Look inside your kitchen, you just might save the world!

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Understanding your kitchen can help save the environment

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Kitchens are a boon to mankind. These tiny rooms, sometimes large, feed us and keep us alive. ‘Eat to live’ or ‘Live to eat’, whichever one is your life’s philosophy. But one can unravel more. Under the first masked look, lies a gloomy future, sheathed in plastic, cellophane, aluminium, Styrofoam, glass, cardboard and paper, screaming “run!”. That is only if we want to go so deep, otherwise its just a plain old delicious visit.

I think our kitchens can become an excellent metric to gauge the amount of harm each of us does to the environment. We love to eat amazing food and people all over the world want to feed us all that amazing food. That is and when came in the dear old pal, food packaging. It was 3,500 years ago and guess where? Yes, you are right, it is Egypt. They are the wizards of preservation – art, dead people and well, food can’t be far behind. Slowly the whole globe started helping and building it, first from glass, to tree barks and leaves, to earthenware, to paper, to tin, to plastic and then to all that we have today. It was a long arduous journey, but we aren’t tired yet. We are determined on our journey to create more monstrosity adding heavier and heavier packaging, chipping away bit by bit at the precious pots of our long accumulating good karma.

Being conscious about the environment is a lifestyle. Small steps, with one small swap each time can go a long way. And here are many benefits of becoming conscious users.

Food packaging solely contributes to more than 50% of the waste generated all over the world (Food waste, another bad karma for another time). From groceries to takeouts, deliveries, packed foods, kitchen storage, cutlery, dinnerware, tiffins and a long, very long list of other things, we never cease to use in our daily lives. Eco-friendly, sustainable, green, zero-waste are just a few words we hear around all the time. But these remain like the abstruse and convoluted ‘isms’ which are cased away for the elite esoterica. I once read that, “the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that somebody else will save it”. But, many droplets together make for an ocean. It is essential that we start somewhere and with something. We may not be able to do a lot all at once and it is fine. Being conscious about the environment is a lifestyle and Rome surely wasn’t built in one day. Small steps, with one small swap each time, can go a long way.

All of us have different routines, different eating habits, different lifestyles. Many things on the internet do not even apply to our varied selves. But we all can have our different ideas to suit our unique homes and to bring those tiny tweaks. Also, there are many benefits to becoming conscious users. We save the environment and the planet and that is by far the biggest one here on the list. We save ourselves and cut our future generations some slack, this being a tie for the first place. Very often we can save time on our shopping errands because we aren’t using single-use products and don’t need to buy it. This inevitably saves a lot of money also. Add to that, if we aren’t using it enough, it will not be produced enough. People will start making efforts towards bringing more sustainable products to the market, we do not have a dearth of venture ideas and entrepreneurs. A very important one at the end, switch from packaged foods to locally available, unpackaged healthy options. We all know what I mean by that here. Better more, try making it at home sometimes, all the fat, sugar, salt and crap that goes into it will by itself make you more conscious. Next time, when you want to buy chips, try thinking about plastic, fat, salt, preservatives, earth, your future. Horrify yourself a little, it will be better than ‘The Conjuring’ and happily grab a fruit instead. Ta-da! You are blessed with health, both for the planet and for you.

Bringing in change is a little tedious at first, but after you have done it enough number of times, it comes naturally and becomes a habit, etched into your existence for eternity.

It is very easy for us to just grab whatever first thing that pops in front of us. That doesn’t need much thinking. No involvement of emotion or time. But wreaks havoc nonetheless. We all know, shortcuts can be fatal and that hard work always pays off better in the long run. So each time you are buying something, put in some thought. Think of how it was made, what went into making it, where did it come from, what is the real benefit you get out of it, are there any good alternatives for it, what is the lifespan of the product, where will it end after you are done using it. It sure is a little tedious at first, but after you have done it enough number of times, it comes naturally and becomes a habit, etched into your existence for eternity. And there is no shame in re-using or buying things that will last longer and will not need a run to the market often.

Change something! And all of us are change-makers in our own right.

For some inspiration, we can always think about how things happened when our grandparents were young. That very often helps. To tell you of some things we do at our home, each day to pack rotis in the tiffin, my mom used aluminum foil. Many disadvantages of it, period! We changed that. My dad got a muslin dhoti after an offering at a temple. It lay unused and so we cut out dainty squares to pack rotis now. It stays far from getting soggy, remains soft even after hours of being packed, we don’t buy foil anymore and we waste less with each passing day. Another one is with tea. We used to buy tea bags because it was easier to use. There are hundreds of so-called eco-friendly options available. But we still are adding to the waste. We switched to buying leaves instead and got a couple of tea infusers. It is as easy as bags and also lets me control how many leaves I want to use. We stopped using plastic in any of our dinnerware. It is either stainless steel, melamine or glass. A few couples of generations can live their lifetimes eating out of it and they won’t wear out. We carry our own bags on shopping errands. And most times a water bottle and some snacks too. We switched from eating packaged junk to some yummy fruits. And very honestly, fruits taste too good and this helps the farmers alongside. There is more, but I hand over the baton to you now. Change something! And all of us are change-makers in our own right. Going green can become a household process then.

We all know it, we all see it, we all talk about it. It is time we all start doing it. Each contribution is cherished, no matter how small.

Featured Image Credits: Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Priya Agarwal
Priya Agarwal is very passionate about sustainability. Seeing a healthier planet, which grows and eats better, is her heart's truest fantasy. And food, it is an inseparable aspect of her life.

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