Embracing the Change: Reusing Our Way to a Sustainable India

Hailing from one of the most polluted cities across the globe, which once hailed as
the capital of the nation referred to as land of Holy Rivers, now each of its freshwater
sources is a dumping ground full of pollutants and toxic chemicals. I am a first-hand
spectator to the tremendous change that Delhi has gone through – the water now
tastes different, the air smells different, the very aura of the National Capital has
undergone drastic mutations. The climate of Delhi has changed with the passage of
time and we the inhabitants of Delhi will have long term repercussions on its present
and future. Even now, as long as people are still wreaking havoc on this planet, it
haunts me.
However, India, a land of vibrant culture and rich traditions, holds within its heart a
deep connection to sustainability. This inherent value is reflected in countless
practices, from the intricate art of mend-and-make to the ubiquitous use of steel
tiffin boxes for lunch. However, in the face of growing consumerism and the influx of
disposable products, traditional practices sometimes take a back seat. But it’s time to
revisit our roots and embrace the power of reuse for a sustainable future.
Reusing: A Legacy Revived
The concept of reuse resonates deeply with the Indian ethos. Resourcefulness is
ingrained in our kitchens, where old sarees find new life as table runners, and tin
cans become spice containers. Generations have passed down the art of upcycling
and repair, demonstrating the value of extending a product’s life cycle. This not only
minimizes waste but also fosters a sense of responsibility and resourcefulness.
Beyond Nostalgia: Circularity in play
Reusing offers a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond individual households.
Here’s how embracing reuse can contribute to a sustainable India:
● Reduced Environmental Impact: Every product reused is one less item
manufactured, leading to a significant reduction in resource extraction, energy
consumption, and pollution generated during production and disposal.
● Economic Benefits: By extending the life of existing products, we lessen the
need for new ones, generating cost savings for both households and
businesses. Additionally, reuse fosters a thriving “circular economy”, creating
jobs in repair, refurbishing, and second-hand markets.
● Conservation of Resources: India, like many nations, faces resource scarcity.
Reusing existing products helps conserve our precious fast depleting resources
like water, raw materials, and energy, securing them for future generations.
Taking Action: Taking it from the very bottom up
The journey towards a sustainable India begins with every individual. Here are some
simple ways to integrate reuse into your daily life:
● Choose reusable alternatives: Opt for cloth bags instead of plastic bags, steel
bottles instead of disposable ones, and invest in durable products designed for
multiple uses.
● Embrace the art of repair: Don’t discard broken items; try to repair them
yourself or seek help from local repair shops. This not only saves money but
also preserves the craftsmanship of your belongings.
● Give products a second life: Participate in or organize swap meets, donate
usable but unwanted items to charities, or explore upcycling projects to
breathe new life into old objects.
A Collective & Collaborative Effort Towards a Sustainable Future
Reusing is not merely a choice, it’s a responsibility we share towards the planet. By
embracing this practice in our daily lives, we can collectively move towards a more
sustainable future. The government can play a crucial role by promoting reuse
through policy changes, infrastructure development for waste collection and repair
services, and awareness campaigns.
Let’s revisit the wisdom of our ancestors and revive the culture of reuse. Together, we
can create a vibrant, sustainable India where resourcefulness and responsibility
become a way of life. Remember, every small step counts, and the journey towards a
greener future begins with each of us making conscious choices, one reuse at a time.

by Achintya Ghosal

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