These days, any TV channel we switch on to, or any newspaper we read, we find news blaring from all the sides regarding overuse of plastics, and how our earth will be entirely covered with plastic pretty soon if we don’t mend our ways. So what’s this noise all about. Around 2 million single-use plastic bags are distributed every minute on this earth. 500 million plastic straws – enough to circle the earth twice – are used in America alone every day. These two simple facts are enough to let us understand the magnitude of the problem that human beings have been creating for the environment.
Not just plastics, but the environment is being overburdened by the synthetic and chemical laden products. Many detergents, toothpastes and cosmetics contain micro-granules or microplastics, which finally end up in the ocean. Recent studies have shown that there are more microplastic particles in the oceans than the plankton.
So, how can WE contribute towards our environment? We can do our bit for the environment in many different ways. We can save trees and plant more trees. We can stop the usage of single-use plastics, and reduce the usage of reusable plastics. We can go zero-waste. We can reduce the usage of electricity. We can also reduce the load on our environment by not using synthetically created stuff like detergents, soaps, beauty products etc., and by making these products at home.
Nature has blessed us with plenty. We just need to tap into the wisdom of our ancestors, to understand how they lived in coherence with nature, causing no harm to it, and being part of an ecosystem which thrived along with its other components. Let us check a few ways in which we can forge into natural living methods, thereby saving the environment.
- Make Your Own Detergent: You can make your own laundry detergent using Borax, Washing Soda and Bar soap. Add some drops of your favourite Essential Oil to get fragrant clothes. You can also use Soap Nuts to wash your silk clothes.
- DIY Toothpaste: To make toothpaste at home, all you need is a bit of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and some baking soda. Mix these two together in the ratio 2:1. Add 15-20 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil and you are done. If the coconut oil is getting runny, you can pop it in the freezer for sometime before use.
- Compost: Instead of using synthetic fertilizers for your garden plants, you can make compost at home from the leftover vegetable peels. This compost is much more healthy for your plants and soil than the synthetic fertilizers.
- Use Organic Pesticides: Chemical pesticides are one of the worst things to be put into the soil. Soil retains the toxins of these pesticides for ages. One of the side-effects of using pesticide-laden foods is cancer. Use organic pesticides like Neem cake, Neem oil, or a mixture of garlic and red chillies. Turmeric powder is also a good organic pest repellent, which helps in keeping ants at bay.
- DIY Organic Insect Repellent: Are you bugged with mosquitoes and other insects? Essential oils like Lemongrass Oil, Eucalyptus oil, Citronella Oil, Peppermint Oil, Cinnamon Oil etc., are very good insect repellents. Mix a few drops of an essential oil with some carrier oil like Coconut Oil and rub on the exposed areas of your skin. You can also mix these oils with a little bit of water to make into a spray.
- DIY All Purpose Cleaner: Floor cleaners, dish liquids, disinfectants etc., are highly chemical-laden. Instead of buying these from the store, you can make your own all-purpose cleaner at home. Mix 3 parts citrus peels with 1 part jaggery and 10 parts water. Let it sit for 3 months, with intermittent stirring to release gases. Your all-purpose cleaner is ready. This fruit enzyme cleaner can replace at least 10 cleaners in your shelf. You can add few drops of your favourite essential oil to the cleaner, to have a pleasant fragrance around your house.
- Use Alternative Tools for Cleaning: Instead of using plastic and nylon scrubs for washing dishes, you can use natural coconut husk. For cleaning the floor try using wooden or bamboo brush. Toothbrushes made of bamboo are environment-friendly and long lasting too.
- DIY Lip Balm: This one’s pretty easy to make. You need Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter in equal portions. Melt them together using double boiler method. Add few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil, as the mixture cools down. Fill into tubes for usage.
- Use Shikakai Powder to Wash Hair: While there are different methods to prepare shampoo at home, traditionally Indians have used Ayurvedic herb Shikakai to wash hair with. Till as recently as 30 years back, Shikakai hair wash was the most popular way to cleanse your hair. Unlike soap nuts, shikakai doesn’t make your hair dry. It gives a natural shine and conditions the scalp too.
- Use Organic Products to Scrub Your Face: Every time you use a synthetic face scrub, you release millions of microplastic particles into the environment. Use natural organic products which you find in your kitchen to exfoliate your face and body – like Bengal gram powder, turmeric, sugar etc.
By making your own products and using organic alternatives, not only do you save yourself and the environment from the toxic chemicals and microplastics used in those but also you save yourself from burning deep holes into your pockets. By using reusable jars to store your homemade products, you also save the environment from the plastic containers in which they commercial products are packed.
“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.” – Paul Hawken, American Environmentalist, Author and Activist.