pile of trash next to the beach

10 small steps towards a sustainable life

In 2020, for conscious mindful living, I made a thumb rule for myself “REFUSE REUSE RECYCLE DISCARD”. In order to live by it, I made some lifestyle changes. Now that it’s been 12 months into the process, I feel more comfortable and confident in sharing these steps :

1)  Sustainable Period Choice – Menstrual Cup

One of the best things I could do for myself was making the transition from disposable sanitary napkins to a menstrual cup. It’s a gift that keeps giving happiness, a total game-changer.

2) Sustainable Bathroom Products

I have frizzy hair but I wanted to see the effect if I stopped using a hair conditioner. Happy to report, my hair is doing just fine. I also stopped using soap while bathing and opted for a natural, homemade alternative for the days when plain water doesn’t feel enough. A jar full of Gram flour or Besan is my soap now and it’s doing a great job. I don’t even need a moisturizer on most days because no soap no dry skin. Its been a year now and I love this sustainable switch.

3) Key to Sustainability – Composting

I stopped throwing away any organic matter (kitchen scraps etc )  from the house and diverted everything to a simple compost set up in my apartment’s balcony.

I am not confident enough yet to add leftover cooked food to my compost pile. So I take less on my plate and avoid throwing away the excess. Although, getting a hang of composting takes a bit of time and I promise I will write all my failures and inhibitions in future blogs so that you can decide for yourself if you want to give it a shot.

4) Stop Non-Sustainable Waste Disposal

Recyclables do not belong in a landfill hence I stopped throwing recyclables into the garbage as waste and started giving them for recycling. This list has milk packets, staple food packets, cardboard, plastic and glass to name a few. I also learned about Recycling codes to become an informed customer and know better when I dispose of my waste.

5) Sustainable alternate of plastic milk packets

I bought a steel can and started buying milk from an automated milk vending machine at my nearest Mother Dairy franchise(I was living in The National Capital Region (NCR), India ). It’s a small change but it stopped the entry of plastic into my home in form of milk packets as well as tetra packets which are difficult to recycle.

You can write to me in the comments below and I will be more than happy to share more information about this.

I like to personally believe, Refusing and  Reducing create a strong foundation for sustainable choices.

6) Digital world & Sustainability – Switching off Wifi

Yes, it’s a great thing that our devices can run for 24 hours but do we really need to keep them at it? What will go so wrong if you shut the internet down before going to sleep. We did so before, we can at least try again.

It has been three months and every day when I go to sleep, I switch off my wifi network and my mobile data. When was the last time you switched off your mobile data or wifi?

7) Mindfulness & Internet – Cancel unwanted subscriptions

I started with refusing any paper pamphlets handouts given while I was out in the market. Followed by cancelling the digital subscription which I no longer require. If you aren’t convinced it matters then I hope you read how power-intensive the digital world is to make a more informed choice.

8) Simple ways to reuse waste RO water

Especially in regions with high TDS or hard water, RO discards crazy amounts of water. I  know because I am living in one such place.  So I started keeping a bucket in the kitchen to collect discarded water. You will be surprised at the volume of rejected water.

I will admit that I have had my fair share of flooding the kitchen but I still feel it is worth it.

I started using water as an alternative to tap water. Used it for mopping the house, rinsing the utensils, watering strong/tough trees, washing the car and so on.

This also helped in reducing the wastage associated with using running water.

9)Sustainability 101:  BYOB (Bring your own box )*

*(COVID-19 precautions applicable )

Whenever I go out, I keep a couple of nested containers (As they fit into each other I find them easy to carry) with me. This way if I want to have some food items parcelled, I could skip the food delivery containers and use my own box.

*COVID-19 interferes with this step but I do what is best in the given situation without causing inconvenience to others.

10) How Sustainable is ordering veggies /fruits online

Yes, ordering fresh produce online used to make my life easy or so I thought. Going to the sabjiwala (fruits/vegetable vendor ) right across my apartment felt like a task to me. Now I try to do the task.

There were few problems with this online delivery which didn’t bother me earlier – I always got more than I needed, everything was wrapped in plastic/cling film. I could no more justify the exhausted resources for getting me these items fresh.

Additionally –

1) I learned to embrace my choices and take pride in my efforts, win or lose.

Friends might mock you, assume that you are a miser because you want to reuse stuff but don’t let it bother you.  What they say should not affect your decision.

I have been called kabaddi (scrap collector), kanjoos(frugal ), and have been looked down upon when I repurpose items under the common assumption that it is due to lack of resources and not by choice.

I won’t say it is easy but I will say that you can look past it. You just need to hold your head high.

2) I learned to broaden my perspective

Now  I try to look beyond the traditional use of an item and try to see how I can reuse what I have before having to buy something new.

Take out boxes hold my stationary, empty wine bottles work as water bottles, cereal boxes hold my diaries, the list goes on.

A friendly reminder –

To be very clear, it was possible for me to make these switches hence I made them.  I do understand how tough one’s work or/and personal life can be. That’s why I don’t think there can be a standard approach.

For one, I don’t believe that changes need a clean slate, a proper big start. Yes, they motivate but they also pressurise you to succeed. This is a major reason that the switches  I made had nothing to do with bamboo straw, seed paper or buying eco-friendly stuff and discarding what I already have.

Again, I know it is not easy and I understand it is a matter of personal choice. I believe in making small sustainable changes in my daily life. I also believe that some of you have made a choice that creates a far bigger impact. (Maybe you bought an electric car or solar-powered your entire house)  . I respect all the choices and even if you are not there yet to make these changes I hope you open your self to the idea of living a mindful life.

You never know which idea might take hold and modify your beliefs.

If you liked the blog do show your support to me and consider sharing it with others.

Image source –

Stock images used in the blog are taken from Pexels.

Image source – Mother dairy booth – Automatic milk vending machine 

6 thoughts on “10 small steps towards a sustainable life”

  1. Thank you for showing us ways to maintain sustainability in cheaper way. I feel guilty about buying plastic packaged products, but most of the time I have no other option. Can you please share how do you recycle plastic packets? Thank you once again. 🙂

    1. Hi sarmistha, I am so glad you took the time to read the post and I am so happy you appreciated /acknowledged the fact that none of these steps actually required you to buy anything fancy. Most items can be managed from the stuff you already have 🙂 Also, I totally understand how you feel about plastic packets, I did find the old kind of grocery stores which you must have seen in your childhood where everything is sold loose but I still can’t judge the quality so I am stuck with packets as well. Tea leaves, sugar, pulses, in short, all the groceries. So yes, I know how you feel. So for more than a year, I kept collecting all plastic bags after washing them and drying them and stored them in amazon /flipkart delivery boxes. So I live in NCR and I managed to find a couple of initiatives that are working with upcycling plastic packets to create weaved bags etc. One of them is called wastetowonder_ India , and they were offering free pickup and so I called them up and they came to my house and picked the packets. If you can ping me on my Instagram @pyarakona I am sure I can help you find a similar service provider /startup working in your city. 🙂 I will be more than happy to help you with the process and some tips which I wish someone told me with all the damn cleaning of the packets 🙂 Please do ping me on Instagram so that I can help you better 🙂

  2. I can totally feel you. Out of ten I practice most of em. And switching to menstrual cup is on the top of it . ? It is a blessing which makes u feel like any other normal day. And yes it’s been 2 yrs m using besan, dried orange peel powder and sopanuts for hair n skin care. And as I have a big garden n lot of kitchen waste everyday … I learnt composting. Moving towards sustainable lifestyle feels life we’ve still got a chance to save this planet.?

    1. Hi Smruti, firstly I really appreciate the fact that you took time to see the post and read it. It is very encouraging when people share their stories of the sustainable choices they made. I know it doesn’t seem like it but such comments mean a lot because it brings together all the efforts made by different individuals. My story along with your story and gives much more motivation for others to do the smallest bit they possibly can 🙂 I really hope you keep sharing the steps taken by you so that we can normalise such choices one person at a time 🙂

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