When organic waste gets decomposed in an anaerobic way i.e. lack of oxygen, it generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2. Even though I don’t have any garden space, I plan to gift it to anyone who needs it or just sprinkle compost over the trees in the neighbourhood or park. The rest of the waste is given to the nearby scrap dealer. The better we segregate, more equitable and healthy our society can become. There are many organizations which support and make composting easier. The idea is to make the public self-reliant through Compost -> Grow -> Cook methodology. Check out videos by Vani Murthy mam, Daily dump, Trust basket, Namma Ooru foundation in Chennai etc.
- Once we have started dividing our waste properly, we can ditch the black plastic bags too. Have started making DIY newspaper garbage bags to have all the dry waste collected while the wet waste goes to the compost bin.
- I always carry cloth and paper bags while going shopping or to the market. I have learnt to refuse and say NO to plastic bags. I have reused the honey glass bottles at home to keep nuts, dry fruits etc.… I have started buying the provisions for my home from nearby store in my own containers resulting in zero plastic packaging.
- I use reusable cloth mask instead of disposable masks. If there is a will, there is way.
End of my talk, new beginning for us all to contribute!
If we re-examine our every step, I am sure we will reduce our waste and carbon footprint. Everything is limited. Think before you buy, think before you throw, use energy in an efficient and conscious manner. We all need to switch from linear to Circular economy i.e. replace the end-of-life concept with restoration, shift towards the use of renewable energy, eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and aim for the reduction of waste. Let us all be part of the solution and not pollution. Nature does not generate any waste. Everything has been designed in such a way that one organism’s waste becomes useful input to another. It is we humans who with the creation of synthetic materials have broken this natural, cyclic harmony. We all need awareness of what you produce, what you use and what you dispose. My idea of Smart home is not only automation, enabling it with the latest gadgets, internet of things enabled, machine learning etc.… but also self-sufficient home. Affectionately called Solar Suresh from Chennai built a house that harvests rain water, produces solar energy, organic food and biogas without depending on others. I really wish the apartments, flats, malls, big companies/institutions that are coming up have the above features incorporated. This explains another Gandhian ideology – Not mass production but distributed production by masses is required which leads to equality, more jobs and local sustainability. We need to try and make our system decentralized managing our energy needs and processing our waste. This in turn reduces transportation and making costs as well.
We call nature as mother as it is life-giving and nurturing us. Even though we humans, have been exploiting the natural resources, nature has always been in the giving end. There are lot more factors I may have missed, do share your thoughts and insights as well. If you are able to relate with my talk and really feel that as a society we need to follow some simple steps, change our lifestyle and act more proactively, please share this message to all your family members, friends, relatives, children’s and spread the powerful message of being in sync with nature.. The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. It might be difficult to convince your family, friends and others and make everyone follow, but let us sow the seed now to have a better future.
Nature we are destroying is same as the God we all are worshipping is a famous quote by Hubert Reeves, astrophysicist. For Nature to Save Humankind, we need to save nature.
THANK YOU !!!
Read the other posts with Niranjana's suggestions: