Category Archives: Sustainability

Live Sustainably Everyday- Make Everyday an Environment Day

World Environment Day is just around the corner. While different organisations, educational institutions and community groups are undertaking various activities to mark this day, why don’t we take this as an opportunity to reflect upon our own lifestyles and see the impact of our actions to the environment as well as our well-being.

Waste is one of the biggest problems the world is facing at the moment and there has never been a better time to think and rethink about our consumption pattern and disposal
behaviour. According to the World Bank’s report What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management ,globally we are producing1.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year and are expected to increase to approximately 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025. Similarly according to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems.

Australians are the second biggest producer of waste and needless to say hundreds of tonnes of waste are dumped into landfill sites every year. In addition, most people these days think that landfill is the ultimate destination for most of the waste we produce, where as it should only be taken as a last resort.

The modern lifestyle and technological advancement is leading to not only increase in volume of waste we produce but also producing different composition of waste which is making the waste issue more big and challenging than ever. Disposal of different types of waste ranging from green waste, hazardous waste, e- waste and other household waste in the landfill is not only taking up bigger chunk of our valuable land which could have alternatively been used for other productive causes, but it is also causing severe and irreversible impacts in the environment, socio-economy and health. Wastes dumped in the landfill accounts for air pollution, water pollution and land quality at the same time methane gas produced during the decomposition of organic waste is one of the potent green house gas which is 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

If we really want to make our impact in reducing the waste or managing it, we need to reduce the production of waste at source. One of the successful and practical mantra that we have been hearing and to some extent practicing is 3 R Principle- Reduce Reuse and Re cycle.

Reduce mean avoiding the production of waste at source. Avoid the things that we can do without. Reuse is about using items over and over for a longer period.
Recycling is re-processing the item into a new raw material so that
it can be used in a new product–for example grinding up plastic bottles to make fibre. While recycling is helping us in a great way by keeping our waste from going to landfill; a huge quantity of waste could be reduced and reused before it goes to recycling.

What are the benefits of reducing and reusing waste?

1. Keeps materials out of landfill.
2. Helps to preserve the “embodied energy” that was originally used to manufacture
an item.
3. Reduces the pressure on raw material, energy and water.
4. Creates less air and water pollution than making a new item or recycling one.
5. Reduces overall production of waste.
6. Reuse often creates an affordability of goods that are often of better quality .

So what can we do to reduce waste going to landfill?

Here are 10 different ways that will help to reduce and reuse waste:
1. Change consumption pattern: Ask your self do you need or want that product. Only buy what you need
2. Buy quality products what would last long
3. Burrow thing from neighbours, friends and family
4. Rent it rather than buying if you are using for a short term
5. Covert your food waste into rich fertiliser though composting or wormfarming
6. Donate your unwanted items to charity organisation or give away to your friend and family
7. Buy and sell second-hand at flea markets and garage sales.
8. Maintain your goods, it will last longer
9. Repair the items such as electronics or furniture
10.Upcycle the items you don’t want and expand the life of your preloved goods

These simple actions can easily be incorporated in our everyday life at a no or vey low cost. All we need is a little bit of passion and commitment to change ourselves and create change. Every single action multiplied by thousands will certainly make a difference. So why don’t we start from ourselves and from today. And make every day an environment day.

A very happy environment day 2016 to all of you!

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Happy International Composting Awareness Week 2016!

Half of the waste we put in our rubbish bin consists of food or garden waste. These organic waste get dumped into landfill where they decompose in the absence of oxygen producing potent greenhouse gas such as methane. The leachate produced by these organic waste also results in depletion of ground water quality.   By composting our food scraps we are not only diverting the huge amount of waste going to the landfill but also reducing carbon pollution.

Composting is a natural process by which the organic waste get decomposed into nutrition rich compost by the action of bacteria. In order to work effectively, composting requires the right blend of air, moisture and carbon & nitrogen balanced materials. Little bit of extra TLC (Tender. Love and Care) will work wonders.

Alternatively we can also get our food waste converted into the top quality compost by through worm farming. Worms munch on organic waste and produce casting which are high quality compost . Worm farming is the best way to manage organic waste within the small space and with no smell.

Here is a simple and easy step by step guide on worm farming and composting:

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Happy composting and do share your experiences 🙂

 

 

Happy Green New Year 2016

hny1

First of all let me wish you all a very happy 2016. With New Year come new hopes, a new beginning and a desire to achieve something substantial. My recipe for this year is nothing new but to continue what I am doing, but with additional dose of enthusiasm, commitment and passion. And I’m hopeful that this will enrich my year with additional contentment, satisfaction and gratification. As my previous years this year too, one of my main focus would be to continue my sustainability journey and extend my commitment to environmental stewardship; at the same time Educate, Inspire and Empower (EIE) people to do the same. While saying that, I’m also so looking forward to unleash loads of energy and love in raising and nurturing my two little kids and spending more quality time with my family (hubby, our parents and siblings). With my heart full of love, compassion and empathy, I am all set to go on an exciting ride to make my home (my little world) as green and sustainable as possible. I whole heartedly would also like help you achieve the same for your home if you allow me to do so through this very platform of blogosphere. Collective efforts, be it small or big always matters.

So, let’s get started with few simple and easy actions that you can do to live a healthy and ethical lifestyle. Please be assured that sustainability is achievable without compromising your comfortless and spending lots of money. All you need to do is make little modification in your daily lifestyle. Here are 8 little things that you can start straight away from today that will not only help you live a healthy and ethical life but also make you feel great for being able to contribute for the betterment of the mother earth.

Identify the difference between need and want. Think twice before buying anything and ask yourself if you really need that item or you just want to add one more thing to your collection. Do not waste your money and generate additional waste buying unnecessary things; It will eventually end up in the landfill. Instead invest on your needs and buy durable products.

  1. Reduce your food waste. Think before buying. Cook the correct portion size and preserve the food well so that it doesn’t get wasted. Fruits and vegetable scrapes could easily be converted to compost through composting or worm farming.
  2. Commit to the 3 R’s. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is the best mantra to minimise the consumption and production of overall waste. Consider practising this at home and at work.
  3. Buy local. Locally made/ grown products generally have lower transportation cost and associated pollution. Promoting the local product will also help local economy and community.
  4. Make green and healthy choices. Make the habit of buying environment friendly products and avoid purchasing or using toxic products. Watch out for the labels saying Poison, Toxic, Hazardous, Warning and Explosive. If you can’t avoid using them for any reason, store them in the safe place and keep it away from children.
  5. Be energy efficient. You can save a considerable amount of energy by practicing various energy saving behaviors at home and work, and by using electrical appliances effectively and efficiently. This will also help you save lots of money in the long term.
  6. Be water wise. A lot of water and money could be saved adhering to simple water saving techniques at your home and work. A significant amount of water can also be saved by installing water saving devices.
  7. Grow your own food. Growing food in your backyard or balcony will not only give you healthy and organic food but getting yourself involved in gardening activities is also proved to be good for your physical and mental wellbeing. You can also be a part of community garden initiatives in your community if you do not have space to grow your own food.

Have you made any quick green New Year’s commitment for 2016? Please feel free to share them in the comments.

 

 

 

5 Permaculture Principles To Help You Start A Garden

Did you know Permaculture was theoretically developed by two Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s?

It’s one of Australia’s intellectual exports with a global network of practitioners and teachers.

Haven’t heard of Permaculture?

Permaculture is a set of principles that result in designing sustainable and productive systems. Systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community.

Permaculture mimics patterns that occur in nature, to make these systems energy efficient, low cost and with high yielding results.

Recently, I joined a 2-day intensive course to learn about how to grow backyard veggies with Michael Hewins from Milkwood.

Michael’s methods of food cultivation are deeply based on Permaculture principles.

I got in touch with Milkwood to find out more on how Permaculture principles can help you start a garden, sustainably and harmoniously with nature.

If you don’t have a backyard space for a garden, you can even start a courtyard or balcony garden, which can still be productive while helping you to maintain your connection to nature. Another gardening option is taking part in a community garden, getting your own plot, and doing your gardening there.

Here are 5 Permaculture principles to help you start a garden

1. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”

By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

Try this: Planting for your site – figure out where the sun falls and doesn’t, and when. The sunnier spots are always the best place for veggies to reach their peak of flavour and nutrition.

2. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not”

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

Try this: Nutrient cycling, which means employing methods that help you close the loop and feed your garden at the same time. Ideas include worms, bokashi buckets, compost e.t.c.

3. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”

By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.

Try this: Companion planting is a technique that can be used to stimulate plant growth and productivity, increase resilience to pests and diseases, hide your plants from pests or mask their scent to make them harder for pests to find, and attract beneficial insects which act as pollinators, such as bees, or attract beneficial predatory insects that will eat pest insects, such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies.

4. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race”

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.

Try this: Propagating your own seedlings! Not only will it save you money but you become self-reliant when you grow your own seeds for food.

5. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.

Try this: If you wanted to emphasise the Edge Effect Principle, you would perhaps lean toward curved edge garden beds, mandala design garden beds, or just use a large number of smaller rectangular beds.

These 5 principles are originally based from David Holmgren’s 12 principles of permaculture design.

Why is growing your own food important?

Growing your own instills a true sense of the value of food. It’s also a great way to reduce carbon pollution emissions that occur in the food supply chain, areas including transport, processing and food waste.

You can maximise the use of home-produced compost & ‘worm juice’ from your worm farm as fertiliser, rather using than artificial ones, and chemicals such as insecticides and herbicides.

Growing your own also makes a surprisingly powerful statement about reducing our reliance on others for basic sustenance.

So are you ready to start growing seriously great vegetables in your backyard?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below 🙂

Source: http://www.1m5 permaculture principles help you start garden

By: Bronte Hogarth

27 Diagrams That Make Cooking So Much Easier

Do you love cooking?

Do you love experimenting with new recipes?

Do you like to try different substitutions for various ingredients?

Do you want to learn some fun and interesting cooking techniques?

Do you want to excel in your culinary skills?

Or most importantly

Do you want to reduce your food waste?

well… whatever might be the case, there is something for all of us to learn about cooking or master one’s cooking skill. Here are 27 diagrams that make cooking so much easier including some fun and interesting facts,  easy ingredient substitutions, conversion charts, what kind of mixer to use, knife skills, appropriate storage and much more….

27 Diagrams That Make Cooking So Much Easier 

posted on Jan. 18, 2015, at 2:19 a.m.

1. For making your own vinaigrette.

For making your own vinaigrette.

Which you should be doing, instead of buying the bottled stuff. It’s healthier and tastier, and it’s really not hard. Here’s everything you need to know about building a better salad.

2. For making substitutions when you’re missing an ingredient.

For making substitutions when you're missing an ingredient.

Pretty awesome. Via eReplacement Parts.

3. For cooking red meat exactly how you like it.

For cooking red meat exactly how you like it.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed. buzzfeed.com

If you’re going splurge on a really great piece of meat, you’d better know how to cook it to temperature. If you need more help, here’s how to make the perfect steak.

4. For spicing things up.

For spicing things up.

Sure, you can just dump a bunch of spices into your stew and it’ll taste good. But, you can take your home cooking to a whole new level if you really know which spices taste best with which foods. Via CookSmarts.

5. For making any soup from scratch.

For making any soup from scratch.

It’s actually s(o)uper easy to make a healthy, warming winter meal. Via Shape.

6. For Metric conversions.

For Metric conversions.

7. For boiling eggs:

For boiling eggs:

Cooking time varies depending on whether you like your yolks soft or hard. Here’s exactly how to boil an egg.

8. For volumetric conversions.

For volumetric conversions.

Plainworks / visual.ly

Why do math when this chart has all the answers?

9. For cooking with and maintaining a cast iron skillet.

For cooking with and maintaining a cast iron skillet.

© 2011 Yumi Sakugawa, as first published on http://WonderHowTo.com

Cast iron skillets are great for cooking because they’re good heat conductors, meaning they get super hot, stay super hot, and cook your food evenly. They’re especially great for getting a delicious, crispy crust on meat. Here’s everything you need to know about owning a cast iron skillet.

10. For making sure you’re using the right kitchen appliance.

For making sure you're using the right kitchen appliance.

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Good cooks know that sometimes it’s better to leave the hard work to a machine.Just make sure you’re using the right one.

11. For marinating meat to make it tender and delicious.

For marinating meat to make it tender and delicious.

Chris Ritter / Buzzfeed. buzzfeed.com

No more dry chicken. Here’s more about using marinades to make delicious food.

12. For knowing what oil to use.

For knowing what oil to use.

It’s important to know the smoke point of the oil you’re cooking with so that you don’t set off your smoke alarm and ruin your food. .

13. For when you’re too heavy-handed with the chili peppers.

For when you're too heavy-handed with the chili peppers.

It’s a shame when you spend all evening making a great dish, only to find that it’s intolerably spicy. Here’s how to tone down the heat.

14. For your next trip to the butcher.

For your next trip to the butcher.

Knowing the difference between cuts of meat means you’ll always be able to go into a butcher or grocery store and ask for exactly what you want. Plus, it makes for impressive dinner conversation. Full infographic here.

15. For knife skills.

For knife skills.

A sharp knife is a cook’s most important tool. Knowing how to use it means anything in the kitchen is possible. Via Visual.ly.

16. For knowing what kind of onion to use.

For knowing what kind of onion to use.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed. buzzfeed.com

You won’t ruin a recipe by using a sweet onion when a red onion would have been better, but different onions have different characteristics—some are milder, some are sweeter, etc.—so it’s good to know the difference. More info here.

17. For vegan baking.

For vegan baking.

You may have to experiment a little bit to figure out which replacement is best for particular recipes, but here’s a good starter guide on egg substitutions.

18. For hosting a party.

For hosting a party.

Running out is not an option. Heather from Chickabug has plenty more tips for party planning, cooking and decorating.

19. For cooking your grains perfectly.

For cooking your grains perfectly.

Via Good Eggs.

20. For making a sourdough starter.

For making a sourdough starter.

Freshly baked bread forever! This is how to make the perfect sourdough boule.

21. For cooking vegetables.

For cooking vegetables.

Well, for boiling or steaming vegetables. Via Kid Spot.

22. For filleting fish.

For filleting fish.

They’re much cheaper when you buy them whole, and filleting them yourself isn’t that hard. Via Wide Open Spaces.

23. For pasta lovers.

For pasta lovers.

Impress anyone with your extensive noodle knowledge. Get the poster (or see a zoomed-in version) at Chasing Delicious.

24. For perfect chocolate chip cookies.

For perfect chocolate chip cookies.

And by “perfect” I mean, “exactly the way you like them.” Learn more about how to make the chocolate cookie you want.

25. For grilling everything.

For grilling everything.

Fire it up. Via Visual News.

26. For knowing what’s in season.

For knowing what's in season.

Sure, you can find blueberries at the supermarket in December. They’re just not going to taste very good. From The Best American Infographics.

27. For knowing exactly how to store your groceries, and for how long.

For knowing exactly how to store your groceries, and for how long.

HAPPY READING AND HAPPY COOKING !!
 

Thinking of buying a new house? Here are 9 good to know things before you move out

Buying and moving to a new house is always exciting. If not planned and organised properly it could end up in a total chaos. Here are few things that we need to think before moving into the new house. These  tips not only help you easily settle  in your new home but also help you save lots of money, time, effort  and over all a peace of mind.

Also please add to the list if you have any

A new house can be so exciting: The decorating possibilities! The organizational ideas! But before you start moving in your stuff and arranging your furniture, check off these must-do maintenance tasks to make sure everything is safe and in working order:

1. Change the locks.
“You just don’t know how many people have a copy of the keys,” says Agnes Bowman, a broker associate at Century 21 Peterson in Secaucus, NJ. When a house goes up for sale, a lot of people have access to it (think: listing agents, selling agents, and maintenance workers). Plus, you can’t be sure who the previous owners offered a spare set. If the house has an alarm system, remember to change the code. And don’t forget the garage door.

2. Check for moisture stains.
Your inspector should have noted any discolored yellow rings on your drywall, but give your home another once-over right before you move in. Any necessary repair work will be easier to tackle when the space isn’t crammed with your stuff.

3. Locate the shut-off valves.
Find the main water shut-off valve and check to see if you need special tools — like a wrench or a key — to operate it. “If you suddenly have a plumbing leak and there’s water pouring into your house, you need to be able to get to the valve and turn off the water quickly,” says Claude McGavic, executive director of The National Association of Home Inspectors.

And no, these valves aren’t in the same place in every home. “Sometimes the inspector can’t even find them,” laughs McGavic. Look in the home’s interior, in the attic, in the back of the house and around the fence. If you can’t find it, call a plumber to help you.

4. Locate the circuit breaker box.
“If an electrical fire starts, you should know where to go to turn off all the power in the house,” says McGavic. Now would also be a good time to label the switches if they’re not already marked. You’ll need two people: One to flip the switch and one to holler when the lights go out.

5. Replace the batteries in smoke detectors.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors aren’t always checked during a home inspection. And even if they are, something could happen between the inspection and the time you move in. “I could push the button, it could work fine, and then the battery could die,” says McGavic. Working smoke alarms save lives, so swap out all the batteries with fresh ones.

6. Give carpets a deep clean.
Even if the previous owners didn’t have pets, it’s worth the couple hundred dollars to hire a professional to come in, says Bowman. “They have the heavy duty steam-powered machines that can kill germs and dust mites,” she says — and who knows when the carpets were last cleaned. We recommend calling in the pros once a year, so take advantage of the empty house and do it now.

RELATED: 7 Rules for Deep-Cleaning Dingy, Smelly Carpeting »

7. Change the heating and cooling filters.
A new disposable filter costs about $4, according to McGavic. The damage that could be caused by an old filter? A whole new system could cost you up to $5000. “If you don’t replace the filter, it could cut down on efficiency, or worse, cause the system to overheat,” he says. McGavic also suggests having a professional come to service the equipment — and set up an ongoing maintenance schedule for every six months. “It’s the same reason you change your oil every 3,000 miles in your car. If you don’t take care of the equipment, it’s going to fail.”

8. Install closet systems.
Moving is one of the few times in life when you have a clear gauge of how much stuff you really have, so you can plot out a helpful closet system pretty well. “If you install drawers, shelves, and hanging rods before you move in, you can unpack and organize your stuff at once,” says Bowman. “Everything goes right into place and you’re done.”

9. Paint.
Okay, so you can do some decorating before you move in: Paint your heart out. The benefits are two-fold, according to Bowman. Painting in advance gives the house time to air out before you’re actually living there, and your furniture won’t be in the way while you’re working. Some people say to paint after you move in (so you know how the light changes throughout the day) but if you spend time in the new place completing this checklist, you should have a decent idea. Paint some test swatches on the walls and see how you like them over a few days.

TELL US: What smart moves did you make before unpacking in your new home?

Photos: Getty

Source: GoodHousekeeping.com

 

11 great ideas to have eco-friendly Christmas

Festivals always come with lots of enthusiasm and excitements and Christmas is no exception.  In an attempt to make it fun and joyous we indulge ourselves in lots of activities including exchanging gifts, cooking lots of food, visiting friends and families etc. to name few. These activities if not planned properly can result in possession lot lots of unnecessary stuff as well as money being wasted.  There are many ways to celebrate this festive season in a limited budget while also reducing the environmental impact of our actions. Here are 11 simple ways to celebrate Christmas in an eco-friendly manner while still maintaining its elegance and style.

1. Buy the right product

1want vs need

Every time we have some celebration, we want to buy new things for our home, ourselves or our families, whether we need them or not. Plan and make a list of items you want to buy so that the important things don’t get missed out. Identify if you just want those things or you really need them. Focus on the items that you need most. In this way you would be able to better manage your budget too. Stick to the list and do not let yourself get carried away with the items on sale or cheaply priced. Avoid  buying anything that you don’t need in order to prevent them from getting wasted and ultimately being dumped to the landfill site.

2. Buy less

2 buy less   2. buy less

Once the list of items you really need is ready, try to stick to it. Do not overbuy. Again don’t get tempted to buy the things that are on sale or cheaply priced. The best idea is to quickly scan through your pantry, wardrobe, garage or store room so that you don’t end up buying too much or buy something that you already have. If you already have similar items that could replace the ones you want to buy, consider using them. For instance make your own Christmas tree, use alternatives for wrapping paper, bake your own cake, make your own greeting card etc.

3. Create less waste

3. create less waste 2    3. create less waste

Try to create less waste where possible. Avoid buying thing with too much packaging, don’t buy or cook too much, don’t buy the things that you won’t use. If you get something as a gift that you don’t use, donate it to local charity shop or consider giving it to someone who might use it. Avoid buying disposable or one time use  items, its worth investing in things that that could be used multiple times. If you have a real Christmas tree this season, ensure that it is not put to waste. You can replant it in your garden or take it to nearby recycling centre, instead of putting it out for landfill. If you choose to use an artificial tree, you can reuse it again next year, sell it, or give it to your local charity.

4. Don’t throw away, Donate

3. Donate a    3. Donate b

Christmas is all about giving. If you are planning to clean your house this Christmas, instead of throwing them away, donate them to local charity shops. Pull out your old clothes, crockery, toys, books etc  that you don’t use any more, as  this is the perfect time to donate so that those who need get the pleasure to use them.  This will not only help people in need them but also help declutter  your home and save valuable resources from going to the landfill.

5. Reuse and recycle

4. reuse and recycle

Try to buy things that could be used multiple times. Avoid buying single use disposable plastic plates, glass and spoons. Choose to buy reusable ones or buy eco- friendly products that could be decomposed or recycled.

Recycle the items that could be recycled. Pet bottles, cardboard, paper, glass containers, cans etc could be recycled. Collect them separately and put them in the recycling bin so that these valuable resources could be used to make new products

6. Compost

5. compost

Food  waste constitute the huge part of our waste. During festivals we tend to cook or buy more food which will result in more food waste.  Use your food waste to feed the worms in your worm farm or put them in your compost bin.

7 .Shop locally

6. shop locally   6.. shop locally b

Shop locally to promote local business and support your community. Buying locally made products also create local employment which will help enhance economical status of the community. Local shops sell a wide range of products at affordable prices at the same time they have less ecological footprint.

8. Give the gift of experience

7. gift of experience

Where possible choose to give your loved ones an experience rather than material item. Materials either gets consumed or stay in the house or end up as the waste where as experience last for lifetime. Pass to museum, aquarium zoo, rock climbing, spa, beauty care, movie ticket etc counts more than the material gifts.

9. Save energy and  water

8. save energy and water

It would be wise to be mindful while using water and energy as you would be using it more frequently during the holiday season. Using solar or led powered Christmas light, taking short showers, using dishwasher and washing machines in full loads, minimising use of hot water etc would help save energy and water as well as money.

10. Celebrate with nature

9. celebrate with nature

Celebrate the Christmas close to the nature. organise bush walking, barbeque in the park (national park) or play outdoors. This will help family and friends bond with each other while children will enjoy  to be with nature.

11. Be creative, don’t just spend

10. be creative b10. be creative

People always love and admire creative ideas. Come up with creative decoration or gift ideas. This will not only save you heaps but your creativity might  inspire people to do the similar things. For instance, create your own Christmas tree, design your own Christmas table decoration, make your own gift wrapping paper, decorate the home with the items readily available in your garden or store room.