Anya Gupta working on her organic farm

Lifestyle: 5 Easy Swaps You can Make to Lead a Sustainable Life

By Maitrai Agarwal

Updated: 28 August, 2020 13:45 IST

Gen Z sustainable lifestyle advocate, Anya Gupta shares easy tips on how to live a greener life

Climate change is an unavoidable truth yet we find ourselves in a space of climate action inertia. Regardless of the numerous conventions, panel discussions, and summits, we still are far from doing what needs to be done. Over the past two years, we’ve emitted more than 80 gigatonnes of CO2 while the world has faced a wide spectrum of natural disasters: flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, and windstorms. Climate activist Greta Thunberg, the teen who launched a thousand strikes, asserts that we are still in a state of climate crisis denial and losing out on crucial time.

While political inaction cripples the fight, it is upon us to make things right (or as better as they can be). Decades of mindless consumption has played a key role in getting us where we are today.

As people become environmentally conscious and seek ways to reduce waste, there is a unique opportunity to change practices and processes. If how we spend our money is how we shape the world, then what we consume is at the centre of it.

We spoke to Gen Z sustainable lifestyle advocate and organic farming practitioner, Anya Gupta on why consuming consciously is the need of the hour. “We’re consuming things faster than ever, and faster consumption means faster filling up of landfills and dumping waste in our oceans. Without adequate waste disposal and segregation systems, we’re headed towards a waste catastrophe. As citizens of the Earth, each one of us needs to take responsibility and accountability for our consumption habits. Although reducing consumption should be prioritised, we must also consume mindfully whenever we do - paying attention to raw materials, packaging, and the afterlife of products.”

Following a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated. Breaking old habits might take a little bit of commitment, but making these simple changes is worth the effort. If there ever was a time to take mindful action, it is now. “You don’t need to stuff a year’s worth of trash in a mason jar. You don’t have to purchase every new zero-waste product out there. Making sustainable swaps is best done at your own pace and through small steps. Sustainability is all about doing your best to work with nature, not against it.”, Anya said.

Anya Gupta shares five easy sustainable swaps that can help reduce eco-footprint:

Garbage Bags

The most commonly used garbage bags are mostly plastic-based. Considering how abysmal waste disposal systems are, there's no doubt that all our garbage bags end up in landfills. These break down into toxins and slowly leach into nooks and corners of the entire ecosystem. The easiest eco swap to garbage bags is switching to compostable and biodegradable options made of corn starch or plastarch material which is plant-based. This switch is easy and does not take changing habits.

Home Cleaners

The chemicals used in some home cleaners are harmful to the environment. What we really need is a chemical-free, all-purpose cleaner product for kitchens, bathrooms, floors, windows, and appliances that does the job like a bio enzyme, a fermented cleaner made of citrus peels, jaggery, and water. Mix one part jaggery, three parts citrus, and 10 parts water - add to a plastic water bottle and store in a cool dark place. Open the cap to release gas build-up daily. In another 75-90 days, you should have an all-purpose cleaner that works on sinks, floors, windows, and other surfaces.  Don't worry, if you're lazy to DIY but still want to choose better, there are other options such as Stone Soup.

Toothpaste

A product we use every single day, toothpaste in plastic tubes harms the environment more than we think. The nature of the tubes makes it difficult to recycle and the caps break down into microplastics. All of this ends up in landfills or oceans, and even gets mistaken for food by fish. But can we make your own toothpaste? Yes, we can says Anya, "It's easy and cost-effective in the long run. All you need is baking soda, coconut oil, and peppermint essential oil. Take four parts baking soda, three parts coconut oil and 30 drops of peppermint essential oil, and store this in a glass jar. Your natural toothpaste will be ready to use."

Deodorants

Smelling fresh and clean shouldn't cost the planet. Chemical deodorants and plastic-based packaging are making mainstream deodorants an unsustainable choice. Fortunately, there are some great deodorants made of natural ingredients and packaged in eco-friendly materials. Whether you're looking for a deodorant stick in cardboard or a deodorant balm in tin containers, some incredible small businesses are offering affordable, sustainable deodorants.

Menstrual Products

A plastic sanitary napkin remains to be a widely used menstrual product in India- each one of which takes 500-800 years to break down. As women, we can have a positive impact on the environment by having a low waste period. Menstrual cups and reusable cloth pads are zero waste, eco-friendly alternatives. They are also easily available and affordable. Switching to these products will also make sure you are always prepared for your period.

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First Published: 27 August, 2020 20:25 IST

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