Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that our world is coming to an end. No, I’m serious! With the first Icelandic glacier that melted (and they had quite a heartbreaking funeral for it), Amazonian forest fires (that are literally the planet’s lungs) and the rising global temperatures, the future of our world is quite bleak. Think of these phenomena as the mere beginning of the planet’s cry for help. In such a time, being eco-friendly in our way of living is the need of the hour.

In the wake of the recent climate change protests and strikes, I felt a moral obligation (and you ought to as well!), to change my laidback attitude. Despite having this epiphany, I knew that the changes I make have to be practical and easy to implement. Living in a metropolitan city like Mumbai limits the number of things you can actually do. So, here are the 5 habits that I have cultivated in order to limit my carbon footprint.

1. Start Using A Menstrual Cup

This one is for all you gals out there. Switch. To. A. Menstrual. Cup. I cannot stress the way this little thing has changed my life completely (you can read all about my experience with menstrual cups here). Not only do these silicon/rubber/latex inventions cut down your plastic waste by a ton (goodbye pads and tampons!), but they also last for almost a decade. To break it down in monetary terms, you spend around ₹600 to ₹1,000 once every 10 years for your period. It can’t get better than that, amirite?

For sceptics who are unsure of making this switch, trust me I was in the same boat. Just give it a try, nothing can go wrong.

2. Invest In A Steel Water Bottle

For those who know me well, know that I’m pretty anti-plastic. I used to be one of those people who bought plastic bottles when travelling. But after watching a couple of shocking documentaries, I was permanently scarred. These plastic bottles are not at all eco-friendly. I decided to make the most obvious change and invest in a good steel water bottle. This means no plastic bottles and cups anymore. Another suggestion is to invest in a sippy cup/sippy bottle that has a steel straw.

3. Purchase Vegan & Cruelty-Free Beauty Products

Who doesn’t love animals? I, for one, am totally against animal cruelty. When I read that some of my favourite beauty brands practised animal testing, I was shocked and quite disappointed, to be honest. I began to question my choices⁠—I could surely give up my favourite lipstick if that meant taking a stand against a conglomerate that couldn’t care less? And I did! I have switched to beauty brands that I know are vegan and cruelty-free and I couldn’t be happier with this decision.

Moreover, one of the things I did as a broke college student was to use make-up wipes every single day. In case y’all didn’t know already, make-up wipes have a high content of polyester, that contributes to the tidal wave of plastic pollution. One piece of advice is to switch to biodegradable wipes or just invest in a good face wash! And tada! You’re one step closer to being eco-friendly.

4. Cut Down On Ordering Food Delivery

It’s 10 pm, you just came back from work or college, and you have zero motivation to cook food. Ordering a pizza or biryani sounds tempting, amirite? I feel ya. That’s all fine for once in a while, but what we don’t understand is the gravity of ordering take-out regularly. The microplastics that make up this takeaway box are extremely hazardous once disposed into the oceans.

Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts where I decided to change my lifestyle to make it healthier (and boy, did that work out really well! Read all about it here). I decided to cut down on ordering take-out and instead make more food at home. This is not only eco-friendly but leads to a healthier lifestyle!

5. Recycle As Much As You Can

Whether you ordered something online or bought some veggies from the grocery store, the items are bound to be wrapped in abundant plastic, no? When we think about it, it’s so hard to live plastic-free. So, in situations where we just cannot avoid plastic waste, what can we do? In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have plastic, to begin with. We can start off by recycling the plastic that we have at home. Next up, recycle paper as well! Make sure to segregate your dry and wet waste. You should ideally dispose of glass in specific bins as well. Keep an eye out for such recycling bins in your neighbourhood.

So, which eco-friendly habit will you adopt starting today? It’s all about the small things and it could start with you!

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