Being confined to one’s home can be challenging.
Many of us are looking inwards trying to solve this mystery called “the mind”. We are constantly trying to yank out the muck that consists of our internal biases, our constant dismal judgement towards the self and the world today. So, along with this internal awakening, we must also look inwards — into our homes and kitchens and try to remove the gunk from there too!
I have been living with my aunt, Vani Murthy, for the past 6 years now. Over these years my, sustainable-living-enthusiast/local hero, aunt has consciously made efforts towards living a sustainable life. I have seen a systematic shift in her kitchen as well. We began small — bringing a brick each time to make this castle of sustainable living.
So as part of this learning journey, I have decided to document all the changes that have taken place in her kitchen, over these years
It starts with questioning everything
Some of the questions that we can ask are: What do I consume? Where does it come from and where does it go? How good is it for my lifestyle? How good is it for the environment?
Every product has a life cycle. Just like us, every product has a birth and a death. But unlike all of us, most products end up dying in a land-dump. The more we delay this “death-of-products” we consume — the faster we prevent it from raiding land-dumps, and the slower we run after this consumerist chase and the lesser we complicate our lives.
So let’s begin
- Replace Plastic with Steel or Glass
Use glass or Steel containers instead (they look funky and beautiful); Use cane-baskets for fruits
2. Replace Disposables with Reusables
Use cloth kitchen towels instead of paper rolls; Use steel or wooden cutlery instead of plastic
3. Avoid Packaged Foods
Avoid packaged foods for two reasons, one they mainly generate tonnes of packaging plastics that cannot be avoided otherwise, and two are generally not good for health.
I looked at the contents of a store bought peanut butter brand and I realised I did not know the meaning of half the ingredients in it! So instead, we decided to source foods that are produced/sourced locally.
What about groceries?
We subscribe to a CSA (Community-supported Agriculture) for vegetables, fruits and groceries. The grocers, vegetables and fruits we get from them are locally produced and seasonal.
These get delivered near our house weekly and most of the groceries come in cloth bags which is returned to the CSA at the end of the week/month to be re-used. Wherever possible, we also use our steel boxes and mason jars to fill in grains.
4. Replace chemical cleaners with homemade bio enzymes
Make your cleaners! In doing so, you will not only ensure reduction in chemicals that go down the drain and into water systems or sewage, but will also reduce plastic consumption. These cleaners are inexpensive and multipurpose.
You can make bio enzymes at home. All you need is citrus peels, jaggery and some water.
Other natural cleaners are Soap nut (aritha), Acacia Concinna (shikakai) and Ash powder.
You can clean utensils, clothes, surfaces and even use these as shampoos and body soaps.
Food just comes out tastier when you had it at your grandparents place! One of the reasons are the utensils. We replaced non-stick vessels with cast iron and other traditional cooking pots.
6. Waste Management
All our kitchen food waste — be it peels, seeds, crumbs and some left overs are carefully crafted into sweet smelling compost. We have a separate bucket for food waste, that goes into the composting pot every morning.