Community action and lifestyle change is integral when dealing with climate change and environmental problems. People in Pakistan are fed up with the unhealthy environment and the massive trash problem which we see on display. Youth in Pakistan, just like the rest of the world, is questioning the unsustainable lifestyle fueled by consumerism, synthetic food production, dominance of oil & plastics, and lack of any curbs on carbon emissions as it leaves behind a world full of smog, disease, lack of clean water, micro-plastics, polluted air and rising sea and temperature levels. While there is a great deal of responsibility on administrative setup in providing basic services, there is a lot of responsibility on our shoulders as well especially on big corporations who have insanely huge carbon footprints. Having the best waste management services in a city will just ensure that more and more trash just piles up in our landfills. We all need to start today in changing the way we live by incorporating products that are more environmentally friendly. Ask yourself: will this product go back to mother Earth (biodegrade), can the product be reused so you don’t have to keep purchasing more? Is the product sourced ethically? Does the product produce any emissions or pollute the water during or after its use?
According to the World Bank, more than 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every day. Half of all plastic produced is developed to be used only once. Only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled, 12% incinerated and 79% has accumulated in landfills, dumps, or the natural environment. However there is hope – we do have readily available substitutes that are environmentally friendly. Adopting a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t mean you completely revamp your life-style overnight. You can start small. Making a habit is more important which requires a slow and steady uptake of sustainable products. That’s why we have listed 10 things you can do to get started:
Biodegradable Kitchenware: If you’re planning a party outdoor, or if you’re a home chef making online deliveries, or you’re taking lunch to work or if you’re a full scale restaurant, there is a range of biodegradable cutlery and container available to get rid of plastic/Styrofoam plates, straws, bowls and boxes. Cutlery made out of bagasse (a byproduct of sugar cane), paper straws, Kraft bowls are all compostable products. We see single use cutlery and containers lying around in piles of trash every day. It’s about time that we force restaurants and other online food deliveries to use biodegradable and compostable alternatives.
Reusable Straws: Plastic straws are a menace. Not only do they add to the plastic waste problem, they also cause serious harm to wildlife especially aquatic species. Paper straws are a good alternative but reusable straws are even better. Substitutes for plastic straws now include metal, bamboo and silicone straws!
Toothbrush: Bamboo based tooth brush are a great alternative to the plastic based handle. Bamboo is a natural product which is easily biodegradable.
Reusable Bag: The cleanest option and the most environmentally friendly bag is the one that is never produced. Using a cloth or a jute bag over and over again will obviate the need to use single-use plastic bags that are widely available in markets. Have one in your car or your workplace so that you can use it whenever you shop next time.
Reusable Water Bottle: Plastic bottles are one of the top pollutants. It takes 450 years for plastic to degrade. Using a reusable water bottle such as those made with stainless steel will keep our water cold (or hot) and substitute the many plastic bottles you would have purchased.
Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Products: For women and girls, using a reusable menstrual cup not only saves the environment but also saves money. Recircle is local brand that makes menstrual cups in Pakistan! If you still don’t prefer menstrual cups then reusable cloth pads by The Red Code can be another eco-friendly choice. Another option is the biodegradable pads by Daisy – so many options!
Paper Packaging: Kraft boxes (paper/cardboard) and sealable paper bags (which can be reused) are a popular eco-friendly option. Check out the options at www.dvm.com.pk
Bulk Buying & Reusable Containers: People around the world are moving towards a concept called zero-waste. The idea is that instead of buying packaged food especially grains, spices, pulses and nuts, you bring your own containers (BYOB) and take what you require. This is a great alternative to the food that is packed, branded and then transported miles away to stores. That is the main idea of the Davaam Life Store which is Pakistan’s first sustainable retail store promoting zero waste. Bring usable containers (or buy them from us), fill them with your oils, grains, nuts or spices, weigh and pay as you go.
Mineral Water At Home: Those 19L mineral water bottles that you need to change every week in your dispenser? They add to the environmental problem as they need to be changed after a certain number of uses and get transported to your home through a questionable distribution system. Having a MyWater subscription would mean that your home tap water can be converted into mineral water with an online app that tells you the quality of water. No more hassle of plastic bottle exchange and delivery.
Compost: If you are farmer or a home garden owner or a plant enthusiast, using natural compost made out of organic food waste is the best thing you can do for your greenery. Compost can provide the natural organic balance and enriches your soil by providing various nutrients.
Visit us at: Davaam Life Store, Phase 6, DHA, Karachi.