What do being a yogi and working towards a zero-waste, or minimal waste, lifestyle have in common?
Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Om Shanti. Often this phrase is said at the end of a yoga session to invoke peace with the past, present, and future. To align ourselves with peace in the future sense, it is our duty as yogis to understand the ways in which our habits might affect the planet for future generations. One way to do this is to pay attention to the way we consume in the now, and to especially pay attention to the consumption of single-use plastics and items that will end up as unnecessary waste.
Each year humanity generates 2 billion tons of waste products. Much of this waste ends up in our oceans, single-use plastic especially. These plastics look like food to marine life and once eaten, can cause poisoning or death to the animals who ingest them. These are the macro-level consequences of the waste crisis. Small changes like these add up to huge environmental impacts all over the world. Make living a zero-waste life part of your yogic promise to yourself and to the world around you.
Single-use plastics are defined as a type of plastic that is meant to be disposed of after a single use, usually within minutes. When we leave our yoga practice, our day may consist of grabbing a snack on the way to our office. That snack is packaged in single-use plastic and discarded somewhere in our car. Next, we may visit the local grocery store; even if we are using reusable grocery bags by now, inside those groceries live many items packaged in single-use plastics and non-recyclable material.
Practice loving-compassion for the planet through meditation.
Check out this free Earth Element meditation on YogaToday.
The first step in changing our habits is to approach these changes with loving-kindness and compassion towards ourselves. We may not be perfect in our execution or our mindfulness when it comes to living a zero-waste lifestyle. We do not need to be perfect, however. Meet these moments of imperfection with compassion for yourself and simply renew your pledge to continue trying to live waste-free.
The next step is taking the leap! Here some easy ways to begin your journey into zero-waste living.
Our consumption of single-use plastics is offset by our ability to use as much reusable storage as possible. Everyday pantry goods such as pasta or rice can be bought in bulk in most places and placed into your reusable containers. This eliminates the need for plastic packaging and plastic bags.
Want to learn more sustainable lifestyle tips?
Check out this article, 5 Simple and Sustainable Lifestyle Practices, on YogaToday.
Bring Zero-Waste to Your Yoga Community
What if we could take this zero-waste lifestyle to a macro level? Our yoga communities offer open and inviting spaces filled with loving-kindness and compassion. These communities lend platforms to have conversations about mindfulness in our daily lives regarding our plastic usage. Get your community involved with spreading the word in the neighborhood about living zero-waste. You can also set up a neighborhood cleaning event to pick up waste left behind that could end up in our waterways and help the community become more active in tackling the waste crisis.
Plastic Free July
You have plenty of time to prepare for this one; make small changes throughout the next few months and then make the commitment! When registering for the global Plastic Free July movement, you can pledge to lead a zero-waste life for a day, week, or the entire month. The community provides tips, words of encouragement, and a global support network.
Filling that blue bin outside your door with recycling products every week is one of the easiest contributions you can make towards living a zero-waste life. We all know to recycle items such as water bottles, cardboard packaging, and tin cans, but how often do you recycle your lightbulbs? What about printer cartridges? These items, and others you may have not considered, can also be recycled and repurposed! Hop online and look at various lists of recyclable items before that next trip to the blue bin.
Comment below with your most effective strategies to live a zero-waste or minimal waste lifestyle. Namaste, my friends.