It’s been some time since I wrote my first post on sustainable living. That post was meant to be a foundation of sorts to start writing about sustainable living, the importance of it and what I’m doing towards it. It’ll also help in sharing and learning ideas for a better humane living.

Last year, Bengaluru’s lakes started frothing due to severe pollution. During those days, I researched a lot on what I can do better in my little way, at least to be an example if not to lead, so that I don’t directly contribute towards environmental issues. I learnt that phosphates present in detergents are the biggest contributors to frothing. While more developed countries elsewhere in the world have banned the use of phosphates in the detergents, it’s almost an omnipresent ingredient in detergents sold in India. Given that most Indian cities are facing water crises and are already drawing groundwater from deep down, phosphates may probably needed to bring down the hardness of the water when washing clothes. So I meddled with the idea of recycling the grey water from the washing machine through some simpler means, but the lack of space at my house has made me postpone my plans. I want to do it, but it’s something which will have to wait.

So, the first big step I actually took was to stop using bathing soap as well as shampoo. Now that’ll come as a shock to most of my readers and right now you may be wondering if I stink because I don’t use soap!

It was during a routine shower when I was pondering on the fact that my 98-year old still-fit-and-alive grandfather never used soap. And he has been a healthy man. There are many other factors including his daily physical activities and food habits that have contributed to his god health, but not using soap hasn’t really made him an unhealthy person. He used to have a round stone with a delicately rough face that he used to scrub himself.

So, I made the switch last year. I also learnt to use to bathe using about 8-10 litres of water. Earlier, I couldn’t do without 40! So now, I just use a Luffa scrub coupled with soapnut powder for my body and soapnut powder for my hair. I can actually see a significant improvement in the texture of my hair which was once as rough as Luffa. People used to crack one on me saying I could use my hair to scrub a horse!!

So, the soapnut and Luffa has worked perfectly for me. As a small precaution, I add half a cap of Dettol / Savlon to the last litre of water in the bucket. That has something to do with paranoia, I guess. I’d want to stop that too, but I’m trying to find an alternative to it given that using soapnut every day isn’t an easy thing. I have heard of herbal soaps and have used them too, but I don’t know if they’re good for the environment in the long term. Any experience with those eco-friendly bars anyone?

Sustainable living, like many other social issues, fundamentally requires a mindset change. It takes a lot to change your lifestyle and your thought processes to suit your living to the environment in a better manner. And it takes a lot more to sustain that lifestyle.

Keep checking this section to learn how I’m going about with my own learning process and towards urban sustainability.