Workshop on Stepping towards Sustainability
Sustainability comes in many forms and has many benefits, but have you ever wondered what it means to live sustainably? Essentially, “sustainable living” defines a lifestyle that attempts to cut an individual’s and on a larger scale, the society’s dependence on the earth’s natural resources.
A huge part of this type of living involves understanding how natural systems function and the need for the ecology to stay in balance. It is often called “earth harmony living” or “net-zero living”. Sustainable living is achieved by making choices that aim to reduce our individual and collective environmental impact by making positive changes to offset climate change and reduce environmental damage. It means making choices today that will positively impact the planet tomorrow.
There are many ways to live sustainably, like buying local and in-season foods that are farmed sustainably, buying items made using recycled materials, or designed to be zero waste. To learn more about sustainability watch our another amazing workshop on “Stepping towards Sustainability” with our speaker Mrunal Abhayraj Jadhav. She is a very young gardener aged 17 years, studying in 12th standard and she started her gardening journey 3 years back and is learning and working towards a sustainable lifestyle. She shares about her journey on her Instagram page “lifewithplants_”
Mrunal and her tips for making bio-enzymes:
“Hello and good evening everyone. Welcome to another workshop by TAOS. Today we have with us, Miss Mrunal Jadhav. Hello Mrunal, how are you?” Asked Zehra.
“Hello, how are you?” Asked Mrunal.
“I am fine. Welcome to our workshop. We are so pleased to have you today with us. Let me introduce Mrunal to you all. She is 17 years old, studying in 12th standard and she has been into gardening for the past 3 years. Now she is learning and practicing sustainable living. Today she will share with us what sustainability means for her and what practices she has been following. It is so exciting to know that children of your age understand the importance of sustainability, learning and practicing more about it, and are trying to include it in their daily life. Let’s get started.” Said Zehra.
“Thank you for the great introduction and I am more excited to share about my journey of sustainable living. So, before I tell you about myself. I would take a few minutes to thank the Affordable Organic Store and Zehra for their cooperation and for allowing me to have me here. I feel so pleased. I will spread as much as I can about sustainability.
So, my name is Mrunal Jadhav. Before beginning with the topic I would like to tell you about my journey to start a sustainable living lifestyle. So, it started 2-3 years back, as many of us connected to gardening during lockdowns, even I am one of those. My mom was into gardening for a long and she was the one who introduced me to gardening and made me obsessed with it. So initially, I was just watering the plants and harvesting them. Later, after learning about it I found, how interesting and beautiful an experience we can have while gardening. Gardening brought me to sustainability. So, a few pages on my Instagram handle introduced sustainable living to me. That made me realize how important it has become to start our own sustainable life. In beginning, I was not interested in making compost with dirt and waste but now it’s a pleasure to my soul. Sustainable living began in our own houses, it’s about making some choices from which we can save the environment from degrading and making resources available for the future generation. As the young generation of the country, it’s our responsibility to preserve and conserve our mother nature. Many people think sustainability is about sacrificing but it is about making some choices of having the best alternatives.
Sustainability is the renewable or natural resources that we reuse, reduce wastage, and recycle them. Preserving our environment and preventing it from declination for future generations. Many of us have this question mark, what to bring into your life start sustainable living? So, there is a mantra for it, ‘We Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ these are the three important words for sustainable living. The first mantra is Reduce, which means saying NO to plastic whenever you go outside, do carry your bag while purchasing anything. Avoid single-use plastic. In the bag, you can carry your bottle, an empty box to store food if required, a cloth bag, and a spoon at a time of need.” Said Mrunal.
“Before going further, I have a question.
1. As you talked about taking your box or Dibba, how do the shopkeepers react?” Asked Zehra.
“There was an incident 2 days back. So, I went to buy Lassi and they were providing it in a plastic cup with a plastic straw. So I said no to them for that, but they were smiling and there is no weird reaction to this.” Said Mrunal.
“The second mantra is Reuse, reusing consumes less energy and therefore should be adopted. As recycling consumes energy and is considered the last option. For example, you can use any broken container as a plant pot or can use a cycling bucket for growing plants. The third mantra is Recycle, as every plastic cannot be recycled. The single-use plastic can be recycled, so it is important to avoid single-use plastic, you can even collect milk packets and the Affordable Organic Store takes them to recycle.
So I was introduced to composting a long time ago, as in my home my mom used to do composting for a long time. So, for composting you need a container, it can be a plastic container or Matka or a pot. As it is Aerobic composting, so oxygen is needed. There are five important things you need for composting:
- Weight waste
- Dry waste
These are all things that you need to do composting. Make sure to make drainage holes at the bottom and a few side holes for proper circulation of air/oxygen. So, first, add a layer of dry waste it can be pieces of cardboard or dried leaves. Then add a layer of wet waste which are available in kitchen waste like cooked food leftover, vegetable peels, fruits peels, etc. It is said what comes from nature can go back to nature, and wet waste is one of them. For microbes you can use buttermilk or fresh cow dung can be used. We need to add one spoon of buttermilk and then give it a mix and then again the layer of dry waste, cover it properly so that it does not attract insects or flies. You need to do the process same till the complete pot or container is filled to the brim. You need to cover it properly to protect it from flies. The compost will be ready in 30 days. And make sure to shake the compost every 4 days, so that there is a proper flow of oxygen in the container. Make sure to keep it away from the rain. If it becomes too dry add wet waste and if too wet add dry waste.
So, composting is not a hard process once you get used to it, you learn new things every time you compost. Once you start loving the process the space becomes less and the waste also becomes less. Compost is also said as Black Gold, and it feels amazing to touch and smell the compost. You can this compost to any plant, it acts like an organic fertilizer.
You can also add onion peel fertilizer to your compost as well. For making onion peel fertilizer, you need to collect onion peels and put them in a container and add water to it. You need to keep it for 24 hours and the solution would be ready. You can dilute it in water and add it to your plants as fertilizers as it is organic. Dilution of the onion peel fertilizer is important because the solution if poured directly can burn the plants and affect their growth.
Saving water is also very important. If you find any tap open do keep a bucket under the tap. As in every household, rice is made and the rice water acts as a good fertilizer for the plants. The water with which we wash the dal can also be given to plants. If you have an excess of buttermilk, you can dilute the buttermilk and give it to your plants once in a while. All these little habits help you to save water.
Bio enzymes are natural cleansers. We buy utensil cleaner, floor cleaner, etc., so bio enzymes work altogether. I have these bio enzymes in two bottles but they are not completely ready they are in process of being ready. So, all you need for bio enzymes are:
- Citrus peels can be lemon peels or orange peels.
- Plastic container with a tight lid. Avoid using glass containers as there is gas formation so it may burst out. A container with a tight lid will prevent the flow of gas in the air and vice versa.
Bio enzyme is all about the ratio. The ratio is 1:3:10. One bowl or 100 grams of jaggery, 3 bowls or 300 grams of lemon peels, and 10 bowls of water or one liter of water. Keep in mind to use the same bowl for all measurements.” Said Mrunal.
“While you are making the bio enzymes, let us take some questions that have been coming in, Neha Thakur has asked,
2. Can we use onion fertilizer in water plants?” Asked Zehra.
“I haven’t grown any water plant, but I think you cannot use it in water plants. You can use it for the regular plants or indoor plants.” Said Mrunal.
“There is another question from Ganvit Jaydip,
3. If the onion fluid is kept for more than 24 hours then can we use it or not?” Asked Zehra.
“So, it has happened with me, but make sure if it is kept for more than 24 hours like more 4-5 hours then add more amount of water in it to dilute it. But make sure not to keep the onion peel solution for 2-3 days it will become more concentrated.” Said Mrunal.
“So, after adding all the required material in it give it a shake, and check whether the water comes out or not. Keep the solution in the container for 90 days. As it takes 90 days to complete the process of the formation of bio enzyme. And if you go for the second round, you can use the leftovers (same peels) again to form the bio enzymes and it would take 45 days for the completion of the process for the second time. You can also use the leftover to clean chimneys or dirty floors. People usually think that it does not clean the floor completely, so it is because the cleaners which we purchase are chemical-made and are more concentrated than the ones made with natural ingredients.
It is important to release the gas every 15 days. A lot of people think that the white layer formed in the container of bio enzyme is it ok or not. It’s completely ok, as it is part of the process. The white layer formation shows that the process is going smoothly. If you want to fasten the process you can add yeast and it will fasten the process to 45 days for its formation.” Said Mrunal.
“So, I have a question,
4. Once the 90 days are complete do you strain the liquid?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes, I strain them. So there are some signs with which you can tell/understand whether the bio enzymes are ready or not. So the peels settle down and it smells like vinegar. So these are the signs with which you can understand that the bio enzymes are ready to use.
5.“So, do you need to dilute the solution in water?” Asked Zehra.
“So, it is not important to dilute the solution. You can directly spray the liquid and wash it.” Said Mrunal.
6. “Is the second batch of bio enzymes made from the leftovers that effective?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes, even the second batch is also very effective in use.” Said Mrunal.
7. “So, how many times you can use the peels for making bio enzymes?” Asked Zehra.
“You can use the peel 3 times to make the bio enzymes.” Said Mrunal.
8. “So, after using the peels 3 times, what do you do with the peels?” Asked Zehra.
“You can put it in compost or you can use them to clean the chimneys, dirty floors of your house, even the dirty windows of the kitchen.” Said Mrunal.
“So, Bio enzymes are very important as through the water bodies the chemical are released in the water. As we know the oxygen we get is from the water bodies which is also very important for the water species. The release of chemicals in the water bodies is through washing clothes, washing and cleaning our washrooms and bathrooms, etc. As you know in the olden days the ash and the coconut husk were used to clean utensils.
Purpose of Bio enzymes:
Used to clean washrooms, bathrooms, and floors, and you can spray them on your plants as it works as a pesticide for your plants. As all of us use hand wash for cleaning our hands, you can buy from those vendors that are ready to re-fill the container of the hand wash, it saves money as well as make less use of plastic.
You can even add an eggshell to your compost. I usually grind them and add them to the plants. You need to wash the eggshells before drying and adding them to compost or grinding them. So, nothing from nature goes to waste, you can give it back to nature.” Said Mrunal.
“One more question I want to ask you,
9. You were talking about other fruit peels that can be used for making bio enzymes, can you mention some of them?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes, you can use watermelon peels, apple peels, and even the over-ripe banana can be collected and with the same process the banana bio enzymes can be made. These are less effective than the lemon peel bio enzymes.
So, you have to make these little-little choices in your everyday lifestyle to start a sustainable living journey. It is said that polythene bags takes around 400-500 years for complete degradation. So the waste we produce today is not only harmful to us but also to the coming generations.
Today is the right time to start your journey toward sustainability.” Said Mrunal.
“That was an amazing session Mrunal. Thank you for sharing the information with us. It was really wonderful hearing and learning all new things about bio enzymes, and sustainability, it was really helpful.
Thank you everyone for joining us today and making this session a success. Thank you Mrunal for giving your valuable time.”