The Green beginning

Most of us want to be kind to the environment. But we just do not know how and where to begin. I was in the same state of mind until I decided it is high time to make that dreaded first step.

Hurdles:

In simple words, I was worried if I would be laughed at. Would my friends think why am I making so much fuss over mundane things? Would I be able to convince people around that I am spending these extra money to actually reap benefits for my family and our planet earth? This was the main hurdle. Another thing was all the go green methods seem to be extremely daunting not to forget that they seemed to be expensive too. When weighing your family’s health against money, health wins hands down. The only niggling part in decision making for me was that the processes seemed to be “daunting” and difficult.

Then I convinced myself to go slow and take up one at a time. The first step I took was switching over to cloth diapers when my first son was almost a year old.

My first step:

Switching over to cloth diapers was one of the best decisions I took for my children. Though my first child wasn’t exclusively cloth diapered, my second child was almost exclusively cloth diapered (Had to use disposable during periods of incessant rains). Just by reading a few posts about benefits of cloth diapers over disposable, I was convinced to try cloth diapers. The difficult part was finding and purchasing those cloth diapers from India. I would write a detailed post about cloth diapers, where to find them in India etc at a later time.

Progress after the first step:

I was mostly stagnant after the first step. I did not do anything that I could call a ‘green initiative’. I tried to convince my house help to segregate wet and dry (recyclable) wastes. But my efforts proved futile when the garbage collector mixed up everything right at our door step soon after the garbage was collected.

But I kept reading and re-reading a lot of articles that advocate many ‘green initiatives’. Home composting was on top of my list. But there was space constraint (my maid and I share the balcony and there is not much space apart from that) and lack of the same enthusiasm from my husband. This meant that this plan was never going to see the light of day.

Now after staying at my parents’ place for a few months, I have convinced my mother to separate recyclable stuff. She was on board when I tried to explain her that this little something meant little less garbage being dumped at dump yards. Hence the recyclable stuff goes into the recycle bin. Every month people from http://www.kuppathotti.com/ collect the stuff from recycle bin. This is a Chennai based organization that comes home to collect the recyclable items like Newspaper, plastic bottles, glass bottles, batteries and anything that can be recycled. We just have to register at their website and place a request. They even call to confirm that we would be available to sell them our recyclable stuff.

Recent ventures:

I have read about soap berries some time back. But I had no idea where to source them from. Adding to the fact that I am at home ALL the time, I never have a chance to venture out and start inquiring at the local herb shop (Naatu marundu kadai). Then I read about Krya detergent powder which was made from organic soap berries and yes they can be ordered online and they can ship to anywhere in India. All of these meant that I had to try it immediately. I registered at http://krya.in/, placed the order and it was available at the door step in 2 days.

Detailed review and usage instructions will be available soon. Of all the detergents I have tried for my children’s cloth diapers, I liked this the most. I was very happy with the results from using this detergent powder for my children’s laundry as well as mine.

Their website is very informational. They have free recipes for household cleaners online. Do check it out.

I have also started using Khadi’s soap and shampoos. The soaps are glycerine based and I have started loving them. Shampoos are mild and nice. The only problem I have is they have not listed all the ingredients in the soap. It says Key ingredients and lists a few. So I am not 100% sure if they are SLS free. These are available online at Flipkart.com

Next on the list:

  • Try Krya’s dish wash powder
  • Try to use tooth powder (home made or ayurvedic) to ensure that SLS does not get inside our system.
  • Try not to use or buy products that contain SLS
  • Try cloth pads for my sanitary needs instead of disposable.
  • Try home composting. dailydump.org would be the first place to check out if you are based in India.
  • Try Leaf composting/Mulching at my native place where my house help burns the dry leaves that fall off the trees every day.

Suggestions of things to do for beginners like me:

  • If you have babies in diapers, do try out cloth diapers. They are as convenient as disposable. Please refer to scores of information available online. Just by making this switch we can save tonnes of waste in getting into the soil. For Indian scenario, my suggestion would be to read through information in mommygyan.com for how and where to buy cloth diapers.
  • Segregate waste and gather all your recyclable stuff into a separate card board box or bin. Just place this bin in the kitchen so that you can just throw it inside this instead of your usual dustbin. When selling your old newspapers, you can sell these too. Please try http://www.kuppathotti.com/ if you are in Chennai.
  • Try to use soap berry based detergent for your laundry. You can easily place an order online at http://krya.in/ This is going to cost less than 300 rupees. Just a pizza delivery for two would cost more than that. So you are not losing out money in trying this. Further this can be literally done without moving your butt off the chair 🙂
  • Try home composting if you have an open balcony or back yard. I think it would make an interesting science project.

I will keep adding stuff to this list based on my experience.

Thanks for taking time to read!

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