Until about two years ago, sanitary napkins, cotton balls, earbuds were all part of my monthly shopping list. But I changed it all in 2018, when I switched to using a menstrual cup, practising DIYs, and gradually, I made sustainability a norm. I knew the switch was helping my pocket, but I did not know how much!
Yesterday, I sat calculating how much money I’ve been saving with my attempt at a sustainable lifestyle.
- Switching sanitary pads with a menstrual cup: Rs 1000 per month
- Home remedies for hair needs: Rs 200 per month
- Replacing market products with DIY face scrubs: Rs 300 per month
I am happy to say that I wasn’t expecting that!
And like me, many others have embarked upon this zero-waste journey. We spoke with Seema Sharma, a Bengaluru techie and Priya Panchwadkar, a Yoga instructor from Thane, Mumbai who are both following a zero-waste lifestyle. What stays common in our experiences is not only the fact that we produce less waste but also that we save a lot of money.
Here are the ten things that we stopped purchasing and tips on how you can do it too:
1. Sustainability Hero – Go Menstrual Cup!
Good riddance, to be honest. As a person who has a heavy monthly flow, I would always spend a fortune on pads every single month. Since the switch, I have brought down my monthly budget by a thousand bucks.
2. Let Bio-enzymes Kick out the Chemical Dish Soap
What does one do with orange peels and lemon skins? Turn them into bio-enzymes and have a natural dish wash ready! Seema shares how bio enzymes have completely eliminated her need to purchase any dish soap.
“I don’t buy packaged dishwash or detergent. The bio-enzymes do the job of washing my dishes and clothes just fine,” she shares with The Better India (TBI).
3. Put Down that Packet of Chips
As a mother, Seema understands that her kids want a snack every time they come home from school, tuitions or play. So, to control their urge to eat chips and biscuits that come in plastic packaging, she fills the table with fruits and delicious home-cooked snacks.
“If they are out on a school picnic or so, I don’t stop them from buying what they like. But at home, no snack is pre-packed or plastic,” she tells TBI.
She further adds that for grocery shopping, she prefers local grocers over supermarkets so she can carry her dabbas and containers to bring the grains, lentils, rice and other food essentials.
4. Really? Are You Still Buying Plastic Earbuds?
Now, this is something that my family followed for the longest time. We would roll small bits of cotton on a matchstick to use as earbuds. Can you imagine the amount of plastic we can end up replacing? Sustainability rules!
5. Scrub Face the Natural Way!
Priya shares with us her simple DIY scrub recipe. “A spoonful of coffee scrubs mixed with 5-10 drops of coconut oil. That’s it’s, that’s the recipe,” she smiles. Mix it well and rub it on your cheeks, chin, forehead and neck. Leave the scrub on for about 15 minutes before washing with cold water.
6. Bye-bye Colourful Plastic loofahs and Hello Coconut Husk
Loofahs exfoliate and help in removing dead skin. And plastic loofah seemed like the only possible option until I stumbled upon a coconut husk loofah. Can anything be more natural?
7. Aches in Joints? Say hi to a Homemade Miracle Cream
Priya swears by her recipe of anti-inflammatory creams made of eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender essential oil and coconut oil. Soothe your sore muscles with this natural blend and get ready to conquer the day!
TIP: Replace the herbs with citronella oil and mix it with coconut oil or aloe vera gel for a natural mosquito repellent!
8. Shampoo in a Plastic bottle? Bad News for Sustainability
Shampoo bottles add to the plastic waste lying in our landfills. Seema shares that she no longer purchases shampoo bottles. She soaks soapnut, shikakai and gooseberry overnight. The following day, she strains the liquid and uses it as a shampoo to rid her scalp of impurities, dust and dirt!
9. Sustainability Shine: Apple Cider Vinegar For Glistening Locks
Priya shares that her soft, shiny hair is not an outcome of some expensive hair conditioner and apple cider vinegar (ACV). In fact, she no longer purchases hair conditioners because the vinegar does the job so well for her.
It’s very simple to use: Mix about two tablespoons of ACV with half a mug of water and rinse your hair after you are done shampooing. Wash off again in a minute or two.
10. Clogged drains? Baking Soda to the Rescue
Why purchase toxic drain powder when a simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar does the trick? This super easy kitchen hack of Priya’s unclogs drains without poisoning your pipes and ultimately the water bodies.
What have you stopped buying to make your home a green and clean space? Share with us in the comments!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)