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Raise your hand if you have been hearing the words “sustainable” and “sustainability” quite often nowadays.

What is sustainability? “It is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”

Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages to 0.74 kilogram, but ranges widely from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. Every year, we end up dumping close to a massive 2.12 billion tonnes of waste.

With the current climate crisis at stake, there are more initiatives being introduced to curb the damage being done to our planet.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to go “zero waste” and cut products out of your life altogether. What we may not understand is that in order to help the Earth, we don’t have to overhaul our entire life.

Here are some simple tips to help you make the switch towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Avoid single-use items

Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II revealed how discarded plastic items are ending up in the world’s oceans and are causing the deaths of over a million animals each year.

We all have a part to play in saving the planet. You too could reduce your single-use footprint.

One of the simplest ways you can do this is by swapping single-use items for more reusable ones. It actually makes a big difference and is not very expensive when you adopt a more eco-friendly approach.

Bamboo utensils usually cost under Rs.200, like a straw, chopsticks, forks & spoons. Tote bags are also a good option to use. It’s made of recycled materials and you get to carry around a branded message. These items (along with others like a reusable coffee cup, silicone “ziploc” bags, and metal straws) are truly worth it and will make a difference.

If you really think about the amount of single-use items humans consume and how wasteful that is, it feels easy to purchase a little in order to help the environment a lot.

Go Green with Electronics

We throw away 50 million tons of electronic waste each year. That’s the equivalent of 350 cruise ships!  A frightening statistic and it will only get worse if we don’t act now. Mobile phones, batteries, and chargers are few of the many discarded electronic items that are found in landfills. They often contain harmful materials such as PVC, arsenic, lead and phthalates which pollute the soil and our environment.

A more sustainable method of reducing e-waste would be to upcycle & recycle them. This includes protecting human and environmental health by keeping these devices out of landfills, and providing manufacturers with recycled metals that can be used to make new products.

Saahas Zero Waste provides scientific and sustainable electronic waste disposal solutions. They recycle electronic items and manufacture products that can be again introduced into the economy.

Another e-waste startup is Binbag who is on a mission is to fight climate change by accelerating the circular economy for end-of-life electronics.

Reduce your carbon footprint by setting up a carpool

One of the ways you can reduce your carbon footprint is by setting up a carpool. 

Find colleagues who live nearby you then form a carpool together. There are different ways the carpool could work. For instance, you could either have a designated driver or you could take it in turns to drive.  Either way, you’ll be reducing emissions and saving money by splitting the fuel costs.

One such option is Quick Ride, an easy-to-use shuttle and concierge app that reduces the time customers spend waiting. It also lets you know how much of CO2 and money you save at the end of each ride.

So, the next time you plan on heading somewhere, think about the option of carpooling.

Reduce Food Waste

The amount of food waste produced every year is more than enough to feed 1 billion hungry people.

You can reduce your food waste in so many easy ways, like pre-making grocery lists so you don’t overbuy, purchasing funny-looking produce that may otherwise be thrown away, eating leftovers, freezing what’s about to expire (you can use it up in a smoothie, soup, or dish later on), and store food properly.

Another significant option is to adopt a plant-based diet.

Adopt a plant-based diet

If you want to significantly reduce your carbon footprint, live more sustainably, and literally save the world, eat more plant-based food. It takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a half kilo of red meat than it does to produce half kilo of any plant food. You’d be saving 15,000 liters of water just by skipping one kilogram of red meat. Eating plant-based also majorly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and your energy consumption.

The evidence is clear, though so many people who know the facts still don’t make the change.

If you’re afraid of it, you don’t have to go all in at once. Maybe have a meatless Monday, or try to cut out dairy every other week. Anything and everything helps.

Changing your life to change the world is amazing, but don’t beat yourself up if you forget your reusable water bottle or subconsciously grab that paper towel.

It’s okay to start with the small stuff; skipping a plastic straw, buying a bamboo fork, or eating one plant-based meal a week. These small actions all make a difference in the long run, even if they feel insignificant now.

Whether you want to go completely waste-free, or are just beginning to educate yourself on sustainability, any effort is better than none.

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