As a matter of convenience, it is easier to run down to your local store and pick up something for the house. A toothbrush, or a sponge, or a mop, and so on. Because they are available in abundance and because they are cheap.
But we have grown up now, haven’t we? At least many of us have, and we realise the weight of garbage our poor planet’s carrying that it just can’t seem to shake off.
It doesn’t take much to be a part of a revolution that you strongly believe in. If you believe, with all of your heart, that this planet is dying due to the impact of conveniences man chooses for himself, then you will be able to adapt changes in your life that could help protect the planet from dying a pitiful and painful death, with all of us in it.
The solution is as simple as daylight. Just go back to your roots – ask you mum how she did, exchange notes with your great aunt on how they did it, listen to stories your grandmother has to say about how they managed to run a household with whatever they could find in their back or front yard.
It is not going to be as easy a find as did during their days, but it is neither that difficult to find natural objects that can suit all or most of your needs. The formula is to REPLACE and REUSE. Here are a few examples to get you started thinking, and hopefully also acting soon enough.
This may involve some more effort from you than running down to your neighbourhood store, but it is worth it. Luckily, you also belong in the age and era of digital inclusion so you needn’t run anywhere other than on a screen with your fingers to place your orders online. The below list is not exhaustive, but you get the drift.
Plastic straws – steel or bamboo straws – plastic straws take 200 years to decompose. Do we want that? Really?
Packaged shampoo & conditioners – handmade or homemade alternatives – this helps avoid the effects of chemicals on your skin and also from the water that seeps out to the drainage and underground
Plastic toothbrushes – bamboo brushes – they can be composted post-use
Utensil scrubbers – coir - coir products generate livelihood and are also easily biodegradable
Plastic q tips – wooden buds – personal care is the focus here, in the bathroom and beyond. What we use for a few seconds lasts a lifetime in some landfill
Plastic toys – cloth and wooden toys – exposing children to plastic does no good. Catch them young, and help them grow
Whatever we buy, is ours wholly, isn’t it? Which means it is valuable to us in some way when we first made the purchase. Yet, as has been the case of our generation, we somehow forget this value in a matter of months or weeks. Nowadays, even in just a few days. And this is because we keep hoarding, so things pile up and things are bound to disappear. We may all have gone through the experience of finding a favourite t-shirt or a beautiful scarf or even the most comfortable pair of socks you have owned during a spring cleaning of your closet! It’s all just there; hidden in the many crevices of your home that even you never knew existed. Shouldn’t we do some justice to this? We can, and we must – by reusing.
Ok, so that t-shirt is completely out of trend. No problem. Rehash it – make something new and usable out of it. A shopping bag, a cloth bag for your newspaper, a dress for your child’s night time teddy. Anything.
Old sarees can be made into a HUGE variety of stuff for use around the house. Cushions, curtains, aprons, table cloths, table runners, etc. Or even things for yourself – like a dress, a business suit (borrowed idea), a pinafore for your niece, a quilt – the options are countless.
Plastic takeaway containers. There are two ways we can combat this issue – one is to reuse the plastic containers that you get from those places that haven’t made the switch to sustainable packaging yet. Second, you can take your own containers (preferably not plastic; else you are missing the point), even if it may seem a bit awkward at first but it will settle.
Handkerchiefs, cloth mops, even composting in your own garden or terrace!
Just as charity begins at home, so does change for the larger good. Ice caps are melting rapidly, rain forests are succumbing to corporate greed, plastic wastage is strangling marine life, elitist past times are killing the wildlife. None of which may be in our hands. But, what we do and how we live are entirely up to us and if we all can put in our efforts, we really can make a change for the wider good.
So, who’s with us? Who’s ready to make the switch?