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  • Writer's pictureSafoora hafeez

Going Low Waste As An Individual

When thinking about the term "going low-waste," the sudden thing that we get in mind that it is impossible as there is a lot of waste in our system and we can not get absolute low waste or zero waste. But that is not true. For the past two years, I am living a low waste life and today I wanted to share how you too can. So let us begin!

Firstly I want to tell you that going "zero waste must be your destination and living a low waste life must be your road. I think that this might be confusing to you but by the end of this blog post, I am sure that you will be able to know the meaning of this.

Also, I want to mention at the beginning of this blog that I am still on the road and, have to yet reach the destination.

There are lots of factors that make the journey of living a zero-waste lifestyle of every person very much different. So, do not compare yourself with anyone but, compare yourself with your past.

For me, the factors that affect this thing are:

  1. Financial Independence

  2. Geographical factors

  3. People around you.

  4. Be aware and then take action! (bonus topic)

Financial Independence

In this blog post, I am going to tell you about every factor listed above with the example of my personal life.

The reason why I put this on first is that this factor has the most significance in this journey. Talking about me, I do not earn me on living so, all of the payments are done by my parents. So, I can not buy things without their permission, so that actually restrict some of the roads, but I am OK with it. Those roads basically include doing amazon shopping, shopping from other countries, etc. But I am sure, some of you might be earning or else can have access to a lot of money and can buy things on their own. If you are one of those then you can buy things that are costly and environmentally friendly such as menstrual cups, sustainable cutlery, stainless steel straw, etc.

So, if you are from the first category (just like me) then, you must not be able to do a lot of shopping then you might actually look up to elder's advice, a bit of googling, etc and sometimes even DIY. But if you are from the second category, and are having access to all those facilities such as shopping from various places such as online shopping, etc. then, you must do shop (REMEMBER! only shop the things when necessary). There are many shops which sell low waste products. I recommend you to check here. This is a bulk store finder near your area. I know that this doesn't show stores from India so if you do know people who run a store, make sure to let them register there!

Some other stores that have a lot of great variety are Package free shop and Amazon.

Although Amazon sells with lots of packaging you can ask them to not use plastic and if necessary then use paper. I also did that once and they partially gave me a low waste order (I bought things during the pandemic and because of this they covered that in plastic).

Geographical Factor:

This one is the fact which I wasn't able to understand on the first go but this year during the pandemic, I was able to learn that every place is having some sort of history, and change of place also result in the change of techniques of how do we deal with things.

Firstly I thought that we should adopt every single thing that the United States and then we will be able to deal with every single problem, But that is not true. In March after I started to engage with the Fridays For Future community and started to protest against Environment Impact Assessment Draft 2020, I realized that we live in different places, so things are also different.

For example, I heard and saw in some youtube videos that every single vegetable is wrapped in plastic and sold in supermarkets, but when I see this in India, every single vegetable is being sold with one. Also, in our day to day life, we do not use as many straws or eat with plastic cutlery (talking with my personal experience, for people giving in metropolitan cities, it might differ)

People Around You:

Just like Finance and geographical factor makes a difference, people you live with or share your house might also differ. If you are in your youth age, and living in your house alone will be a different scenario than when you are a 14-year-old and living with your parents and siblings. Often when taking up any decision, we try to overlook this factor. I overlooked that too once, but now I understand what things I should do and what not. As a matter of fact, I can even connect the dots on how should I start a conversation and how to actually work on certain things. Personally, I can not overlook the fact that I am living in a family of 5, and if I want any change in my house, then I must have the answers to every What If's.

But I think as every family is unique, you must try to take time to realize about all these factors. These three points, I call them the pillar of any decision, especially when going low waste.

This is three first and foremost step to go low waste. I know that many people might have known about this so, I would like to share the next step with you.

Be aware and then take action:

Personally for me, living in the country that has the second-highest population with 1.3 billion people living around you and being the seventh-largest country in terms of the area, there is a lot to be aware of and a lot to let go of. The reason why I said this is because until now there is some instance where we as humans aren't able to get the correct information. But sometimes, we aren't able to get the information at the time we need it. Over the past couple of years since hunting for sustainable solutions started, I wanted things to take place as in things that happen in the western world. But during the past year, I was somewhat lucky as I was able to know more about things that happen nowadays in India. Many things happened this year and I was actually feeling bad about it. Some of them were the Assam floods, Bihar Floods, Hyderabad Floods, Baghjan oil spill, Making of Draft EIA in March 2020, The proposal of Thano project, Save Mollem movement, Corals Reclamation in Mumbai, and Aarey Forest cutting (which is now not going to happen as Maharashtra government has shifted metro 3 car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg), etc. This is only about what happened in India, Many things happened during this year in other parts of the world too, going low waste, according to my perspective, is one of the solutions to the issues, although these are all the issues that somewhat include our policymakers and even big-businessmen. But we can try to raise our voices to be more and more audible. With this, I want to say that we must be aware of the things which are not even directly related to low-waste living.

As this blog is about going low waste, I want to say that the best way to go low waste is to search your locals and try not to do more online shopping. As for many reasons, I would say that you must actually start hunting because I know there must be a lot in your locals that will amaze you and as much as you can, try to talk to your elders or search up on the internet.

Many things are needed to be covered but unfortunately, I was not able to cover them all. So, if you want me to write part 2 of going low-waste as an individual, comment under this blog or message me on any social media site, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever platform suits you.

In the upcoming year, I will try to be more active in writing my blog post, as it was my first year. So, I wasn't able to be more consistent.

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