How to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle: From Waste Segregation to Zero-waste

“One individual, one home has the capability to inspire the world to take action! ”

Earth5R believes that the impact made increases exponentially when multiple people collaborate to make a change. The organization is the brainchild of Saurabh Gupta who started alone, but in very little time, hundreds of people had joined him in the pursuit of creating a better, sustainable environment. The collective efforts made by individuals at their small level is what truly creates a difference. Promoting this ideology down to every individual, we started the HOME EQUALS PLANET initiative.

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Collected vs dumped waste in million MT per annum (PIB, Government of India)

According to the 2016 study of India’s waste collection, we primarily lack collecting waste from households which is a problem of its own. Imagine if each one could treat the waste we generate at home so that only a negligible amount actually leaves the house as waste into a dumping ground.

HOME EQUALS PLANET is all about individual responsibility towards waste management and taking action at the household level.

The project’s motto is to disclose the latent impact of making small changes in our daily habits and ultimately inspiring others to follow, creating a mass movement to protect the Earth and it’s less privileged inhabitants.

The project promotes our volunteers to make informed and conscious choices while consuming any goods and also to properly process the daily waste generated at home with their family’s help.

Many citizen volunteers are already trained on the various steps of waste segregation and disposal/reuse. These volunteers are not only practicing sustainable waste management but are also educating their families about it. We feel proud to share the experiences and learnings of our diligent volunteers. Please do check out our first article to know more about this initiative.

The volunteers keep a track of the amount of organic waste generated per day. The following chart represents the trend in organic waste production over the first 8 days of October – 2020. Keeping a track of the waste generated and its quantity helps the team to understand the impact of current activities and what else can be done to make it better.

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The reduction in Average Organic Waste production by Earth5R’s citizen volunteers (Earth5R)

In this article, we have interviewed Claire Hsu and Siya Wadhwa on their thoughts about the program.

Claire Hsu joined Earth5R to pursue her wish of contributing towards a healthy future and making more sustainable choices.

Siya is studying in the 12th standard currently and she enjoys dancing and reading. She is quite involved in social work and is curious about knowing the things we can do to protect the planet. With this purpose in mind, she has joined Earth5R and has continued to be a valuable member since.

Claire Hsu: “I had been segregating my waste earlier, but after the Home Equals Planet training, I got more aware of the waste I produce and got more conscious in order to reduce it.

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Claire conducting an online waste awareness training for her family

I have started taking steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle and I keep reminding myself to think and always choose a sustainable option if available. I have started upcycling, reusing the resources I can, as well as recycling and composting waste in order to reduce the amount of waste I produce which lands into landfills.

When I started processing my own waste, I was able to quantify the amount of waste I created and I felt the urge to minimize it.

That’s when I started seeking more sustainable alternatives to the resources I use nowadays. For example, now I am using a reusable water bottle every day when I go out, instead of a plastic bottle.

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Claire explaining the importance of waste segregation during her training session

Additionally, I am also making sure I and my family segregate the waste properly. The Earth5R training really helped me learn how to identify which waste comes under which category and what waste is recyclable and non-recyclable. I also conducted a training session for my family and trained them about the importance of waste segregation and how to go about it. My whole family was educated about the importance of waste segregation at one’s home and even they started to make conscious purchases and daily waste segregation.”

Siya Wadhwa: “Before I attended the Earth5R training session for ‘HOME EQUALS PLANET’, I didn’t know how to segregate waste at all. So, the training really helped me not only understand the different types of waste I generated but also how to deal with it. I began segregating the waste and tried to recycle/upcycle whatever portion of the waste I can, I also composted whatever waste I could.

Initially I was very apprehensive of the whole segregation activity and whether I would be able to do it properly or not.

When I tried to implement my learnings from the training session, I felt really good about myself that I was able to complete the activities properly.

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Unsegregated waste at Siya’s home during Home Equals Planet initiative

One thing I would like to mention from my personal experience is that waste segregation and re-use is not just an activity to complete and preach to others, it’s more about the satisfaction one gets after ending the vicious cycle of waste stagnation in landfills at your own home and making conscious choices whenever we are purchasing something.

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Segregated waste at Siya’s home

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Organic waste from Siya’s home being used for composting

My mom already used to segregate the waste into dry waste and wet waste. My family took my involvement in household waste segregation very positively. Post the training session from Earth5R, I was able to educate my family and friends about some of the activities they could do to properly segregate and re-utilize the waste.

I definitely believe that this program will be able to make changes in society. We at Earth5R are already trying hard to promote the ideas and objectives of HOME EQUALS PLANET to our near and dear ones. We already perceive this initiative making a huge difference in the near future!”

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Siya conducting waste segregation training for her classmates

We urge our readers to understand the importance of individual actions in practicing proper waste management so that we minimize the amount of waste ending up in a landfill. We believe in spreading awareness about HOME EQUALS PLANET so that it reaches each and every household in India and then the globe. Feel free to connect to Earth5R in case you want to know more about the HOME EQUALS PLANET initiative. Do visit our website.

ABOUT EARTH5R

Earth5R is an environmental organization from India with its head office at Mumbai. It works with the NGO sector, Companies and helps them conduct environmental corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs across India. Earth5R specializes in circular economy based projects. Earth5R also offers short term and long term environmental courses.

Earth5R’s Global Sustainability Hub is a cross-sector and cross-country collaboration in pursuit of UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is an excellent opportunity for governments and the private sector to engage with communities, use Sustainability-based models to drive economic changes, and create social and environmental impact.

Interviewed by Richa Yadav, edited by Aishani Raghav

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