Waste Management

The Most Important R – Refuse!


We learned the 3 R’s of waste management in school – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Lately the Zero Waste Movement has expanded this

Reduce: Use Less

Reuse: Don’t just throw things away or send them for recycling – use it for something else

Recycle: Send it to the recycling center. This is easier said than done. Often waste ends up in the dump because it wasn’t put in the right bin or wasn’t cleaned before being thrown away.

Recover: Sometimes it’s possible to recover energy or raw materials from items that cannot be, reused, repaired or recycled

Replace: Adopting eco-friendly products vs. those that produce trash

Repair: India has an amazing repair culture, torn pants, take them to the tailor. Broken chappal – guaranteed there is a mochi within walking distance.

And Finally – my new Favourite R – Refuse. It’s almost the same as reduce – but it is more about actively refusing. For example, every time I go to a restaurant, I make the waiter write down “NO STRAW” with my order. It may sound a bit over the top, but believe me, I’ve ended up with plenty a straw even after repeating myself about 10 times.  


Living an Intentional Life – A beginners Guide

No Comments

We live in a world of modern conveniences. From Coffee-To-Go to plastic bags for everything. And in our fast paced lifestyles with jam packed schedules we lean on these conveniences not realising the kind of impact they have on our planet. Giving these up isn’t exactly easy and often means thinking beyond the now and carrying around a few more things than usual

The most important lesson I’ve learned lately – is the idea of living an Intentional Life. For someone as forgetful as me (Super long to-do lists basically get me through life), it hasn’t been easy.  

Here are a couple of the easiest changes I’ve made:

  • Plastic Bags
    • Plastic Bags are the WORST! I am ashamed that  I have used them my entire life without realising the impact. These bags can take up to 1000 years to degrade. This ugly convenience ends up in landfills and often in our waterways  (Inset photo of stream full of plastic Bags) – Instead I keep a carry bag in your purse. I have this super cute one from Ikea that conveniently folds into a little pouch. I use this for everything- from grocery shopping to carrying home leftovers.

      My super companion
    • I used to live on bottled water, mostly because I really didn’t trust the water being handed to me. Till I went to the beach one day and found it covered in empty bottles and caps scattered in the sand. Over the monsoon the sea had washed these back up on the shore. In 2016 alone Rs. 3,000 Crores worth of bottled water was sold in India. That’s 13,636,363,636 – 13 billion bottles. I still don’t trust the water anywhere I go – so I carry my own refillable bottle now



The beginning


Back in 2014, I saw a post about the “Zero Waste Movement”. A girl had managed to fit all of her trash in a Jar. Two whole years of trash!

Screen shot 2018-05-16 at 3.09.56 PM

It sounded like something I would want to do, but – I didn’t do much about it or change my life in any way. Zero waste seemed like such a far away concept – something I couldn’t quite achieve.

Some time last year something registered and I decided to make a change.

What made me change?

Okay, so, Imagine a beach, the high tide line is basically trash. Rewind 4 or 5 years. Imagine a beach, only 4 hours from Mumbai with clear blue water and white sand. Yup, you would be pissed too. Over the years the garbage problem got worse. The tree line joined the high tide line, and the village’s dumping ground joined the party.

So, as you can see, my reasons were completely selfish. Well, at first at least.


The trash bugged, seriously bugged me. This pretty beach wasn’t exactly “pristine” anymore, had been ruined. So after a bunch of whining, I decided to clean it up. With a rake and a garbage bag, I started cleaning up this mess. I was pissed, people had thrown trash just about everywhere and it was impossible to get to all of it. This went on for a while. Maybe for a year I would clean up the patch right besides the beach. We thought about adding trash cans, about asking the village to create a dumping ground (somewhere else), and went as far as scowling at the rest of the villagers throwing their trash at the edge of the village (right outside our family home). Till one day I walked into a bush and found something which looked all too familiar: a wrapper that once contained burger from McDonalds, empty paper cup with plastic cap and straw in tow.

Oh crap, that was probably mine. Nope, it was definitely mine. I picked it up and added it to one of my piles. Covered in dust and sweat I stood there staring at my neat piles wondering what I was going to do with all this. All the old water bottles, empty quarters of cheap liquor, old chappals, bags in which there once was oil or milk and of course – remnants of my lunch at Mcdonalds.

That’s when it dawned on me. It wasn’t just about cleaning up. For so long things had been about sweeping the problem under the rug. It had never occured to me that cleaning up wasn’t the solution. The solution is to create less trash and that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do.

Since then I’ve learned A LOT more about the problem with trash and my motivations have changed, but more on that later.