On the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, Mrudula Joshi and Gauri Agarwal talked about how one can choose to live in a more eco-friendly way in their homes by adopting simple habits.
"The earth is what we all have in common.", popular American novelist and environmental activist, Wendell Berry, had once said. Though he did not mention it, it is understood from the statement that we, humans, must aim to save this common thread between all the species from all the man-made disastrous situations. On World Environment Day, 2021, we talked to the founders of sustainable lifestyle stores where they emphasized how simple habits in their day-to-day lives can save the earth from causing damages.
Mrudula Joshi, an entrepreneur from Bengaluru who runs Ullisu says that there are small steps that people can take for a sustainable lifestyle. "It's important to buy essentials in bulk. It reduces the amount of packaging that goes into packing small packets or products. Apart from that, one can carry their bags and reuse them again. By doing so, the consumption of bags whether plastic or paper, will decrease and so will the production," she said.
Mrudula further told that one can also opt for dissolvable plastic bags. "While it's not that easy to make the bags at homes, one can go through various options in Regeno Bio, an organisation that sells compostable bags," the 26-year-old said.
Another ecopreneur, as she terms herself, Gauri Agarwal, who is the founder of Livable Planet talked about the usage of plastic bags in the most effective manner. "Always keep the small plastic bags in which the local shopkeepers give vegetables. Since those cannot be avoided, they can definitely be reused as one can take those bags again and ask the vendor to put the vegetables inside those bags. As those are dry vegetables, you may or may not wash the plastic bag unless you think it's required," Gauri said.
The 30-year-old from Greater Noida also talked about the usage of bamboo toothbrushes that can be replaced with plastic ones. "The best part about bamboo brushes is that one can easily go out of their house and dump it into the soil and it will never be a waste," she said. "Bamboo takes very little time to grow and consumes very less amount of water and carbon dioxide also," she added.
Natural cleansing options
Since a lot of people have started using natural and organic products for their face and body, Gauri said, one should avoid those which come with plastic packaging. "One can use coconut meat (malai) for the skin. Taking two to three almonds and crushing them to mix with coconut oil can also act as a natural face wash for the skin. Moreover, one can also take the walnut peels, grind them and mix them with coconut oil and aloe vera. It acts as a good face scrub. One can also use peanut peels as a scrub. Ultimately, it's important to look for the ways that can lead to a better lifestyle where you neither affect yourself nor nature," Gauri said.
Talking about the usage of sanitary napkins that also comes with plastic packaging, Mrudula said that one can replace them with either menstrual cups or cloth pads. "The only reason it is not considered hygienic is that women are circled with the stigma to not dry it under the sunlight. However, one can easily soak it in the bowl or a bucket of water and leave it for an hour (minimum), scrub out the soaked cloth pad and dry it under the sun. Once it is dried, one can put it in the laundry wash for further cleaning," she said. Mrudula also highlighted the importance of sunlight in killing germs.
For an eco-friendly house
Constituting an important part of the house, the furniture can also be reused, according to Mrudula. "Since furniture remains in houses for a longer period, one can always purchase second-hand furniture, like the ones being sold by Gozefo. There is nothing wrong with it since it can save many trees," she said. While discussing the house cleaning items, Mrudula said that one can go for vinegar, baking soda, Reetha soapnut, rather than using other cleaning agents that contain chemicals.
The best cutlery items as suggested by Mrudula are the ones made of steel and metal. "It's always better to use the steel plates, bowls and other items than eating in the plastic ones. However, if one has plastic containers and boxes in the kitchen, instead of replacing them with sustainable items, it's much better to keep using them," she said while adding that reusing the plastic is better than throwing it into the environment. "Houses also need to have LED lighting which is less harmful to the environment," Mrudula added.
On the other hand, Gauri suggested that people should ensure not to use the lights during the daytime. "The best way to save energy is to let the sunlight come into the house. One can also avoid the consumption of Air Conditioners by covering the whole house properly in the afternoon while letting a beam of light come inside for doing normal work. After sunset, one can open the door or a window along with the exhaust fan for cross ventilation. It helps in keeping the rooms at a normal temperature," she said.
OTTs, a challenge to the environment
Gauri also insisted on avoiding streaming services on OTT platforms. "In the offices of Netflix, Prime or other OTT platforms, there runs the data of movies or series 24×7×365 because they are "streaming". These machines, hence, keep on generating the heat for which the offices require ACs, that too, 24×7×365. In simpler words, the more streaming, the more energy requirements," she told.
"The same goes for the cloud storage that we use. Be it e-mail, drive or any other online data, the requirement of energy is there since it's being stored," Gauri said. She also gave solutions to it by saying that if people start deleting 10 mails per day, a lot of radiation can be reduced. Adding to it, Gauri said that one can keep a separate bin in their houses for electronic waste which, once filled, can be given to the recycling centers or local kabidiwalas who accept the e-waste.
Mrudula and Gauri also talked about how people have joined the race to look like living a sustainable life rather than actually living one. "One should know that going for a plastic-free life is not equal to living a sustainable life. It happens with taking small but necessary measures to save the environment like simply reusing the plastic," Mrudula said. However, Gauri said that while not a single solution cannot be termed "100% accurate" in saving the environment, one should opt for the solutions that are comparatively more accurate.
On World Environment Day 2021, let's take a pledge to keep our earth and the surroundings clean!