30 Desi Ways To Go Eco-Friendly
Who ever said Indians didn’t know how to live sustainably? Here are 30 desi eco-friendly alternatives to everyday products we use.
Living outside India has made me immensely more conscious of my cultural roots and I feel more attached to India! Every day I am reminded of the milkman’s cycle bell, the tarakari vendor’s call of “Soppoo“, the autorickshaw signaling someone coming in to our street, the Basavanna’s nadaswaram, the rhythm of Ali Jula, the microphone from the nearby temple blaring “Kausalya Suprajarama“, the adjacent mosque echoing “Alla hu Akbar” and children calling out “Ganesha ittideera“.
The smell of home-sambrani to dry my hair, mallige bushes in the front yard, freshly ground wheat flour at the mill, butter turning into ghee; the sight of people at home, people everywhere, colorfully painted houses of various sizes and shapes, traffic, cows chewing leaves at the city market, Gulmohar, Neem, coconut and drumstick trees, Kadalekai parshe, Karaga and Yakshagana…
And as far as an eco friendly lifestyle goes, most of the traditional Indian ways serve as a model example! Each region in India has its own set of eco-friendly habits It is important to educate our younger generation about these habits.
Here’s a list of desi eco-friendly alternatives to products that we buy from supermarkets that we can use in our daily lives:
1. Coconut fibre instead of plastic scrubbers
We all know that plastic is choking the earth. Why not go back to using coconut fibre to scrub dishes?
2. Soap nut/besan instead of soap bars
The bath soaps that we buy tend to have artificial fragrances and foaming agents that are harmful to the skin and the bath water mixed with the residue is harmful to the soil. Think about reviving the use of soap nut [antvalada kai], Besan and wholewheat flour make excellent skin scrubbers too!
3. Tamarind/rock salt instead of dishwashing soaps
Dishwashing soaps also have chemicals that are rough on your hands, and you may unknowingly be eating some of it if traces are left on the dishes after washing. Tamarind and rock salt and ash from your fire place make excellent scrubbers for even the tough and greasy stains.
4. Dhoopam stick instead of air fresheners
Instead of using aerosols that are harmful to the environment why not light a Dhoopam stick? Keeps away mosquitoes too!
5. Shikakai powder instead of shampoos
Chemicals and foaming agents in shampoos are harmful to your hair and scalp in the long run, and the residue is also harmful to the soil. Why not go back to Shikakai powder, which is also a natural conditioner? Try mixing Methi powder in coconut milk and apply on your hair before taking a bath, for that shiny, silky look! Or dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water, apply on hair and wash it off with water!
6. Steel bottles/travel mugs insted of plastic water bottles
If you drink regularly from a plastic water bottle, you ingest harmful substances too. How about steel bottles/travel mugs?
7. Copper vessels instead of nonstick utensils
It is better to use thick bottomed copper/steel/brass vessels than the non-stick cookware. They are safe and last forever whereas the nonstick cookware has to be discarded once the Teflon coating wears out.
8. Steel bins instead of plastic storage boxes
Grandma’s steel dabbas are best to store dry ingredients in your larder and to carry lunch!
9. Pots instead of water coolers
Remember the good old kooja? The water tastes delicious and is healthy too!
10. Henna instead of nail polish
Nail paints contain plastic and harmful chemicals. How about painting your hands with henna?
11. Ecosystems instead of manicured lawns
As more residential areas in our cities blindly ape the west and construct manicured lawns in front of their houses, precious insect and bird habitats are disturbed and are even going extinct. Did you know sparrows are vanishing...
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