Simple ways to reduce waste in your daily life
The average carbon footprint of a person is 12.7 tonnes a year in U.K. The global carbon footprint is 38,000 megatonnes per year. We all know that carbon emissions contribute towards climate change. If they are not reduced drastically in the next few years, the temparatures will rise from 1.5 C to even 5C depending on the action we take now.
We dont need awareness anymore (I think all of us know about this), what we need is ACTION and NOW.
What does Ayurveda say?
Ayurveda says that the microcosm (human beings) is a reflection of the microcosm (planet/universe). It is true that just like our planet Earth, our bodies are more & more polluted physically & mentally. Historically, scientific progress has improved our health but it is crazy to say that our generation is the first generation to be LESS healthy than our parents (Research by the American Journal of Epidemiology). By living sustainably, we will also improve our health.
In an ideal case scenario, we would like to be looking at the pandemic as an eye opener. Indeed, the global carbon emissions massively dropped in 2020/21 and all countries cooperated to eradicate the virus.
It does mean that we can reduce emissions if governments took the right actions. Some countries are definitely doing more for climate change than others.
However this blog is about what we can do in our houses to make a difference
and make the planet a better place for our children. Yes because our kids may well live until 2100 and the planet might have seen some climate catastrophes and it may not be the same place anymore.
The major contributors to carbon footprint
The main factors that affect your carbon footprint are:
Your diet, especially if you are a meat or dairy eater
How much you drive and which car you use
The amount of energy you use (house electricity, gas, appliances)
How much waste you produce that goes to landfill
So if you eat meat 5 times a week, commute long distance and produce massive plastic waste, you will have a high carbon footprint!
How to reduce waste
So how to reduce waste? Remember recycling more is not the best option as most of the items in the recycling bin are NOT recycled and some are even sent to Asian countries for them to manage.
The 5 R method
Created by Beatrice Johnson, this method is the core of zero-waste living. She is a French mum of 3 living in the USA and her entire waste for 1 year is in 1 small jar!!!
REFUSE: Learn to say no to unnecessary items coming into the house (even if it’s free!)
REDUCE: Choose to live simply and let go of the things they don't need to make them available to their community
REUSE: Swap disposables for reusables (everyone already has in their homes the essential swaps, no need to rush online to buy something: look in your home first, repair, buy secondhand).
RECYCLE: When the above doesn't work, go for recycling ♻
ROT: Implement a compost system for all the organic waste.
Benefits of becoming "zero-waste"
· Reduces consumption of toxic & harmful products that affect health (hormones!!)
· Reduces plastic & general waste
· Reduces storage space (E.g all the bottles under the sink!)
· Saves you money
· Your buying behaviour supports & feeds into more sustainable companies
The objective is not to become "zero-waste" overnight because that is impossible but become aware and start taking small steps towards a more conscious lifestyle, one that does not pollute MOTHER EARTH and our own bodies.
I have been on this journey for the last 6+ years and I am still learning. If you have any more tips, please feel free to email me so I can share with everyone.
It's time to go beyond the 'bring your own bag' or 'don't drink from a plastic bottle', it's time to make your own multipurpose products at home and buy consciously.
Start your zero-waste journey with these basic ingredients
1. Vinegar : used for centuries, vinegar is an extremely versatile and affordable cleaning agent. It easily cuts through mildew, bacteria, and grime, and it's safe to use on a wide variety of surfaces (except marble, granite and wood flooring).
2. Castille soap or savon de Marseille: usually made from olive + coconut oil, this soap is plant based, natural and extremely versatile (for cleaning products but also for body, hair & face wash. You can buy it bars and in liquid form).
The most famous brand is Dr Bronners (a bit pricey) but you can also buy it from aromatherapy & cosmetics suppliers.
3. Baking soda: you might already know this one! Baking soda helps to clean, remove dirt & smell. It can be used to rinse off veggies, clean carpets, upholstery, walls, bathroom, toilets, shoes, laundry, teeth, jewellery....
For harder to clean surfaces like toilets, citric acid is useful.
4. Essential oils are powerful actives that have therapeutic benefits along with beautiful scents. For now, I would recommend only 3 EOs:
Lavender: antispasmodic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibacterial, anesthetic, immune-boosting, and antiviral.
Tea-Tree: anti-bacterial, antiviral
Lemon: remove grime and smells fresh & clean
Another gentle & multipurpose cleaner, which I personally like for the bathroom as it disinfects properly and smells fresh
· 1 cup distilled water
· 1 tablespoon unscented liquid castile soap (in U.K. & USA, Dr Bronners soap is available, in France use savon de Marseille)
· 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (lavender & tea tree)
Mix the water & the soap and add the essential oil. Your cleaner is ready to use!
Kitchen & window cleaner
This is all surface cleaner that I use for the kitchen, windows and even carpet stains.The acid on the vinegar kills the bacteria & germs. It smells acidic (hey it’s vinegar) but fades away quickly. It’s super natural as all ingredients are edible !
Even my son helps me clean with it. Not suitable for marble & granite.
For 1l of antibacterial multipurpose cleaner (kitchen, sink, dining table, oven, glass, window, highchair):
-500ml of distilled water (cool boiled water)
-500ml of vinegar
-15 drops of tea tree essential oil
-15 drops of lemon/orange essential oil
For non-wooden floor, skip the oil.
For a small batch:
· 1/2 cup of hot water
· 3 teaspoons of lemon juice (approximately 1/2 a lemon)
· 1 teaspoon of olive oil
· 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil (optional)
Use a wooden mop with a repurposed cloth (remember our mothers used old t-shirts?) to clean the floors.
1 cup of white vinegar
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of salt
15 drops of lavender essential oil.
Pour it into a large spray bottle (either glass or a re-purposed plastic one) and spray it liberally onto your carpet. Allow the carpet to dry, then vacuum the treated areas.
You can easily use vinegar or castille soap cleaner to clean the toilet.
If you want to clean further, here is a super simple recipe
· 1 cup Citric Acid
· 3 cups baking soda
· Mix citric acid and baking soda together then store in a quart mason jar somewhere dry.
· To clean toilet, sprinkle a few table spoons into bowl, let fizz for awhile and then scrub. My kids love to watch this!
· Make sure you add the cleaner to your bowl only, not your tank.
Zero waste Personal care
Basic Ingredients for personal care
Sesame seed oil
Unrefined shea butter
Your favourite essential oil: I love Rose & Jasmine
Simple body wash
You don't need to use soap everyday as it will strip your skin from natural moisture (unless you are very dirty or sweaty).
A simple mix of Chickpea powder, turmeric and sesame oil is a great way to naturally cleanse your skin.
If you want something fancier, I have launched Ubtan powder which is a beautiful mix of herbs to make your skin glow and reduce skin problems .
Luxurious Body wash
· 1/4 cup of organic liquid honey
· 1/4 cup of oil of your choice (sesame oil)
· 1/2 cup of castille soap
· 1 tsp of Vitamine E
· 10 drops of Lavender essential oil
Mix all the ingredients and use in the next few months.
If you don't want to make this, SOAP BARS are always the most green option. You can buy Rose, Sandalwood & Turmeric bars on my website.
Homemade Ayurvedic shampoo
· 1 part of Aritha powder
· 1 part of Shikakai powder
· 1/2 part of Amla
Mix all these ingredients, add hot water and apply on your hair. Massage 2 minutes and rinse off.
Otherwise shampoo bars are the best green option.
Did you know that Ayurveda says that the sweet taste does NOT clean teeth?
instead it’s recommended to use bitter, astringent & salty taste.
This is a unique recipe that I have created that will really make your teeth & gums healthy.
Again 100 % natural as only edible herbs & spices are used
Currently toothpastes have many harmful ingredients like triclosan, paraben, fluoride, SLS…
A simple mix of Triphala & Trikatu powders with a pich of Turmeric and Himalayan Pink salt is the BEST NATURAL toothpowder.
Add sesame oil if you would like to make a paste with few drops of peppermint essential oil. Add water to this and it becomes your mouthwash!
You can buy Triphala & Trikatu powders online. Both are used for digestive issues.
You can also buy TOOTHPASTE TABLETS in glass jars on Amazon.