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Nature Nuggets

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SLASH YOUR TRASH!

Ever eagerly opened an ice cream tub in your freezer, only to find it full of frozen green peas? Reusing containers is a sustainable practice as it keeps containers out of the trash. Now think—would a year’s worth of your TRASH fit into an ice cream tub? Read on to learn how you could make it possible.

Nothing in nature ever goes to waste. However, things are not the same in our human societies. According to a 2018 report, a person in India may generate about 0.85 kilograms of solid waste a day. Globally, the solid waste generated adds up to about 2 billion tonnes per year, with only around 20% of this waste being recycled or composted. Most waste is either dumped in the environment or stored in a landfill! Wouldn’t it be good for our planet if we could generate as little waste as possible, or better still, none at all? With 30 March being the International Day of Zero Waste, this edition of Nature Nuggets zeroes in on the ‘what, why, and how’ of minimising waste. Let’s jump right in!

A zero-waste lifestyle involves reducing the waste we generate as much as possible. Sounds challenging? These inspiring examples illustrate how smart changes and commitment are all we need for zero-waste living.

  • Padma Shri awardee Dr. Janak Palta McGilligan has been living a zero-waste life for over 12 years. She grows her food, uses a solar cooker for cooking, and does not generate any garbage or have to pay an electricity bill!
  • Joost Baker’s experimental house called Greenhouse in Melbourne, Australia is a zero-waste building that runs on renewable energy, is made entirely of organic material, and produces its own food!
  • Kamikatsu in Japan is heading towards becoming a zero-waste community, having made amazing efforts to cut down on waste and recycle trash segregated into 45 categories!

Going zero waste requires businesses to make durable, reusable, and recyclable products efficiently using fewer resources and governments to limit unnecessary production and consumption. This change begins with us. By embracing a zero-waste lifestyle—such as by integrating the 5 ‘Rs’ of reduce, refuse, reuse, repair, and recycle—and opting for sustainable products, we can show decision-makers and industries that we want pro-planet policies and sustainable products. Here’s how you can slash your trash.

Declutter the green way: Are you decluttering your room, wardrobe, or desk at home ahead of the new school term? Follow this mind map to segregate items and manage them appropriately.

Say no to food waste: A lot of resources go into growing and making our food so don’t let any go to waste. Use fruit and vegetable scraps to make compost for gardens and help return important nutrients to the environment. Repurpose leftover food to make tasty dishes.

Ditch the deliveries: Online shopping for groceries and other items is convenient but often involves long-distance transportation and excessive packaging. This leads to greater carbon emissions and waste. Pledge to be an environmentally conscious consumer and shop from local stores instead.

Common Name: Dung beetle 

Class: Scarabaeus sp.

In the natural world, one creature’s waste is another’s feast. That’s particularly true of dung beetles as they feed on the fresh dung of other animals. Roller dung beetles roll dung into a ball and roll it away. They may bury it to feed on later or to lay their eggs in it. Tunnelers might tunnel beneath the pile to bury it, and dwellers may burrow into and live inside the dung pile.

By burying animal dung, the beetles help to nourish the soil, and by consuming it, they clean up the dung, which leads to fewer flies. Play Dung Beetle Derby to learn more about these humble yet helpful insects.

Time to check your Nature Quotient!

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