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Zero-Waste Living: Where to Begin?

By Richa Asthana

Remember those good old days? When we used to go café hopping to find our favourite bowl of pasta and enjoy a movie in the hall with popcorns, coke and chips. Then Covid-19 happened, and well, it changed our entire outlook on life.

If anything, ‘corona times’ has made us realise that we don’t need a lot to live a happy life. All the junk and pompous stuff that we keep buying was mostly for show off, and we have finally learnt to embrace a simple(r) life.

There is another problem that we have been forced to acknowledge –climate change. Whether or not we choose to believe in it, it’s happening all around us. Icebergs are melting, wildlife is being destroyed, and we have been shut behind our doors.

It’s high time we consider zero-waste living and make an initiative towards imbibing this lifestyle. Zero-waste living, as the name suggests, is about creating as less trash as possible. What we eat, what we wear and all other actions can be fixed by making conscious decisions.

The most significant benefit of a zero-waste lifestyle is the money you save. You don’t buy a lot of new things and reuse what you have which in turn helps you save the moolah. Another advantage is the positive impact you have on your surroundings and ultimately on our planet. Every action has a direct effect on the environment, whether great or small.

Going zero-waste does not mean buying fancy new ‘green’ or eco-friendly stuff. It is about using what you already have.

zero waste living - the 5 R's. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot and Recycle

The 5 R’s

There are 5 R’s to going zero-waste: refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, recycle.

Refuse

Refuse to buy new things unless they are necessary.

Reduce

Reduce the clutter around you and opt for a Zen lifestyle; it clears your mind as well.

Reuse

Reuse what you already have or repurpose it for some other use by upcycling.

Rot

Rot or compost your kitchen waste which prevents it from ending in the landfill, giving a new life to your balcony plants and kitchen garden.

Recycle

Recycle if you can’t do any of the above things. E-waste, plastics, glass, metals and many other things can get recycled if it reaches the correct place.

It is simple and easy to take the first steps towards zero-waste living. A few easy swaps should get you started. Small steps can lead to significant changes in the world. Carrying your own shopping bag and reusable water bottle, refusing straws and single-use cutlery, having a small kitchen garden, might look like small tasks. Still, it goes a long way in saving the rivers and oceans.

So, this might be a great time to start your zero-waste journey, which can help you save money as well as the planet!


Richa is an IT professional. She tries to live a zero or low-waste life by finding sustainable ways to do everyday tasks. Richa also loves to write and has contributed to sites like Madoverprint and also has a blog called The Green Thumbelina. She enjoys gardening and strives to find better ways to contribute to society and tackle climate change.

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