The Corona virus pandemic has swept over the planet and with it has brought about concepts like quarantine and social distancing which were earlier seen only in films. The lockdown that is widely being followed all over the world has not been the easiest time for people. With no provision to step out of the house, markets aren’t functioning and economies are crashing. A common man would wonder, ‘How am I supposed to help out, when I am locked inside my own house?’
Your miniscule contributions to the society, can massively assist the authorities and the paramedical staff in this time of need. A major step you can take during this quarantine period is to ensure that the waste produced in your home is minimized. In India alone, 21 million tonnes of food is wasted every year. This wasted food is often treated with plastic waste leading to emission of methane gas in a large quantity. While a life-threatening disease is upon the earth, one must not forget another crisis that is underway, that of global warming. Dealing with the COVID-19 gives us no excuse to forget caring for nature. The small roles we play at our house can make a huge impact outside.
How has Pandemic increased Waste Production?
The Corona Virus has forced the government to take some drastic measures. The shutting up of all non-essential shops across the country was the first of many shocks. People were advised to reduce their trips to the market in order to encourage social-distancing. Lots of families misunderstood this message and hoarded up on supplies to minimize their trips to the market. This uncalculated decision made by the people has led to the wastage of food on a large scale. The pandemic has led to the limitation of a few commodities and we cannot afford to waste even the slightest of food.
1. Buying Smart
The first step in moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle is to by only the amount of food you will require. Hoarding should be thoroughly discouraged as it is the main cause of waste production. The limited number of supplies means that the food you waste could have actually filled the stomach of a person in need.
2. Proper Storage
In these testing times, you never know, when even a single loaf of bread could be useful. Hopefully, the situation won’t get to such an extremity but storing items should still be a priority. Keep food items in cool and covered places to ensure that they are not spoiled. This could immensely reduce the amount of waste being produced at your place.
3. Use Items before they Expire
About 40% of the food produced in the country is thrown into the trash, uneaten. During the lockdown period, try and have a basic idea of the expiry dates all food items in your home. It is essential to make sure that no sort of canned or packaged food is kept win your house past its expiry date. Make sure that you have completely finished an item before going out to buy more. An interesting fact about packaged food is that some of it is safe to consume even after its ‘best before’ date. Check on the internet to find out if the can in your store room is still safe to consume. If not make sure it is disposed off correctly. Separate the food item from its packaging before throwing it away in two separate bins.
4. Utilize the Leftovers
The most important aspect of living a zero-waste life is to ensure that your leftovers are put to good use. Segregation into two different bins is an ideal way to dispose off leftover food. The only problem lying with this situation is that many garbage trucks and cleaners just pile all the garbage into one huge bag regardless of its recycling and ecological properties. The perfect way to deal with this problem would be to use the leftover food as compost.
People often avoid using compost as it is a long and slightly difficult process. The quarantine makes it a perfect time to finally do something good for the environment. Before creating compost make sure that you are doing it right. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered before generating a manure in your kitchen. Use proper tips and techniques from professionals for optimal results.
5. Mini Farming
Now that you have composed manure just from your wasted food, it is time to put that compost to good use. Indoor farming is not easy and it requires care and time but it is not necessary for you to own a huge balcony or a garden. You can grow vegetables even in the small terrace of your house. There are families around India who have become completely self-sufficient. Shilpa and Nitin, a couple based in the traffic heavy Bengaluru, grow more than 50 vegetables in their small balcony. Just one small pot for each type of vegetable is enough to sustain a family of four. The food they consume is from their own balcony and the waste produced in their home is used as manure to grow more vegetables. This ecological cycle can have a huge positive impact on the environment.
6. Eat Healthy
Perhaps the most underestimated way to reduce food wastage is to eat healthy. Junk food, has a much faster rate of decay when compared to fresh vegetables and fruits. Having a balanced and planned diet can help you minimize the amount of waste you generate. If you do not have the provision to create compost and farm in your balcony, you can start by eating healthy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not been an easy time of us. Para medical staff and nurses are working overtime to ensure that we are safe the least we can do is reduce the burden on the planet. Correct utilization of leftovers and controlled generation of waste will make sure that the country has ample supply of food for the poor and needy. Play your part in the quarantine by changing to a zero-waste lifestyle.