New Delhi: Living an eco-friendly lifestyle involves making conscious choices to minimise our impact on the environment, reduction of waste and pollution, and conservation of natural resources.
Following are some eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle habits that one can adopt to make a positive impact.
RRR - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
The first step towards an eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce refers to reducing the amount of waste we produce by consuming fewer resources, such as energy, water, and raw materials. This can be achieved through small lifestyle changes, such as turning off lights when they're not in use, reducing water usage, or using public transportation, by choosing products with minimal packaging and avoiding single-use products, especially plastics. Reuse refers to using reusable items, such as cloth shopping bags, water bottles, coffee or tea cups, etc. Recycling is also essential as it reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and reduces the demand for new materials. In 2022, India's recycling rate was only 22.1 per cent.
Reducing water consumption is essential to conserve water resources and reduce water pollution. One can reduce water consumption by fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, using low-flow showerheads and faucets, and avoiding water wastage. For instance, when brushing your teeth or shaving, turn off the tap to conserve water, and avoid leaving the tap running when washing dishes.
Rainwater harvesting should be practised both at homes and workplaces.
The use of renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, is an effective way to reduce one's carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels. Besides one can save on otherwise huge electricity bills. If one does not have the option of installing solar panels, consider purchasing renewable energy from a renewable energy provider.
Energy Star is a government-backed program that certifies energy-efficient appliances. Preferably use appliances with the Energy Star label. Choose an appliance that specifically fits your needs. A larger appliance may use more energy than required. Make sure you use your appliances efficiently. For example, only run your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load. Use the appropriate settings, such as energy-saving or eco-mode, on your appliances when possible. Use LED or smart lighting products, which are more energy-efficient.
Use of public transportation, walking or cycling
Public transportation such as metro, buses, trains, and trams etc, can be an efficient way to get around. Check your local public transportation schedules and routes to see if it's a feasible option for you. If you live close to your workplace or other destinations, consider walking or cycling instead of driving. This can not only save you money but also provide health benefits. Carpooling should be encouraged as it reduces the number of cars on the road, reducing traffic congestion and gas emissions. Transportation accounts for 29 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in India.
Buy local and organic food
Farmer's markets are a great way to buy fresh, locally-grown produce. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program which is a great way to support local farmers.
Buying organic food is an effective way to reduce your exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Organic farming practices are also more sustainable, as they reduce the use of fertilisers and pesticides, conserve water resources, and promote biodiversity.
Reduce meat consumption
Start by reducing your meat consumption gradually. For example, try going meatless for one day a week, and gradually increase from there. Experiment with plant-based proteins such as tofu, lentils, beans, and chickpeas. In India, the average person consumes 150 pounds of meat per year. Reducing meat consumption can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve overall health.
Grow your own food
Growing your own food is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and promote sustainable living. Home-grown food is free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals and requires less energy to transport than store-bought food. You can grow your own food in a backyard garden, terrace, on a balcony, or in a community garden. The concept of hydroponic farming can be effectively used for this purpose.
Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products
Look for cleaning products that have been certified by reputable organisations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Green Seal. Choose cleaning products that are non-toxic and free of chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and phosphates. Eco-friendly cleaning products are made from natural ingredients and are non toxic. You can make your own eco-friendly cleaning products using natural ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.
Plant trees and support reforestation efforts
Look for local tree-planting events in your area and participate. Consider donating to reforestation projects that plant trees in areas that have been affected by deforestation or other land-use changes. These projects are often run by environmental organisations and can have a significant impact on restoring ecosystems. Deforestation accounts for 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Use Reusable Menstrual Products
Conventional menstrual products, such as pads and tampons, contribute to landfill waste and are made from synthetic materials that can be harmful to the environment. Reusable menstrual products, such as menstrual cups and cloth pads, are a more eco-friendly alternative.
Lead by example by adopting sustainable habits and practices in your own life and inspiring others. Use social media, blog posts, or other forms of communication to share relevant information.
By taking these steps and making eco-friendly choices, we can reduce our impact on the environment leading to a sustainable future.