The skies have got bluer, birds chirpier, forests breathing better and less food waste being generated due to restaurants closed – lockdown has automatically cleaned the environment. Do your bit for the nature and turn to a zero-waste living – from food to necessities. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.
Urban planner Tanya Mukherjee who has been following a zero-waste lifestyle says, “Watch those trucks emptying the wastes. The scale is so shocking and you realize how tiny we are compared to the amount of waste we create. Minimalism is the route to achieve zero waste. And lockdown is the perfect time to adopt this. ”
It also cuts down expenditure and makes us healthy. Environmentalist Ranju Minhas says, “If we have a healthy biodiversity, we’re healthy because we’re a part of the whole ecosystem.”
Eating well is good but even healthy foods can create a lot of waste harmful for the nature.
“Micro manage your kitchen waste and convert the things you don’t need into compost,” says Minhas. Garbage gardening is an easy and inexpensive way to grow greens using kitchen waste – the seeds and roots that otherwise would be headed to a landfill. She adds, “It’s a fun way to recycle by using wheat bags, rice sacks, discarded bottles, old bath tubs, etc. Just drop in the seeds to the soil so they germinate.”
With everyone turning into master chefs during lockdown, the amount of organic waste going into the bins has increased. Now is the time to cook efficiently, limiting food scraps and wastage. Nutritionist Neeta Thapa says, “Each forkful of food is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions before reaching our plate. Processing, packaging and transporting the food contribute to climate change. When we throw, it rots and releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”
Nutritionist Abhishek gives some tips to reuse food waste.
· Lemon and orange peels – While orange peels contains flavonoids and other phytochemicals beneficial for preventing cancer and heart diseases, lemon peels contain D-limonene that prevents cellular damage by fighting free radicals in your body. Make marmalade or pickle out of them or use it for seasoning by freezing and grating.
· Bitter melon peels contains half the nutrient like charantine, vicine, and polypeptide which saves body from toxins. Eat it without scraping.
· Eat your salad with the skins because it’s healthy. For example, cucumber skin is rich in vitamin K which support bone growth and blood clotting.
· Turn overripe vegetables like cabbage into sauerkraut or kimchi. They are nutritious.
· Rather than wasting squishy bananas and other overripe fruit, turn them into smoothie or jam or add them to cakes. Fruits are rich in fibre and contain nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C. Also eat raw fruits instead of juice for a healthy diet and less waste.
· The non woody part of coriander stems can be used as dim sum sauce to add a nice flavor.
From waste to wonder!
Reform, recycle and transform is the key! Minhas says, “First step to zero-waste lifestyle is thoughtful consumerism. Make sure you only buy products you use because a lot of natural resources, energy, man power, transportation cost is involved.”
More than reusing products or DIY stuff, zero-waste lifestyle is all about patience. Development sector professional Himanshi Narula says, “Instead of plastic, I have a reusable bag, steel bottle, etc. I also make my own soaps, skin toners and facial and hair masks from wastes.”
National Rurban Fellow Adarsh Tripathi who practices zero-waste lifestyle says, “Zero waste living isn’t about being perfect, and it’s about so much more than mason jars full of trash and reusables. Zero waste is about moving to a circular economy. I have experienced true contentment since starting this life and it has brought me more happiness.”