The good citizen

I don’t know when I started to think about the environment around me, but as long as I can remember I have always been very conscious about it. Switching off lights in a room when not in use, closing the tap when brushing my teeth, choosing a shower over a bath to conserve water, only take as much as I will eat to avoid food wastage are just some of the principles I have lived by. I have always been very big on recycling and minimalist living.

Part of it could be due to my very modest bringing up. Not only did we not grow up with excess in our lives, but my father was always telling us about children in Africa who didn’t have a decent morsel for most meals. Wasting food was a complete no-no.

I know a lot of people in India didn’t really think much of the raddiwalas, and rag pickers when I was growing up. Having now lived in several countries I have a lot of respect for the huge recycling plant run in India. They aren’t regulated by the government, or mandated by law and yet, they run a business that helps recycle almost anything. The plus side, you get some cash back.

When I lived in UK, each house, building,institution were required by law to put away waste in color coded garbage bins to help recycle kitchen waste, paper, office supplies etc. Much to my horror when I came to the US, I realized that this country was way behind the UK in this department. This is a land of plenty with little regard to what is happening in the rest of the world. With stores like Costco, Sam’s club, constant sales and heightened consumerism, wastage is forced upon its citizens here.

Obviously this set me on over drive and I have done everything to preserve what I learned from my modest bringing up. While it is very difficult to constantly say no, I have in my journey learned that I am not alone. On the surface it may seem that this country does not care, but this country if full of very concerned citizens. I feel that is just the way every country functions.  It all boils down to the citizens and their will. So I was thrilled when I got to know about Big Reuse. I use it only to recycle food scraps as the place we live in already expects its residents to recycle, plastic, glass, paper etc.

The past few weeks have been the most educational and rewarding. One of my resolutions this year was to continue and increase recycling.. The fact that I could now avoid adding to the landfill and put my own refuse to some good for the earth has been very satisfying. My first shocker was to realize how much kitchen waste even a very conscientious person like me generates every week. I then noticed how much food actually gets wasted. I still end up filling up a huge box every week. However the weekly account of what we do with our kitchen supplies and waste has helped me streamline my weekly groceries and minimize our waste. I not only feel good about doing something for this earth, I am also saving money.

Do think about what you can do for your environment around you.




Filed under A first, Decisions, Determination, Environment, Food, Goal, Inspiration, Life, Society

2 responses to “The good citizen

  1. Yes. I used to always be at a loss as to how I could dispose paper raddi in the US. As a grad student the amount of paper you generate is criminal. I simply cannot read and assimilate work related stuff online and have to print them out because they are dense arguments and I have to mark them and make notes on the hardcopy, but once done, there was no place I could go drop all of the stuff I accumulated. In Bangalore, the raddi shop is right at my doorstep and now there are even start ups that come home to take your trash. What India needs to do is to begin segregation. I used to live in grad housing in Austin and they used to take segregation seriously. Bangalore is really a garbage city. Ever street corner has a mound of garbage and I remember Pune being like that too. But, these days, the garbage system in Pune has changed and they have removed all the huge garbage containers from the road. Now it needs to be segregated can only be collected from homes and it has made a difference to the city. I sincerely hope Bangalore does this too.

    This food waste part. Sometimes because of my sheer laziness, such as not separating the leaves from the stalk for palak, dhania, methi immediately after grocery in which case they rot, I have to throw them away and I am appalled at my own casualness on this. The days that I am diligent I feel like the most virtuous soul on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am the same way, I read better on printed paper. However with improved apps, I am trying my best to read online. Having said that, anyone in academia would be guilty of generating a lot of paper waste.

      I have read/heard about the startups. I am pretty kicked about it. I feel like small steps will take us a long way. Man, I hear such bad things about Bangalore all the time. I almost feel bad for the city. All in good time I hope.

      I have had a huge learning curve myself. I do meal preps as soon as I get groceries. You remember from your time in the US, most people do their groceries on weekends.. I tend to cook/cut/clean right away. That has helped me minimize wastage. I had read some place that most of the money wasted is in the kitchen. All wasted food is money lost and it can add up to a huge amount.

      The fact that you have identified your weak points, you can address them. The first step is to realize that there are areas of improvement! Yay to that.


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