Earth Hour: Experts share tips on how to adapt sustainable habits

25 March,2023 09:46 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Tanishka D’Lyma

Three experts share tips to help us embrace the aim of today’s Earth Hour by extending sustainable habits beyond the fixed one hour

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A start to composting

From Compost Live Mumbai and Future Recyclers Foundation, director of projects, Rajeshwari Phadtare, reiterates that one step towards sustainability is a start towards 100 steps. "We talk about waste management and recycling but we also need to make choices that completely eliminate single-use plastic and reduce waste in the first place," she notes. Her tips include:
. Observe your habits and the waste generated at home for a week to estimate how you can switch to a low-waste lifestyle.
. Read about composting - there are tonnes of resources available - and approach composting communities to help you get into the habit, understand the elements and learn solutions to challenges faced in the beginning.
. Once you determine the usual amount of wet waste generated, buy a composting bin or any unit large enough to manage the waste.
. Add a good mix of greens - food scraps and coffee grounds for nitrogen - and browns - coconut husks and dried leaves for carbon, to help get a rich compost.

Greener at home

Flower bio-enzyme fermenting in jars; (right) flour, reetha powder, bio-enzyme, wood ash with jute rope scrubber

Pooja Domadia, chief operations officer, Hum Prithvi Se, an eco-conscious organisation, focuses on reducing. She says, "We don*t need everything we want to buy whether that*s clothes or crockery. Ask yourself if you need it first."
. Switching chemical cleaners for natural ones will help reduce the pollution of water bodies. Atta, besan, or dosa mix makes for a good cleaner. They are great at removing grease from oily and sticky surfaces.
. The other is a mix of 10 parts of water, one part of jaggery and three parts of citrus peels to make a bio enzyme. Keep the mix in a wide-mouthed container and let it sit for three months. Once fermented, you can use this as a floor, surface and utensil cleaner and hand wash. They also help in the rejuvenation of water resources. "If something is not good for the planet, water or land resources, it*s not good for the body," Domadia shares.
. For a socially and eco-conscious living, you can buy green personal care and home products or composting tools from Slow & Conscious Living, and Gift Green.

Plastics under control

Thermocol collected by 5RCycle

Dr Smita Birkar of 5RCycle, which is a dry waste aggregator, highlights the importance of segregating when recycling.
. Minimise the amount of waste you generate.
. The dry waste generated must be segregated, cleaned, and dried before recycling. Plastics mixed with food scraps cannot be recycled and end up becoming a source
of pollution.
. Don*t cut plastic up into tiny pieces as
it makes it difficult to recycle the material. While opening milk or snack packets, don*t cut
off small pieces. Begin with making a slit instead.
. There are seven different types of plastics. This includes PETE or P
ET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene), V or PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), PP (Polypropylene), PS (Polystyrene or Styrofoam) and other or miscellaneous plastics. Check the recycling number and type of plastic on the packaging for further segregation and proper disposal.
. Create a system in your home for dry waste segregation - a bag, carton or bin to store until you donate the waste to your recycler.

Our 60 for the planet

Celebrated annually on this day, Earth Hour calls for people all over the world to switch off lights for an hour as a symbolic first-step measure in leading a low-waste lifestyle and bringing awareness to environmental issues. The ‘lights off* movement started in 2007 and was meant to encourage people to continue incorporating greener habits beyond these 60 minutes. For this year, the slot is from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm.

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