We are often bombarded by mainstream media and social media on how our planet is in dire need of help, of how it is on the verge of destruction. A destruction that humankind has brought upon it over the years. We have heard of a severe climate change crisis , icebergs melting, temperatures reaching points like never before in Polar Regions etc. In addition to that, we have also heard of animals being at the verge of extinction due to human intrusion into their natural habitat.
The ultimate need of the hour is for humankind to opt for renewable sources of energy at industrial and corporate levels. However, it is easier said than done. Our world works in complex ways. One can only live in hopes of more renewable sources of energy to be discovered, worked out and adapted eventually.
However, at individual levels there are some ways of life one can adopt in order to have least impact on the environment. Below are some ways and lifestyle changes we can do, in order to live a more aware, sustainable and a life of low environmental impact. With this being said, there is also another point to keep in mind that not everybody can live a completely zero waste life. Sometimes it is just not possible. But every single attempt, every single step counts.
- Cloth bags / Totes for groceries – Every time we go grocery shopping to a large supermarket giant, we end up coming home with at least 5 to 10 single use plastic bags. Sometimes even more. All these bags eventually end up in the landfill, or in some random water body. If we try to replace our grocery shopping with cloth bags as and when possible, we would do a great deal of help to our planet. Of course, it is not possible to get home fish and meat in cloth bags, but whenever and wherever possible let us try to replace single use plastic bags with cloth bags.
- Reusable bags for weighing / pricing vegetables and fruits – A large number of single use plastics get used for weighing and pricing/labelling of vegetables and fruits and once we get home, these bags end up in the trash. These single use bags have served only a matter of few minutes from the veggie/fruit aisles in the supermarkets to our homes. We could replace these by not using bags to weigh veggies and fruits (but some supermarkets may not accept labelling fruits and vegetables without any bags). In such a case, we can use reusable mesh bags to weigh grocery items. They can be used multiple times, thereby saving the plethora of wastage that ends up in our landfills. Here’s an amazon link for them – Reusable Produce Bags 15PCS Mesh Bags for Vegetables Eco Friendly Net Bags for Grocery Shopping & Storage Bags of Fruit Vegetables Machine Washable Mesh Produce Bags(15pcs) https://www.amazon.ae/dp/B07Y6BMPKK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_lupwEb4Q12Q1R
- Silicone food covers instead of cling/film wraps – Before the introduction of cling wrap in our lives, how did we store food overnight in our fridges? We put them in reusable containers or just closed them with plates. However, with cling wraps came a whole lot of convenience. We use cling wraps to store food overnight and the next day the wraps end up in the trash. You can replace single use cling wraps with these reusable silicon food wraps you can use on most containers. However, some occasions do call for cling wraps when the silicon food wraps are not enough or they cannot wrap a large container perhaps. But, let us try and do our best as and when we can. Here is an amazon link to reusable silicon food covers – Silicone Stretch Fresh Food Storage Cover Stretch Bowl Lids 6 Pack, Clear https://www.amazon.ae/dp/B07N6NQPSY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_YvpwEb06ZQXJK
- Reuse / Upcycle – Every time we throw something into the trash, we need to ask ourselves a question, if what we are throwing can be re used in any way. Perhaps you are throwing away a glass jar, or a plastic airtight container. These things can be reused for multiple purposes. Some things ending up in our trash can also be upcycled. Upcycling is the process of creatively converting an old item into something of a higher value. For example – a glass bottle into a vase, an old T shirt into a bag and so on.
- Buying Local – Did you know that the transportation sector contributes to 29% of the total greenhouse gas emissions? So every time you buy something from overseas, or buy something locally which has been imported from miles away, it is a tiny contribution towards the 29% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Again, with this being said it is not possible to avoid imports, and buying stuff from overseas. One cannot put a complete halt to such activities. Nevertheless, as and when locally produced alternatives are available to what you would otherwise buy from overseas, it is the best to choose the locally made products – ranging from food items to other consumer goods.
These are five simple ways to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet, and live a “less-waste” / “zero waste” life with minimum impact on the environment. There are plenty of other ways too, like replacing plastic packaged goods with recyclable packaging – like glass, aluminum, bamboo etc. More and more businesses are also giving importance to sustainability. At the end of the day, the planet needs more and more people practicing sustainability. The planet relies on everyone practicing sustainability imperfectly rather than just a few people practicing it perfectly.