Written by Nandita Batheja
A few years ago in my past workplace, I sent an overly enthusiastic email about recycling, composting and energy saving. I had grand visions of what we could achieve. I filled my message with emojis and gifs, hoping to encourage instead of guilt. I researched all the confusing things (like can we actually compost “compostable” plates?) and clarified them (no, not in NYC if you’re depositing to public compost).
Only three people (out of 20) responded. I got one thumbs up, one “Thanks! :)” and then one that said: “Makes me wish recycling weren’t so complicated. Then maybe I’d do it more.”
I was disappointed, to say the least. But that last email caught my attention.
It’s true. Sustainability does get complicated. It takes a certain amount of commitment to recycle properly. Then more commitment to compost. Then more to refuse disposable cutlery. Then more to carry around your own reusable mug, fork, spoon, and bowl. Then more to stop using paper towels and switch to rags. Then more to . . .
The list goes on.
Why must it take so much effort?
Well, just like eating healthy or exercising or meditating, leaving a small footprint involves a lifestyle change. It takes some time, and it’s all about our daily choices. Which means the trick is to start small. Once you make a few shifts in your habits, the rest becomes easier and more natural.
Here are 10 simple ways to start. And remember: you don’t have to do it all at once!