EAI | Energy Alternatives India | Catalyzing Cleantech and Sustainability.+Add.Feed Info1000FOLLOWERS
Energy Alternatives India (EAI) was founded by IIT and IIM alumni to accelerate the adoption of Renewable Energy and Cleantech in India through expert consultancy services, critical business intelligence, and in-depth research.
Packaging revolution is one phenomenon that has made some really dramatic difference to your lives. Imagine how miserable we would be without packaging of all sorts.
But such packaging comfort has come with its own ills.
Now how can you and I be more sustainable in our packaging while at the same time not losing our comfort?
Simple – there are a number of ways in which you can dramatically reduce your packaging footprint
Sustainable packaging can take different forms:
Doing with less packaging
Doing with packaging the material of which can be reused multiple times
Doing with packaging materials that are eco friendly
Some quick ideas:
User natural material for those products that can easily be packaged in these
If you purchase a good amount of products packed in plastics, perhaps you can try to reuse these to the the extent possible.
Purchase a nice metal water bottle – there are some really groovy water bottles available – and then carry it with you to while you travel. While you might not completely do away with plastic bottled water, where clean water is available (airports, theaters, parks etc), you can fill in the water bottles with clean water. It is quite easy to cut down the amount of plastic bottle use by just this method alone.
Who doesn’t have that guilty feeling every time they use plastic, that they are polluting the earth!
But the fact is, plastics are useful and are not easy to replace for some applications.
For a few other applications, there are products made from bio-materials such as bagasse and rice husk that are completely biodegradable.
For some applications, bioplastics (plastics made from natural resources such as corn) present a technically viable alternative, though bioplastics are 4-5 times as costly as their conventional counterparts.
So, if you really wish to go light on resources, here are some stuff anyone can do any day, without compromising your comfort.
BYOB – if you thought taking your own bag is a difficult thing, not at all.
For parties, if you are looking for disposable foodware, try bio-based (not bioplastic) foodware that are made from bagasse, arecanut leaves, rice husk etc. These cost a bit more than plastic disposables, but not as much as bioplastics.
Dryers and washing machines are some of the worst energy guzzlers.
It makes a heck of a lot of sense for you to spend time to figure out how to minimize their use.
Just imagine: If each household reduces the use of dryer and washing machine each by about 15 minutes every day, that would be about 2 kWh per household. If 500 million households could accomplish this reduction, that would be about 1 billion kWh reduced per day, or about 400 billion kWh reduced per year.
The world uses about 6 TW of electricity capacity, that is 6000 GW. At about 4 billion kWh per GW, that would be about 24,000 billion kWh of total electricity used globally every year. The above action alone would cut down the world’s electricity consumption by about 1.5% – a stunning feat.
Plastics disposal – this is a headache in many, many cities.
Now, there are some times you need to use plastics. In many, many applications, the use of plastics is not going to go away for decades to come.
Don’t believe the treehuggers – no, bioplastics will not solve the plastics problem any time soon. As of 2017, bioplastics constituted just over 1% of total plastic sector, and this number will probably be 5% by 2025. That is, even by 2025, plastics will comprise 95% of the total polymers being used.
Only know this – there are no foolproof solutions to plastics use right now. The smartest ways by which you can contribute to reduced plastic use is to avoid unnecessary use of plastics (say by using cloth bags etc) and by depositing any disposable plastics you use in the right bins be they at home or outside.
The worst mistake you can do with any plastic you use is to throw them carelessly on the ground – there is every chance this will end up under the ground and be there for ever.
How much we can change ourselves is a question mark.
Sure, we can follow many of the easy ideas shared in this book; sure, we can make some difference. But whether we adults, with our current perspectives and practices can make a disruptive difference, is doubtful.
But I will tell you critters who can make a real difference
When you look at the kids, you are looking at a clean slate, well, an almost clean slate.
Their brains can yet be wired differently. Their minds can yet be moulded differently.
Who knows, if the moulding and wiring happen in such a way that they can design, process and do things very differently from the way adults can, it can be world changing.
Spend some time every week telling the kids about environment and sustainability
Kids, once they get convinced, develop it into a habit. And they talk and convince their friends to do it. Pretty soon, every kid in the town is doing it.