“Why I do what I do? - It's pretty simple” – Mehendi
Next up is our Desi Conscious Chokri, who is defo not a hippie and is defo not moving to far mountains to live the rest of her sustainable life! She’s an everyday city gal who believes that our species creates way too much trash! Our Chokri points out that we are a highly consumerist society that looks for happiness in the things we buy as opposed to the things we do and experiences we have.
So, we wanted to hear all about her zero-waste journey living in a busy city like Mumbai.
Her journey started three years ago when she was living on her own in Sydney pursuing a Master of Social Entrepreneurship. She was studying subjects like sustainable development, social impact assessment, environmental planning etc. Studying these subjects prompted her to look at her own lifestyle and measure her own carbon footprint. During that time, she also happened to meet people who were composting their kitchen waste and were generally mindful about their consumption patterns. All of these reasons combined pushed her to evaluate her lifestyle and she happened to chance upon the concept of zero waste living. she was intrigued and found herself doing a lot of research and reading about the global zero waste movement. she knew she had to make some major changes to her life but it took me some time to get started on this path. It's been a year since her started her transition and it's been a challenging journey but also very rewarding.
Studying about sustainability and not adopting a more conscious lifestyle didn't sit well with her. Mehendi think that it's important to share more information about the need to reduce our waste and address this global crisis.
The most significant thing she noticed is – her ability to question everything and how a product is made, who made it, what cost did it come at. she finds herself feeling challenged at many junctures but she’s also hopeful that more people are seeing value in this kind of lifestyle.
Living such a lifestyle causes you to question your habits, let go of old habits and create new ones. Habit formation can be challenging but with time it gets easier. Bringing your family and friends on board without being too harsh can also be difficult. One has to learn how to put their message across while being empathetic and persuasive as well as customising the reasons to move to this kind of lifestyle based on who you’re speaking with.
The biggest misconception is that transitioning to a low waste, sustainable lifestyle is expensive and a lot of hard work. Contrary to popular belief, it's actually helped me save a lot of money and made life simpler. I no longer spend tons of money on different products for different needs. She’s learned how to use a few basic ingredients for multiple different purposes. For example, she uses soap nuts to make my shampoo as well as my laundry detergent. She uses a mixture of vinegar and lemon as a cleaning agent in my bathroom and kitchen. This lifestyle isn’t as inconvenient as people may perceive it to be. It’s pretty easy to make products at home without too much effort. For example, it takes her all of 5 minutes to make my homemade shampoo.
A product she always has? - A reusable bag, box, cutlery and water bottle
An east switch? - Giving up the use of plastic straws! It's easy, it takes literally no effort and helps save soo much plastic from entering our landfills and oceans.
Tips and tricks? - Start observing your own lifestyle and work on eliminating single-use products. There are tons of options available out there, all of you have to do is observe your life and then make google and Instagram your best friend. There is a lot of information available out there on alternatives to single-use/packaged products from shampoo and soap to toothbrushes and package free food. Everything you put out there into the world ultimately affects you in the form of contaminated water, food, soil and air. Take the initiative and make a change because if you don’t want, who will?
I : Conscious Chokri