While living in metro cities, working full-time jobs to make ends meet or even to maintain a certain lifestyle, and juggling familial and social obligations, one does not really have the time to think of sustainability. However, go to one of those websites that calculate your carbon footprint and you will be shocked at how much you as an individual are contributing to the literal destruction of the only planet so far known to be able to sustain life in the universe. You will be astounded at the rate at which your usage of plastic or a careless spin in your car can dip the meter against you. Let’s inspire you to make some much needed changes.
Sustainability, zero-waste living, upcycling, recycling, etc. are some of the words that have been circulating in the social diaspora during the last five years or so. With people from various generations waking up to the scary truth that planet earth may become uninhabitable in the near future, many are resorting to various techniques to live a zero-waste life. You may feel like this is for people who are either living in tier two cities or villages, or those who have simply too much time on their hands in metro cities, but that is a myth. Anyone with a little care for this small green planet can transform their life into a zero-waste one, simply by making a few new lifestyle choices and inculcating some simple habits.
How to go about it?
From recycling plastic to upcycling and reusing various items to composting, waste management, and going plastic-free, many are choosing to go organic in their lives to help manage sustainability. While some people have reached the pinnacle of sustainability by making their own soap, giving up outside food completely to avoid plastic usage, as well as planning their days to avoid water and electricity wastage, some are just at the threshold of sustainability through composting, recycling, and upcycling.
You can start the change in your lifestyle by following simple steps such as stopping the wastage of water, electricity, etc., carrying a cloth or paper bag while shopping, taking public transport whenever possible, reusing bottles, rags, tiffins, newspapers, etc. However, even then, you may find yourself adding to the trash can. How can you avoid that?
What to do with peels?
When you are using fruits and vegetables, it is natural to get peels. If you are trying to go to zero waste, there are a few things you can do other than throw the peels in the bin. First and foremost would be composting. If the peels are completely inedible, the wise thing to do would be to add them to compost.
Secondly, certain fruits and vegetable peels can be made into yummy fritters and chips by adding salt and pepper to them and frying them in oil. Potato, beetroot, carrot peels, etc. make for some scrumptious chips for the early evening hunger.
Fruit peels like apples, oranges, limes, etc can be used to make jams or marmalades. They can enhance the flavour vastly. They can also be added to your green tea to a similar effect. Simply add a few peels to the water for your green tea and add the tea bag after. The peels add in the various minerals and vitamins along with fibre, essential for your body.
The stick part of the green leafy vegetables can be added to the recipe to elicit great taste and flavour or even tried as fried fritters.
Peels can also be used as great scrubs over the skin. From orange peels, papaya peels, and lime peels, to watermelon seeds, apricot seeds, etc, they all can be dried in sunlight, ground, and added to coconut and essential oils to create the natural face and body scrubs. These can be stored long-term in glass bottles and are extremely great for the skin.
What to do with seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are an amazing source of zinc and help build immunity. So instead of throwing them in the trash, simply dry them, add salt and pepper and then add them to your smoothies, yoghurt, or salads for that extra crunch. The same goes for watermelon seeds as well.
As far as seeds are concerned, your number one way to go is to grow them. Simply put them in moist soil mix and watch them grow into beautiful plants. If you are good, you may find yourself eating the literal fruit or vegetable of your labour.
Certain seeds can also be used to create face and body scrubs.
What to do with eggshells?
Eggshells are relatively inedible and therefore considered not reusable. However, eggshells are an incredible source of plant food. Simply, let them dry in the sun for a day, powder them and add them to the soil before planting. You can also add it to your compost bin. Mixing eggshells into your planting soil can reduce the change of root rot as well as provide the plant with the much-needed calcium component.
Eggshells are also a great source of calcium for your body and in case you take calcium supplements, you can replace them with eggshell calcium powder. Just boil the eggshells for 10 minutes to disinfect them. Then preheat the over at 200° C and pop them in for 20 minutes or until dry and really crispy. Powder them in a coffee grinder and voila! Your eggshell calcium supplement is ready. Mix half a teaspoon in your smoothy to give a nutritional boost.
If you break your eggs strategically, you can use the whole shell to create art, by painting them.
Zero waste living is not an easy task. It requires patience, creativity, lifestyle changes, and more importantly intent. But the satisfaction you feel knowing that you contributed a little bit to save this beautiful planet, is worth everything.