Buying a cloth diaper for her son triggered a massive change in Mumbai-based Sonika Bhasin’s life. She realised just how bad disposable diapers are for the environment.

A National Geographic report found that over three lakh disposable diapers are either burned or sent to landfills every minute, contributing to climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and ocean pollution.

After reading about the harmful effects of disposable diapers, Sonika started making small changes to live a sustainable life.

She shares her experiences and tips on zero waste practices, sustainable parenting, and leading an environmentally conscious lifestyle.

She says that she started using reusable products from cloth wipes instead of wet wipes, biodegradable detergents and bioenzymes.

She then eliminated plastic from her kitchen and reduced waste by composting, carrying bags and containers for grocery shopping, buying sweets, and getting takeaway from restaurants.

She also carries a water bottle, napkin, cutlery and a dabba (box) when she goes out, ensuring that no packaging enters her kitchen.

Sonika is raising her four-year-old son Abir to be eco-conscious by sliding information about the environment into normal conversations.

“We speak to him about why balloons are not good or why plastic is not good. He has never asked for these things. We celebrated three of his birthdays with no balloons and plastic decor,” she says.

“Abir loves composting and making bioenzymes,” she says, “and also teaches his friends to compost.”

If you want to switch to a sustainable lifestyle but are unsure how, here are a few tips by Sonika:

1. Start out gradually by making a small change; take baby steps. “Pick any one thing that you find easy. Start by carrying a bottle of water wherever you go.”

2. Think/read about the environmental impact of your actions. “Start being conscious and mindful.”

3. Don’t consume mindlessly. “Reduce the amount of things you buy. This itself can have a huge impact. Be aware and think if you really need a product.”

4. Consider sustainable diapers/period products. “Use reusable pads or menstrual cups instead of sanitary pads or tampons.”

5. Carry your own bags when you go shopping. “Just set out on this path and you will want to do more. You will feel happy when you avoid a plastic bag. It will give you a sense of satisfaction,” shares Sonika.