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Five Steps in my Journey to Sustainable Living
The journey to live more sustainably is not as hard or difficult as it seems, in fact, it is about taking small good steps and incremental adjustments in our daily lives. I thought it would be good to share my journey to sustainable living which started just 3 years ago while we were in the middle of the COVID lockdown.  The First Step: REDUCING CHEMICALS AT HOME I made my first bio-enzyme out of sweet lime peels in 2020. It started out as a hack for the reuse of peels so that what goes out of the house as waste becomes less in case garbage stops getting collected during lockdown. After making the first few bottles of bio-enzymes and finding them to be effective, I was curious to find more about what all types of peels can be used. I realised that almost every kitchen peel started finding its place in making bio-enzymes. The best thing is that it just takes 2 minutes/day to start making bio-enzymes at home.  The Impact:- It has been three years since I purchased chemical surface or toilet cleaners. Not only do bio-enzymes help me in sustainable living and being more eco-friendly, but they also help me avoid chemical-laden cleaners around the house. They reduced my plastic consumption and have been saving the money I would have spent on cleaners from market. Eco-friendly lifestyles can be financially rewarding as well.  The Second Step: EDUCATING MYSELF:- This should ideally be the first step but I got into it after I started working on bio-enzymes at home. The great thing is that the eco-friendly and sustainable living community is increasing in India. I joined my first community on Facebook which has an active zero-waste group based out of India. The FB group “Zero Waste Lifestyle-India” has many tips on making more eco-friendly choices and adopting better for planet living habits. I started looking for how things of daily use which are half used and half discarded can be fully used. Or the alternative uses for things that are discarded.  And that was just the beginning. It reminded me of one famous ad that says that Puchege Nahi to Janoge Kaise (If you don’t ask, how will you know). I just had to look out for and there was so much information available and so much happening and we could start anywhere. Just pick and choose what suits your lifestyle, circumstances, etc.  The Third Step – COMPOSTING:- Along with bio-enzymes, I started composting at home in my apartment with a compact balcony. That was at a time when the work from home was quite hectic. But one thing I noticed was that doing these things for a few hours a week gave me a nice good feeling. This compost was used to grow some greens at home and any excess of it was given to neighbours who had plants at home. So this way only occasionally I had to give anything out of my house as garbage as now most of it got converted to some resource.   The Fourth Step: START CARRYING ESSENTIALS:- Carrying shopping bags for groceries and other shopping made me realize how many plastic bags we can avoid by just carrying our own bags.  Carrying my own insulated water bottle when I travel helps not just in saving plastics, it also lets me enjoy warm water in the winters or cold refreshing water in the summers.  Carrying a handkerchief helps me reduce paper tissue usage. Did you know used paper tissues cannot be recycled? So avoiding paper tissues is a really good step to sustainable lifestyle.  The Fifth Step: MAXIMUM RECYCLING, MINIMUM WASTE:-  India has one of the highest recycling rates in the world and given our population that is really important. Our society already had a plastic collection drive for recycling but unfortunately, many people including me were unaware. The other thing is that it is important to know what can be recycled and what cannot be recycled. Otherwise, you could end up creating more waste. We have a handy guide that can help you make more eco-friendly choices when you recycle. It is important to know that there is no one answer to adopting sustainable living practices. You should find the path that you are comfortable with just the way I discovered mine and believe me, I am just at the beginning of the journey,  You can choose your journey to being more eco-friendly in a million different ways e.g. ensuring you do not ask for a change of plate in a restaurant, It is a small step but can make a big difference since it preserves water and detergent which might have been used to wash the plate. You could opt to turn off your shower when you are using soap or body wash, it can save many litres of fresh water. I believe every single good step counts just start doing it and be consistent.   The other important thing to know is not to blame yourself if you forget to do something. I have on occasion forgotten to carry a bag to the shopping market. Just being more mindful the next time is more than enough. So what do you think? What simple lifestyle changes are you thinking of adopting towards sustainable living? Do write to us at preety@smallerfootprint.co with the subject “My GoodSteps”. If you would like to contribute to our blog, you are more than welcome.   

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